Craig Flinn’s restaurant family is growing. This September he’ll welcome another bundle of food and drink joy, Temple Bar, Cocktails and Kitchen, to 1533 Barrington Street, the former home of J&R Grimsmo—which is conveniently one door down from both his other establishments, Chives Canadian Bistro and 2 Doors Down. The idea sprouted when Flinn’s landlord contacted him upon hearing of Grimsmo’s closure, offering him the soon-to-be-vacant space.
“It was a pretty logical thing in our minds, to put something between the other two spots, in terms of guests that were waiting, but we also want to create a different kind of experience,” says Flinn. Temple will be “bar-forward”, with a strong focus on iconic cocktails with a seasonal, Nova Scotian twist, local craft beers, cider and wine by the glass. From the kitchen side of things, you’ll still get that Flinn-esque farm-to-table experience, but with an international twist—he’ll be calling on Spanish, Italian, French and UK influences to build a bar menu of appetizers, sharing plates and a multi-course tasting menu. “It’s a place to catch the overflow that we lose to other places on busy nights, but it’s not a holding bar. It’s a separate business, with a separate identity and feel. It gives us an pop to create something new. A new feeling.”
Despite enduring some construction and sidewalk related headaches on Barrington Street as of late, the chef, restauranteur and honourary block owner (just saying, shouldn’t he be?) is excited to have the opportunity to keep his establishments together.
“I have great difficulty letting go of the reins. I know have a fantastic team of chefs, sous chefs and business partners, but I still want to be able to keep an eye on things... I can be in each of my three restaurants with in three minutes of each other,” says Flinn. “I’m very hands on. The product is personal and it’s not cookie cutter, you need that hands on kind of thing. I don’t chop the onions or caramelize the sea scallops, but I like to be around all the time.”
While a 25-foot bar will be Temple’s centrepiece, Flinn says they’ll be using the space’s natural charms—stone walls, exposed bricks, pillars—to inform that new feeling he’s talking about. With the space currently under renovations, he's aiming for a early-to-mid September opening.