Photography by diffordsguide.com
Words by Andrew Toplack on 04-Aug-2015
1564 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M6R 1A6, Canada
Tel: +1 647 352 8815
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Tue-Sun 5-closing (Sun brunch 11am-3pm), Mon closed
Door: Open door
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: High-end
Food: Full menu
This New Orleans-themed bar and restaurant lies pretty far west on Queen Street. Its green-hued walls, tin ceiling, and tile floor harken back to an earlier time and appear much older than its 2012 origins would indicate. A long narrow room with tables along the right-hand side is dominated by a marble-topped bar along the left. A cluster of tables in front by the opening floor-to-ceiling window and small outdoor patio complete the scene.
The best seats in the place are, of course at the bar, by the wall and curve. Being inspired by New Orleans, the cocktail menu begins with the list of five absinthes currently available by classic absinthe drip, as well as four brands of pastis. But it is in the house cocktails, created by bar manager Michael Mooney and his staff, that really make this bar sing. Many of the cocktails change with the season, but stand-outs include the Parisienne Milk Punch, based on a recipe from Jerry Thomas' 1862 Bartenders Guide: calvados, rum, absinthe, rooibus, pineapple, lemon, numerous herbs, and clarified milk; and the more modern Sunset in Provence which contains Tanqueray gin, green Chartreuse, elderflower, and mint and tarragon infused rose verjus, all in a thrown cocktail, one of only two listed on a bar menu in the city.
Food here is particularly well-executed. Stand-outs include asparagus 3-ways (poached, grilled and fried like chips), steak tartare, and their in-house chunky fries. Service by the young and enthusiastic staff is warm and knowledgeable.