After unveiling their debut single last September to rave reviews from folk fans and critics alike, Toronto-based musical duo Clever Hopes released their inaugural full-length album earlier this year, solidifying their status as one of Canada’s brightest up-and-coming bands.
Prior to forming Clever Hopes, Andrew Shaver was predominantly known for his work as an award-winning actor, producer, and director, while Eva Foote was garnering praise as an emerging singer-songwriter. The two artists met when Shaver directed Foote in the musical Once, and the rest was history.
Since dropping their debut 10-track album Artefact, the duo has been dubbed a musical dream team and one of the premier bands to watch within the Canadian folk music scene.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the creative and charismatic Clever Hopes bandmates, who took some time to fill us in on some of their favourite places to eat and drink in their home base of Toronto.
Andrew: I call Parkdale home, and if restrictions aren’t enough to keep one staying close to home and eating local, then a newborn baby ought to do the trick. In October, I became a dad. From Auden’s very first few days as Parkdalian (Parkdalier?), the two of us have been up and out on morning walks through the neighbourhood well before the sun deigned to raise its head.
Our beacon on these daily dallies (ok, Parkdallier it is!) continues to be Larry’s Folly, an old Vape store with a drop ceiling and dirty drywall, turned gorgeous exposed brick and wood beamed cafe, replete with live music and a terrific little wine list. Stephen turns his espresso machine on at 6 a.m. everyday—a solid hour or two before all the others in the neighbourhood.
By the time my little man and I step into Larry’s, Astrid has an abundance of delicious, freshly baked, croissants, scones, and coffee cakes ready to go. My kind of breakfast. Named after Stephen’s grandfather, Larry’s Folly is a very warmly welcomed new addition to the neighbourhood and a real gem.
Eva: I worked here for the first year I lived in Toronto and it—in the best way—became a huge part of my world and now a memory of those early days. The smells of Luna are the smells of Mediterranean spices and mussels and sourdough and beets and lemon and that little wine spill I made on the counter (shh don’t tell Bernie!).
Of course it is a different bustling world now, but my conviction remains that if you want a fancy eggs Benny or a spicy shakshuka, or the feeling of being surrounded by Toronto locals—musicians and artists and children and community—then Luna is your place for brunch. (And also dinner. And maybe a nice cappuccino at 2 p.m.).
Eva: The first time Shaver and I hung out in Toronto was here—packed in a booth—minding elbows trying not to knock over someone’s beer, watching the Monday night jam and seeing friends we both expected and didn’t expect to see.
The Skyline has since been etched into my mind as a place where very good people go. Old-school diner fare and local music. And a sign that you can see from four blocks down on Queen street that feels like a familiar sight no matter how many times you’ve been.
Andrew: A few years ago, in my care-free, child-free, actor days I used to saddle up at Chris’ dark, little place on King Street, with a buddy of mine named Ben, a top shelf Australian I’d met while shooting a TV show.
We’d stumble home afterwards down Cowan (or was it Spencer?) sharing a pair of earbuds, listening to Ween’s Freedom of 76. When we got to his place, we’d fry up some grilled cheese, soak up everything we’d drunk at Pharmacy and wait for the sun to come out.
Part of Pharmacy’s irresistible charm is that you never really know when Chris will open up, so, I’ve been waiting months now to have that beer, and frankly, I’ll happily wait a few more. Giving the penultimate word here to Ben: 'Pharmacy is the perfect watering hole where you can disappear in plain sight.' Yeah, I’ll say, Chris has that part mastered.