King Taps has barely been open a week on the ground floor of First Canadian Place, and its already the Financial District’s newest darling. Taking over the flat and dull concept that was Vertical Restaurant, a year went into building out the space, brought to you by the same West coast wonder team that opened nearby Cactus Club just last year.
The sprawling space has two patios, covered in some areas, others under a canopy of misting umbrellas. Inside the walnut wood walls and ceiling evoke that west coast vibe — even the beer taps are hand carved walnut. Art is dotted throughout, with select pieces by Daniel Mazzone, William Sweetlove & local Toronto graffiti artist Anser. Bay Street ballers, this is your new boardroom.
King Taps aims to marry the prospect of a catalogue of beers on tap (63 to be precise, with 72 taps in total) with a modern and artful interior (designed by Cactus Club’s in-house team) and a food menu that goes beyond bar basics. The menu is carefully thought out, and seamlessly incorporates everything from bar snacks and steaks, to Ocean Wise seafood and gourmet pizzas. It’s ambitious, for sure, but they executed on it — the food isn’t pretentious or cooked up by the latest celebrity chef. It’s honest, it’s approachable and it’s downright delicious.
But let’s talk about the beer. 63 taps are currently devoted to beer, mostly craft brews from Canada, but also some well vetted options from abroad. Broken down into easy to swallow headers, lagers, pilsners, saisons and more are all on tap, as are sours, stouts, IPA’s and well, 63 taps is a lot of taps. An in-house Cicerone deftly pours table side half litre bottles too, like the enticing Flying Monkey’s Aurora Heart Raspberry Chocolate Stout ($26). Flights are part and parcel as well, and a fun way to be less intimated by bountiful options. Cocktails will also be offered on tap, ditto for wine too, so no liquor lover will be abandoned here.
Open for lunches to late-night, King Tap’s food menu is a long list. Starters like the Crispy Sushi ($13.50) show the kitchen’s range, with perfectly seared Albacore Tuna perched on crispy fried sushi rice, with a sliver of avocado and garnished with cilantro and yuzu sauce. A bowl of Bang Bang Shrimp ($14) brings the sweet & heat, with tempura battered shrimp and spicy miso, all anchored by a soy caramel sauce. More mainstream snacks like the super safe Nachos ($19.75), and Free-Run Chicken Wings ($13) round it out.
Salads are lean, there’s only three to choose from, but really the Burrata & Tomato ($18) is your best bet. Paired with Thuets croistinis, the thick-cut heirloom tomatoes absolutely sing with fresh basil, creamy locally made Burrata with Domenica Fiore EVOO and the sherry honey vinaigrette.
Dinner portions like the Salmon & Prawn Risotto ($26) are protein heavy and perfect for hogging to yourself. Risotto is the carby base for this tender fish, with prawns hidden between colourful summer onions and chives.
Pizzas, of all things, are truly not to be missed. Stinging Bee ($17) is a meaty and sweet pie, with Soppressata Salami, Kalamata Olives drizzled with Calabrian honey. The dough is bubbly, crispy and finished with a pinch of salt. Testing was so vigorous for this dough that Cactus Club innovator Mike Jacobson had to hire a personal trainer to peel the pounds off. It’s marvelous. Ditto for the Forager ($18), with kale, mushrooms and Grana Padano shavings.
Steaks get pretty personal, with custom cuts and sauces a plenty. The 12oz New York sourced from PEI ($38) comes dressed to impress with a smattering of fries and zippy Caesar salad. A trio of sauces, peppercorn ($4), Brown Butter Hollandaise ($4.50) and good ol’ ketchup help clean it all up.
With live music every single night of the week, a bumper crop of bevvies and finger lickin’ food to carry it all, it’s hard to find fault with this new King Street hotspot. It’s not trying to be anything it’s not — just a good version of what beer soaked bar should be.
Have you been to King Taps yet? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.