The Reveal – Mad Crush Wine Bar

mad crush wine bar by stephanie dickison.JPG

The Gist

A wine bar without pretension or intimidation. A wine list you want to cozy up to. Food that’s imaginative. A relaxed, intimate room with a vintage, art deco vibe. All at prices you can actually afford.

See you there.


Co-owner Jamieson Kerr headed up Crush Wine Bar for eight years, so this guy knows wine. He wrote an engaging, innovative menu that’s as fun to read as it is to order from – choose from “White Wines with Zen-Like Precision,” “Reds Cavorting As Whites,” and the very best, “Meaty, Beefy, Big & Bouncy Reds.”

He and wine director/sommelier Julie Garton have curated a compelling list that won’t cost you a fortune. Really. Get a glass for $9 to $15. Choose the three-ounce pour and explore. Or get a bottle – many are in the $60 to $80 range.

Sure there are “Heavy Hitters” and Magnums, should you want to spend more, but as Kerr says, “You don’t have to spend a lot of money on wine. There’s a wine for everyone on the list.”

Hear, hear.

Want something other than wine? There’s a big Aperol list, cocktails with bubbles, cocktails with some sort of wine component, sherries, vermouth, wine-related beer, ciders, and mocktails.


Co-owner and executive chef Andrew Carter (also of The Wickson SocialThe Oxley, and The Queen & Beaver Public House) has created a compelling menu. “We want the food to be as playful as the wine. Not stuffy,” Kerr says.

Bayonne Ham & Peas with Banyuls ($19)Crispy Sweetbreads & Maple-Aleppo Glaze ($14)Foie Gras & Unagi with Birch Teriyaki & Squash ‘Wasabi’ ($19) start the night off right. And take off the winter chill with mains of Corn Fed Chicken with Chanterelles & Pomme Purée ($24) and Salt Baked Celeriac & Leek Cappelletti with Tarragon Cream ($23).

Fixtures and Fittings

Pencil Design’s Bradley Denton and Johanna Peters have the golden touch. They’re responsible for the beautification of many shops and dining rooms around town, and no doubt their work here will be ’grammed a bazillion times.

From velvet chairs and tufted leather banquettes to warm wood, brass accents and floral and fauna wallpaper, the room is filled with rich, sumptuous textures, finished in subdued tones of teal and pink.

The long bar at front is damn sexy, but so are the booths. And that slim table that extends down the middle of the dining room? A phenomenal choice for tête-à-têtes over charcuterie, cheese, oysters and a bottle of Sancerre Rouge “La Noue.”

Off the Menu

Gougères ($6)
Light French cheese puffs are always a good idea. Especially these delicate, chewy bites filled with goat cheese and golden beets.

Black Mushrooms & Pecorino Vinaccia  ($9)
Inky mushrooms slow-braised in soy, paired with cheese soaked in Barolo – what’s not to love?

Smoked Trout & Lemon Potatoes ($12)
House smoked trout gets its deep smokiness from The Big Green Egg – a kamado-style ceramic charcoal barbecue, set right in the kitchen. Balanced with thin slivers of crisp cauliflower and silky lemon, it’s an elegant yet vibrant dish.

Escabeche of Ontario Rabbit & Quail ($19)
Rabbit and quail together? So decadent. And the saffron-filled escabeche delivers a piquant bite rounded out with a slight smoky finish.

Tartare of Quebec Venison with Porcini Ketchup ($22)
Venison has roughly one-sixth the amount of saturated fat of beef, so plowing through this tartare atop thin, crisp, salty potato chips, dipped in house-made porcini ketchup, is a guilty pleasure, sans the guilt.

Roast Alaskan Halibut & Flageolets with Bouillabaisse Vinaigrette ($31)
A hefty portion of crispy skinned halibut with firm, creamy, lemony beans equals modern comfort food on a plate.


Mad Crush Wine Bar accommodates 108 guests on the main floor for dinner, drinks and brunch on weekends. Private dining for up to 24 is available on the second floor.

Head Honchos: Jamieson Kerr and Andrew Carter

Wine Director: Julie Garton

At the Stove: Executive chef Andrew Carter, chef de cuisine Ryan Barclay

FOH: General Manager Alexander Floch

Map it: 582 College St. (near Clinton)

Visiting Hours:

Sunday to Wednesday: 5 pm – 12 am
Thursday to Saturday: 5 pm – 1 am

Monday to Friday:  11:30 am – 3 pm

Saturday and Sunday: 11am – 3pm

Phone it in: 647-350-8111

How Cool is This?! Buy two glasses, try any wine.

In the Works: Wine school and wine dinners.


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