Photography by Cocktail Bar
Words by Andrew Toplack on 04-Aug-2015
923 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M6J 1W3, Canada
Tel: +1 416 792 7511
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Daily 6:30pm-2am
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Plates & dishes
The brainchild of Toronto cocktail pioneer Jen Agg, Cocktail Bar began life as a place to have a drink while waiting for a table in her restaurant, The Black Hoof, across the street. It has since evolved into one of the very best places in the city to have a cocktail. It's also the smallest. Up a short flight of stairs from the street, this small room is warm and cozy in the winter and light and breezy in the summer. Large windows and light tones on the interior, along with worn white cabinets behind the bar containing the spirits, give it a pleasant, airy feel. The wood-topped bar counter takes up half the room, with 12 or so bar stools and six very small tables providing the seating. At the far end of the room, a small outdoor patio feels delightfully secluded from the street a few feet below.
The cocktail menu, created and developed by Jen Agg with the assistance of bar manager David Greig, is divided into: Seasonal, Bold & Citrusy, Liquor Forward, and Wild Cards. The Hoof Manhattan is their classic, with 10-year-old rye, Carpano Antica, and house bitters; the Whisky Business is boozy & balanced: bourbon, rye, Jameson, Laphroaig, fig liqueur, and Boker's bitters; and a recent visit involved the Absinthe Whip, based on the Orange Whip from a John Belushi movie: absinthe, orange, pistachio, and coconut.
Food is limited to snacks and small plates: raw oysters, duck wings, and popcorn chicken hearts. For serious food, The Black Hoof across the street is casual and excellent, very meat-centric, with everything prepared in-house. Just beside it, Rhum Corner is a little bit of Haiti in Toronto, specializing in rum and Caribbean food.