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Short Turn Feels Like a Streetcar Ride in a Perfect Toronto

Short Turn
By Joseph Cicerone
Photography by Arash Moallemi

Step through the doors of Short Turn and you’ll be transported into a parallel universe – a twilight-kissed, swanky and romantic Toronto that feels elusive in the hustle and bustle of urban life. But this concept couldn’t have existed elsewhere. The Queen and Bathurst snack bar draws inspiration from the streetcar that passes it daily, notorious for its tendency to, well, short turn before reaching its final destination.

Restaurants in Toronto with Beautiful Interiors
The co-owners called upon local contractor Colin Sims to execute parts of their design vision, including the bar’s banquette upholstery and architectural millwork.

This isn’t the first time restaurateurs Adrian Ravinsky and Dave Stewart have used the cityscape as inspiration for their project interiors. At 416 Snack Bar, Short Turn’s sister spot just around the corner, bits and pieces of the city were implemented throughout, such as the limestone bars resembling sidewalk slabs and Chinatown-esque neon signs.

Short Turn Toronto Snack Bar
Cozy seating caters to small parties, or single diners seeking a quick bite or night cap.

But with this new concept, the duo, along with fellow co-owner Taylor Lackie, reached for a more sophisticated design that still feels quintessentially Torontonian. “Growing up, I took the streetcar a lot, and realize that most people consider it a stressful experience,” Ravinsky says. “What we’re trying to accomplish with Short Turn is to reimagine that experience with a design that emulates the romance of an old train car equipped with sleek features and a bar.”

Short Turn Snack Bar, Designlines
Short Turn co-owners Adrian Ravinsky, Taylor Lackie and Dave Stewart.

Short Turn’s narrow interior and curved millwork unmistakably evoke the spatial design of a locomotive. Under the cast of Noergaard-Kechayas fixtures and bar lights salvaged from an old streetcar, guests are welcomed into the 750-square-foot space by a long leather banquette facing a stainless steel bar, itself a nod to a TTC collector’s booth.

Toronto Bars
A streetcar-shaped candle sits atop the vintage cash register Ravinsky reserved for the opening of the snack bar.

Drawing eyes up from the tile flooring, which Stewart and Ravinsky laid themselves, glimmering bar shelves display the makings of Short Turn’s classic cocktail menu. The effervescent ambiance makes for a warm welcome to night owls seeking refuge from a chilly fall evening. Short Turn is more than just a place to sate your hunger; it’s a love letter to Toronto, a place where every bite and sip promises a captivating journey through the heart and soul of the city. 416SNACKBAR.COM

Short Turn
Digital signage mirroring that of a Toronto streetcar makes for a charming detail visible from the snack bar’s exterior.

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