There are plenty of well-known bars in the King Street area, from Club Majestic to the King Club to the Great Dane. If you were walking there on a weekend night, there are lots of places that would catch your eye. However, as with so many things in life, it’s what’s last-noticed that ends up being the best.
If you’ve never been to Natt Spil (211 King St.), you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s an unassuming little building, nestled between one corner of the Great Dane and the construction site on the corner of King and Wilson. There’s no sign, no visibility through the front windows and nothing but a string of red Christmas lights to indicate that the building isn’t deserted. Somehow, even the talking and music from inside don’t make it to the outside.
If you happen to stumble upon it, though, you won’t be disappointed. Upon opening the door, you’re greeted with a surprisingly warm, softly lit, rather noisy interior. The bar is on the right, with table seating on the left of the bar and toward the back. A DJ stand is set up near the middle of the area, with live music playing nightly.
Even on a recent Wednesday night, Natt Spil was hopping. My drinking buddy and I got a table right away, though, and settled into a corner booth under the DJ stand. Though I thought the music might be a little too loud there, the volume was nicely controlled and it didn’t prove to be a problem.
Natt Spil offers several options for food and drink, whether you’re in the mood for a full meal with wine, just grabbing a beer or craving a fancy martini. We opted for light food and drinks, and I ordered a Fresh-Baked Mini Loaf of the Day (on the particular night, sun-dried tomato and cheddar with spiced butter on the side). My drinking buddy went for the Strongbow Hard Cider (the most expensive bottle on the menu at a meager $4); I chose a Blind Russian (a very reasonable $6).
Everything was on the table in less than 10 minutes, which was more than impressive considering the size of the crowd. Our waitress was very attentive and friendly, and the quality of the drink wowed me to no end — it was honestly the best Blind Russian I’ve ever had. The bread arrived moments after the drinks and was also excellent, although I was warned that it was the last loaf they had left, so it was a bit more crusty than normal.
At $4, the bread was the cheapest food item on the menu, though prices range only to about $9. There are three kinds of pizza, the most standout of which is the Tomato with Wilted Spinach and Arugula. Also notable is the 3-Cup Chicken, which is glazed with tamari, sesame seed oil and rice wine and will set you back $7.
The drinks take up a whole page of their own and range from Pabst and Point in cans ($2) to Lake Louie and Great Dane selections on-tap ($3.50). The real bargains, however, are the mixed drinks. Expect to find everything from chocolate martinis to Jagermeister, with everything priced very, very reasonably. The caramel-apple martini and black cherry chocolate martinis are especially great and cost only $7.
If you want something a little more expensive, there are a multitude of vodkas, rums, gins and other assorted hard-alcohols to choose from. I always like to check the price of a Grey Goose mixer as a way to gauge an establishment’s affordability, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a Grey Goose screwdriver at Natt Spil is only $5.75.
There’s a dessert of the day offered as well, so if you’re still hungry after the meal and drinks, you’re in luck. I can definitely vouch for the carrot cake ($4).
Natt Spil may look like a hole-in-the-wall, but venture in sometime and you’ll find a warm and inviting place with affordable, tasty food and drink.