Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Silver Rail

Some vintage postcards form Chuckman's .

The Silver Rail first opened in 1947 and was the first bar in Toronto with a liquor licence from the LCBO. A grand New York style bar on the ground floor and a very respectable restaurant in the basement.
Always a favourite of mine, we were there the night it closed in 1997. It's been replaced by a rather boring clothing store. I did go to the auction after it closed and bought a couple of light fixtures that are now stored in my basement. The best manhattans in the city.

From the historical plaque:
The Silver Rail was one of Toronto's first licensed cocktail lounges. It has remained at the same location on Yonge Street since April 2, 1947. Curious Torontonians would ride the streetcar along Yonge Street to catch a glimpse of patrons lined up, waiting to enter. For the first time in Toronto, it was possible for diners to drink a glass of wine or enjoy a cocktail with a fine meal. The interior has remained almost unchanged for 50 years while the face of Yonge Street has changed. The Silver Rail took over the space originally occupied by Muirhead's Grill and Cafeteria. The interior was designed by architect N.A. Armstrong in 1934. The Silver Rail is an early example of mixed use, incorporating a bar upstairs and a restaurant downstairs. It became a central fixture of downtown Toronto night-life.
During subway construction.


  1. loved this place - wish it was still there

  2. lol I eat of SilverRail rosenthal china...I made my kitchen cabinets from the mahogany ply on the walls of the basement and I have the mens bathroom door in my kitchen...it was an awesome place and was majestic even in death

    david himel

  3. You're very lucky. I've got two of the light fixtures that I bought at the sale....

  4. Went to the Silver Rail in 1948 to celebrate our engagement---here it is 2014 and I still have the 'swizzle stick' from that drink!!

  5. My Mom and Grandmom took me to lunch there when I was about 5 Must have been shortly after it opened Guess they liked the liquor service haha