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Home of the Champions.

Helen’s Bar & Burgers

1564 Danforth Ave. at Coxwell

Even though the nearby notorious Crossroads House was slathered in a coat of “Soon-to-be-a-condo Death Paint,™” Helen’s Bar & Burgers picked up the dive banner where the Crossroads dropped it.  And Helen’s waves it well with top-notch downmarket beverages, fare, and atmosphere.

What struck me about Helen’s is how clean the grilling area is. It looked so underutilized that I had to ask if the kitchen was ever open. It was. The staff will quickly cook something up for you. And as a Hells Angels associate “passing through on business” told me, the chicken wings are great.

The staff and clientele are friendly. Food prices are low. And, unbelievably, no one asked if I were a cop.

The Nitty-Gritty:

Jacksoul Poster: Two of ‘em! Double-down dive style.

Price: Cheap. $3.75 domestic bottles.

$3.50 daily shot specials.  (Covid has raised the price. I tried getting a new photo but there were sinister individuals standing near it who suggested I not take any photos lest I risk becoming a punching bag.)

I suggested they call the Friday featuring Forty Creek Whisky, Fryeday.  They laughed politely.

Service: Friendly. Proud. Athletic.

You might think these are soccer trophies but they aren’t.  These trophies were awarded to the owner who was 1994 champion of the Coxwell Crotch Kicking Contest.  It’s an east-end tough-guy tradition that draws competitors from as far away as across the street.


Earth tone Sunset. 

In the early 80s, earth tone was dying hard. With angled wood, beige tiles, brown mats, and yellowy walls, here’s one of its last incarnations before it was thankfully relegated to history. 

And looking closely at the signage, I noticed the name “Henry’s” could be seen under “Helen’s.” I was told Helen had a great divorce lawyer.

Washroom facilities:



Spic and span.  Judging by the brand of cleaner in the closet.  See epic closet photo below when you get to it.


TVs, jukebox, and graphic design training. Once a month, for free beer, unemployed advertising people teach the regulars how to make DIY ads. Here’s a fine example featuring symmetry, scissors, and glue.


Meet future stars of television

Intervention, that is.

Exemplary three Rs program

Reused screen door makes a great open-concept closet.

Iambic Drunkometer

Suggested musical accompaniment:

“We are the Champions” by Queen

The Last Call:

Dive Bar Mike recommends this bar for Dylan Thomas fans, coupon clippers, easy riders, and those wanting to double down on numbness before heading to one of the many nearby dental offices.


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