First Look: Prohibition opens a second location in midtown and plans to expand further


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The Flaming Greek burger from Prohibition Gastrohouse

Image: Yvonne Tsui

Prohibition Gastrohouse, Queen East’s beloved neighborhood gastropub is bringing its “Hooch Hour” to midtown with a new outpost at Yonge and Eglinton.  

The space, which was formerly the home of a Boston Pizza took eight months to build. When asked what differentiates Prohibition Gastrohouse from the many other watering holes in the city, owner Michael Summerfield states “our worst is everybody’s best,” referring to their “ultra premium bar rail” which features brands such as Lot 40, Los Azulejos, Tanqueray No. Ten and Grey Goose to name a few.   

 
(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

While everyone else is charging closer to $10, Prohibition regularly charges $6.86 or $5.09 during Hooch Hour which is from 5-7 p.m. and then again from 10-11 p.m. A Hooch Hour clock hangs over each side of the bar indicating the popular drinking times. There is also a shelf labeled the “Booze Emporium” that features more premium products including a shot of Johnny Walker Blue for $19 a pop.  

On the beer side, there are 20 taps with a healthy mix of import and local craft brews and all the wines are of the Vintages Essentials variety. “Nothing is arbitrary, there has to be a reason,” says Summerfield referring to non-duplication when it comes to the beverage offerings.  

 
(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

The cocktail list hits all the classics. “A lot of times, cocktails cover up the alcohol” to mask the inferior quality of the standard bar rail being used, but at Prohibition the cocktails are “booze forward” says Summerfield.  

 
(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

In the kitchen, Prohibition has enlisted chef de cuisine Marvin Garcia (formerly of Earl’s Burlington) to create an extensive menu that caters to all. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner. “For our business model to make sense, we have to be busy all the time,” says Summerfield. 

When asked to define what a gastrohouse is Summerfield offers “take traditional comfort food and elevate it in some way.”  

 
(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

Indeed you’ll see items that don’t show up on your everyday pub menu such as a whole section of conservas (provisions served in their cans inspired by the popular trend in Spain) such as tuna belly.  Order these just to get the impressive accoutrements (pickled vegetables) that come on the side.  

There is a real push for “global comfort food” at the forefront of Prohibition’s menu. The Flaming Greek Burger, for example, is topped with a healthy slab of fried Kefalotyri cheese, doused with a shot of brandy and lit on fire tableside.

Other haute pub items you’ll find on the menu include their Truffle Mac & Cheese, topped with a mixture of Gruyère, Emmenthal and L’Ermite Bleu cheese and a Jalapeno-Applewood Cheddar Biscuit Crust.  

Their Haute Poutine is tossed with shredded duck confit, bits of crispy duck skin and duck gravy.  

A back patio is currently in the works and will seat 80 once opened. While some may think that opening a second 100-seat restaurant is a lofty goal, it pales compared to Summerfield’s goals for expansion. “Wherever there’s a Keg, we want to be right beside them,” he says. 

Prohibition Gastrohouse Midtown, 40 Eglinton Ave. E., 416-406-2669

 
(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

 
(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

 
(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

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Yvonne is a freelance food and drink writer and the Director of Brand Experience at U-Feast, which curates unique, off-menu dining experiences.  Always in search of delicious. Decor and service be damned, food is king. Follow her @life_of_y and @u_feast.  Warning: don't look at her "feed" if you're hungry.

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