Great wine, perfect atmosphere

I moved into Cabbagetown in April and immediately fell in love with the area. Being born in the Beach (or Beaches – I won’t digress as that’s a whole other post all together), I loved the small town feel of the community but the closeness of downtown. Cabbagetown is the best of both worlds – but almost feels like it’s a hidden gem in a way. Everyone seems to know about Cabbagetown but doesn’t seem to know it.

It was an adventure moving in and exploring the area.

Over the summer, another new tenant moved into the area and I dare say I’ve fallen in love. It’s not a person (I don’t want my partner to think I’m cheating), but rather a new wine bar at the corner of Winchester and Parliament, The Cobourg.

I didn’t notice it until I walked past one evening and noticed people sitting inside a dim lit room, candles glowing and glasses of wine on the antique tables. The chairs in front window were of a different era and seemed to hug the patron sitting in it. There was no signage inside or out – nothing to say what one was to expect upon entering.

I was intrigued.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that friends and I decided that we must try out this new haunt, so on a rainy autumn evening we ventured to the unknown, unassuming, mysterious little secret that had quietly nestled itself into our neighbourhood. My first reaction was a calm one. This wine bar, as we soon discovered, was something of a time machine. It was a mix of the 1930’s and present day modern chic. The high ceilings gave it that olde Cabbagetown feel, the walls were adorned with massive paintings of ostrichs (hence the reason my friends and I still refer to it as the Ostrich – which is not the name, but should the owners decide to change it one day, I would vote for such a title), a beautiful wooden bar with high stools to perch oneself on and a massive mirror reflecting the life of the room back to itself hanging on the wall behind the bar. The music perfectly matched the room, Ella’s voice soothed your worries away, Nina and her soulful voice, Louis and that trumpet – all the greats, it was magic! The furniture all looked like it belonged in an old Victorian home, very comfortable, very stylish, and very eclectic. This was fast becoming a favourite in the neighbourhood … and we hadn’t even sampled the wine yet!

John, owner, actor and wine connoisseur, is very personable and loves describing the types of wines that are on his list. In fact, there are a few that one cannot buy at the LCBO, nor at any wine store, but come directly from the vineyards in the Niagara region. Wolf Ass is a fine example of a delicious red wine, not too heavy, very tasty and a perfect way to begin your evening of wine tasting. I’m no expert, but I do enjoy my wine and love a good red. The wine list is very reasonably priced and there are some delightful choices to choose from.

But almost better than the wine choices, and why else would one go to a wine bar, is the little-known fact that The Cobourg has the most delectable little cheese plate this side of Yonge Street (and probably west of Yonge as well!). Everytime I have been to The Cobourg, I have been delighted by various cheeses that I’ve never seen before with a side of fruit to enhance the experience and a selection of breads to spread them onto. The last time my friends and I were there, we were treated to a delicious cheddar with caramel injected into it, a sort of goat cheese with cranberries as well as two others that were equally as scrumptious, but I was unfamiliar with the type of cheese and therefore can’t give you an accurate description of them (it was about 2 weeks ago, so I hope you will forgive the lack of investigative reporting!). A good cheese is the perfect companion to any good wine. John is obviously aware of this and has done a wonderful job at providing the right samplings of cheeses.

The Cobourg has turned into a bit of a weekly tradition with a group of my Cabbagetown friends. It’s the perfect place to leave the real world behind and indulge your taste buds and engage in good conversation for a while … something I look forward to doing.


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