Biiru Bin (Oak St)
An impromptu Friday night get-together for a few busy Dads (myself included) found us at the new-ish Biiru Bin @ Oak/15th. This is the same location where Kai Sushi Bar was before they folded.
The small space is warm and inviting. The decor is about the same as how Kai had it, except now there is the addition of two large communal tables in the middle of the room, and being bar height, they help to create a separate pedestal-like space apart from the regular tables. New owner is a young Japanese couple. We were there at 9pm-ish so it was more drinks than nibbles. I had a couple of Tree Thirsty amber ales, followed by a shandy which was heavy on the ginger ale. Both good, and helped to down a quite well done grilled squid with a side of some kind of mayo ($8.8). The squid was fresh-tasting, nicely charred and tender, not at all rubbery. Two of our compadres ordered some fancy rolls, but since I had a late dinner that night I wasn't into anything with carbs hence didn't try 'em. I noticed a few aburis on the menu, along with modest lists of nigiris and makis (categorized to three groups: hoso, ura and fancy), salads and sashimis. Other than platters, all items seemed to be in the single-digit pricing.
Their selections of biiru (on tap and bottled, mostly Japanese and Belgian), shochu (Japanese vodka), cocktails, sake and wines are modest but seem carefully tailored to the food menu. I'm not a big drinker by any means so I can only go by intuition here.
We were the last to leave (12:20am) even though they've closed at midnight. The owner was most gracious to let us chat since we lost track of time (we don't get out much), while he quietly cleaned up in the back.
B-Bin is a very cozy little biiru spot in our Fairview neighbourhood (Kino is well past its freshness date IMHO) that hits the spot in terms of drinks and Japanese tapa. I'm excited, we'll be back soon and frequently.