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Spaces: A new west-end Toronto bar gives cocktail culture a literary twist

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(Stefanie Neves)

(Stefanie Neves)

Marlene Thorne, a self-described book nerd, opened the bar Famous Last Words in October. The literary-themed watering hole, located in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood, has already become a local favourite, hosting readings and offering a welcoming home to book clubs. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been reading incessantly,” Thorne says. “There was something about a combination of books and cocktails that appealed to me. There really wasn’t any more to it than that.

A triptych of posters facing the bar bears the entire text of Shantaram in microscopic print. Gregory David Roberts’s 2003 novel, about a convicted Australian bank robber, is a favourite of Thorne’s (Stefanie Neves)

A triptych of posters facing the bar bears the entire text of Shantaram
in microscopic print. Gregory David Roberts’s 2003 novel, about
a convicted Australian bank robber, is a favourite of Thorne’s (Stefanie Neves)

 

The bar’s back wall houses a selection of books from Thorne’s personal collection. “I decided to colour coordinate them, because I’d actually done that in my house. Basically it looks like we’re illiterate at home now.” (Stefanie Neves)

The bar’s back wall houses a selection of books from Thorne’s personal collection. “I decided to colour coordinate them, because I’d actually done that in my house. Basically it looks like we’re illiterate at home now.” (Stefanie Neves)

 

The bar top is made up of about 11,000 Scrabble tiles, which Thorne ordered in bulk and glued down by hand: “We hid about 55 character names from some of my favourite books in there.” (Stefanie Neves)

The bar top is made up of about 11,000 Scrabble tiles, which Thorne ordered in bulk and glued down by hand: “We hid about 55 character names from some of my favourite books in there.” (Stefanie Neves)

 

Thorne searched “high and low” for the antiquarian book-print wallpaper that covers part of the bar’s front lounge. She finally found it in the paint shop directly across the street. (Stefanie Neves)

Thorne searched “high and low” for the antiquarian book-print
wallpaper that covers part of the bar’s front lounge. She finally found
it in the paint shop directly across the street. (Stefanie Neves)