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If pandemic life has left you itching for a reprieve from reality, Offworld Bar will soon offer the escape you need. A place designed to transport guests to another world, Offworld Bar promises to astound with an abundance of creative cocktails served up in an otherworldly space.
Come August, stepping inside 739 Queen Street West will be akin to travelling through space and time to another realm. In the city, says director of operations Chris Bellos, "most bars and restaurants look the same. They might have differences in how fancy they are, etc., but we said, 'How do we make [Offworld Bar] true to us?'" The "us" is the team behind popular "nerd bar" Storm Crow Manor, and the answer was to combine luxe elements with a healthy dose of imagination for a bar that's truly out of this world. The idea behind Offworld Bar, says Bellos, "is to give people the feeling that they're on a different planet. The bar itself is a 'spaceship' that lands on different planets." While designer Farah Alt is helping with what Bellos calls "the aesthetic of normalcy," the team has enlisted a video game company to create animations, along with a Hollywood visual effects crew to bring the concept to life. "We want people to come in for the novelty, the creativity of feeling like you're on a different planet, but to keep coming back for the great cocktails, the great service and great atmosphere," says Bellos.
As anyone who has ever sipped a Butterbeer in one of Storm Crow Manor's fantastical rooms, knows, owner Jason Kapalka has an eccentric bent. Still, though the fandom-focused Storm Crow Manor draws an in-the-know crowd, Offworld Bar was envisioned as a "completely separate concept," says Bellos. "We're hoping to attract people who might think that Storm Crow Manor is, 'too nerdy for me,'" he adds.
Dreamt up during the pandemic, the idea for Offworld Bar came as the team tried "to think of what would be the best course forward," says Bellos. "We had seen at our current location; our cocktails really had the biggest impact. Especially when people came back, we found that the exposure that we got from our cocktails from social, from Instagram, etc., was really great." Still, the team wanted to diversify from Storm Crow Manors' claim to fame. Instead of cocktails sporting movie-based monikers, or a menu of dishes lifted from the pages of favourite books, Offworld Bar's offerings won't be directly linked to specific characters or series. The bar will be "a bit of a higher-end cocktail bar, with a little bit of molecular mixology," explains Bellos. Inspired by spots like Bar Chef, Shameful Tiki Room and San Francisco's Smuggler's Cove, the team will "create these crazy, fun cocktails that are also very elevated. The next step of cocktails."
Sci-fi themed, the list of signature cocktails and mocktails will be available alongside a "consignment type of list" of wines and craft cans of beer. To eat, Offworld Bar will serve a "tapas type of cuisine," explains Bellos. "We'll be focusing more on small bites and shareables. Some really good cheese boards, etc."
Ready to explore the final frontier? With a soft launch into space planned for early August, guests will soon be able to embrace inter-planetary travel more easily than ever before. "Yes, we do want to keep it on that high end but we want to make it accessible to everybody," says Bellos of Offworld Bar. "That's just what our brand is. We're an all-inclusive type of business. It's not about attitude; it's about how much fun you want to have. If you want to come in and have fun, then you're really going to enjoy our place."