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Headed by the same owners, Nancy Chen and Nav Sangha from Otto's Biergarten and Daniel Tal from Dudebox, the team revealed to devote followers on Instagram that they would not be reopening SoSo Food Club after the pandemic.
Instead, the team has decided to shift gears and direct their focus on opening a wine bar by Grape Crush Wines. This boutique wine shop specializes in selling natural, biodynamic and classic wines at affordable prices without the hefty markups. The wine shop has been running an online delivery and pick-up service out of the SoSo space since the restaurant closed its doors in March.
Prior to COVID-19, LCBO and Wine Rack monopolized on take-home wine purchases in Ontario.
"Something like 90% of wine drinking is controlled by whoever is curating the LCBO," says Daniel Tal, co-owner of Juice Box.
Since the pandemic, regulations surrounding the selling of licensed alcohol have eased, allowing retailers and restaurants to sell their liquor, wine and beer for takeout and delivery. These new regulations have opened another door for wine culture in the city, creating a demand for retailers and wine bars, like Grape Crush and Juice Box.
"It's not a new concept, but a refreshing option that the city has never really had before," says Tal. "We have a really vibrant wine scene that's growing quickly, but there are barriers: the price point and the perception that [the culture] is pretentious or expensive."
"The idea here is to recontextualize and mould [the culture] for a younger, more savvy generation and give them the option to experience and afford it," continues Tal.
The menu features an impressive collection of fun, natural and biodynamic wines from across the globe that you typically can't find at the LCBO. All ordering is done online through Ambassador. Once your order is ready for pick-up, you can sit and drink the wine you purchased at Juice Box for a service fee of $20 for a regular 750mL bottle or $40 for a magnum. If you don't finish your bottle, you can get it recorked to bring home.
While full bottles is the main focal point, there will also be a daily rotation of wine by the glass, Ontario craft beers and spirits. As for food, the menu feature local cheeses, European charcuterie, olives, bread from Enoteca Sociale, among other wine bar snacks.
Juice Box wine bar is open Wednesday to Friday from 4 p.m.-11 p.m. and Saturday from 2 p.m.-11 p.m. and is located at 1166 Dundas Street West.