Welcome in the ‘hood
We’ll keep this short. Sip Neighbourhood Pub opened this past summer in the new-ish commercial plaza on the corner of Bruce Avenue and Fifth Street. Their website suggests that they are your friendly neighbourhood watering hole, offering some basic meals, some local brews, and a few cocktails to choose from. In a nutshell, that’s exactly what Sip is. Nothing more, nothing less, and we’re just fine with that.
Out visit to Sip took place on a frosty weekend afternoon. We were running errands and decided to stop by. The parking at that commercial plaza is atrocious, with tight lanes, small spots, and more traffic for the Tim Hortons drive through than the place can handle. Word to the wise – this is a neighbourhood pub, so consider just walking down.
Once inside, we were surprised to see the place was nearly empty. We were promptly greeted and invited to choose a seat. The pub is laid out as a single room, with bench seating along the windows on one side, and a long bar along the other. It also looks like they’ve got a great patio, although with it being practically winter solstice when we went, we weren’t going out there.
Our server was was noticeably casual but friendly and was quick to provide menus. Sip has a decent selection of local taps like Wolf, Phillips, Hoyne, and others, and a fully stocked bar for whatever highballs and cocktails you might want. We decided to have a Wolf Black and Tan for her and a Merridale cider for him. At $7 and $9, respectively, for 20oz pours, we were quite happy.
Looking at the food menu, one thing will jump right out at you. Since it’s important, we must yell. THIS IS A PUB WITH NO BURGER. Yes, that’s right. There are sliders and sandwiches, but no classic ground beef burger. We asked why this is so on a previous visit and the server explained that it has to do with the conditions of their lease. After all, there is already a burger joint in the same mall.
What’s left on the menu is typical pub fare: nachos, fries, wings, soups and so on. On our visit, there was a daily special for two beef and cheese sliders paired with some potato leek soup. We ordered that for him. For her, we ordered the combo of two regular menu sliders and a salad.
Because the place was practically empty, we were super well attended by our server, and our food came out in only minutes. Both meals were impressively good. The beef sliders had rich meat, melted cheddar, and crispy onion rings served with aioli on a toasted bun and were damn good. The potato leek soup was served hot and was creamy and surprisingly hearty, with plenty of sliced potato rounds (rather than cubes).
The other combo had one crispy chicken slider and one meatball slider and was served with a house salad (picture above). One of the sliders had crispy chicken, honey chili sauce, and pickles. It was super good, but holy moly was that honey sauce sticky. Consider finger bowls with this one. The other slider was a meatball one and was essentially a nice basic beef burg– oops, slider. The salad was unremarkable, but perfectly competent. Dressing was served on the side, which we always prefer.
Our price for our two meals and drinks, and with taxes and a modest tip included, was $63. Given the ludicrous prices to eat out these days, we consider this to be impressively good value.
If you want a place to get pissed, we have plenty of those. If you want a good gastro pub, we have that too. Sip then perhaps fills the middle ground – a competent but unremarkable neighbourhood pub. The lack of burger will be an issue for some, but the pub has got menu workarounds in place. We hope the menu expands in the future as the pub settles in. For now we can’t quite recommend crossing town to come to Sip, but we can certainly recommend it to area locals who just want a friendly bar to swing by for a reasonably-priced pint, a bite to eat, or just to socialize in an uncomplicated atmosphere. Perhaps we’ll see you there!