Hangin’ at the Handsome

Long awaited pub opens on Sherbrook St.

Like a phoenix, the venue that used to be The Rose n’ Bee, The Standard and Hooligan’s has risen again, this time as The Handsome Daughter. 

A new liquor law that determines capacity based on the building as a full space rather than basing it on a room-by-room basis was a big factor in the decision to renovate and reopen the space at 61 Sherbrook St.

 “When we looked at this space in January we knew that [the new liquor law] was coming in April,” chef Stefan Lytwyn says.

Lytwyn met owners Kirian Eyford and Jason Evaristo several years ago when they were all working at ANAF Club 60 on River Ave. 

“We meshed and became really good friends,” Evaristo says. 

A management change at Club 60 saw them go their separate ways, but the collective dream of their own
establishment remained.

“Every time I saw him for the next two years,” Lytwyn recalls, “he would say, ‘I feel something coming up, we’ll be doing business together again.’”

When the opportunity arose in January of this year the trio jumped on it.

Easier said than done, but the partners were up to the task, putting in countless hours of hard labour, painting, drywalling, and everything else that didn’t require a certified tradesperson.

“It has been hard days for the last six to seven months,” Evaristo says.

During that time, rumours of opening dates and shows could be heard on the streets and online (Editor’s note - the venue has been booking shows since April, which have either been cancelled or moved). 

They all turned out to be of no substance, but without much formal notice or marketing, The Handsome Daughter finally materialized on Oct. 9.

The dark decor has been brightened dramatically with laminate flooring and white walls which really open up the space.

The layout remains the same with the stage in the back corner, but the wall across from it now features an original mural by artist Dany Reede.

“We gave him carte blanche to do what he wanted,” explains Lytwyn. “He showed us the small drawing, but it wasn’t until the first slaps of paint went on that we saw how it really brought the room together.”

Opening weekend brought the crowds in - and out - the door.

“Seeing 30 people lined up to the end of the street was a pleasant surprise,”
Evaristo says.

“It was amazing,” Eyford says, beaming. “You worry about working so hard and it not paying off ... what if no one shows up?”

“This weekend we were at capacity, but there was lots of room still,” Lytwyn says. Current capacity is 108 patrons, but by eliminating the pool table and the pinball machines, he hopes the City will increase the limit to 130 or 140.

But for Lytwyn and his partners, it’s not strictly about the numbers.

“We wanted the neighbourhood to have its venue and pub back,” he says.

“Plus, I get to work with all my best friends everyday,” adds Evaristo.  “What more could you ask for?”

Check out The Handsome Daughter on Facebook, or in person at 61 Sherbrook St.

Published in Volume 69, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 22, 2014)

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