Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hip + Urban Store - BYOB, Toronto

So what does your home bar look like? If it’s a bunch of liquor bottles stowed in a kitchen cabinet, you need to meet this hip + urban girl: Kristen Voisey of BYOB. Kristen owns and operates Toronto’s first cocktail boutique with a unique collection of vintage barware.

Inspired by seeing designer mini-bars and vintage glassware sold in Los Angeles, Kristen brought her spin on the concept to Queen West. The project that took months to turn into fruition, with her efforts focused on the sourcing of vintage pieces, refurbishing furniture pieces and designing signature art.

A former art gallery space, the store is filled with one-of-a-kind glassware, cocktail tools and bar furnishings. You’ll also find the full selection of Fee Brother’s Bitters (bitters are to cocktails as S&P is to cooking – a must-have). Everything you need to build your home bar from the ground up can be found at BYOB in Toronto.

In the future, Kristen will also be preparing for mixology classes and featuring cocktail sets with all the tools and ingredients you need for a recipe packaged together. BYOB is even ready with Brooklyn Brewery brewing kits for you to make your own beer at home.

The concept is distinctively matchless as it is the amalgamation of Kristen’s unique set of many skills: coming from a varied breadth of experience in hospitality from cruise ships to hotels, Kristen brings together her business know-how, creative talent in art and design and love of cocktail culture to this entrepreneurial venture.  She spends her off-days vintage sourcing, visiting second-hand stores and flea markets for pieces she can combine together and refurbish; as well as, designing her own art pieces which are also available for sale at BYOB.

With an open and spacious location on Queen West in Toronto and steps away from the Ossington strip; the BYOB space holds much potential for its use in the future.  Kristen envisions it being home to pop-up shops for local designers, an event venue and educational tastings for small-batch liquors.

Whatever it is you like to drink at home, start building your own sense of cocktail appreciation with the fruits of Kristin’s vintage finds.  And visit often, exclusive pieces get snatched up quickly and are gone forever.  So what does Kristen like to drink at her home bar?  It’s a tossup between straight bourbon and champagne cocktails.  That’s our idea of a classy hip + urban girl tipple! --- Michelle Tham

BYOB Store, Toronto -
972 Queen Street West, Toronto

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