The first thing I thought of when walking through the doors of this establishment over the weekend was that it seemed like a trendier, luxe version of the neighborhood bar in the 80’s hit sitcom Cheers. Located in Toronto, on the Southwest corner of Adelaide and Portland, the newly opened spot exudes comfort with a homey, laid-back vibe… and I can see the King West condo dwellers and “suits” using this place as their after work hang out spot, similar to the Norm Peterson character on Cheers.
I almost missed this little treasure as it is located in an nondescript building just below ground level, but upon opening the large glass doors I was amazed to see what I would call a “ginormous” wrap around bar, which appeared to be sufficiently staffed with an adequate amount of bartenders and bar-backs. Meaning quite simply, patrons spent most of their time getting tipsy off the expertly made concoctions rather waiting for a life-time to place an order. With two lounge areas, which have a strong masculine feel, you will f ind; large, black, tufted leather couches and banquettes, worn in leather club chairs, reclaimed wood tables, vintage globes and sepia toned images of distilleries. Essentially a sophisticated “man-cave”, chic enough for us ladies.
Decor aside, it is the liquor menu that I should really be focusing on…they have a bottle collection of over 400 (one of the largest in the city) just to give you an idea of what they are working with! I was completely blown away by the vast variety of prepared drink options, which are conveniently segregated into six categories; House Cocktails, Vintage Cocktails, Modern Classics, Aficionados, Sparkling Cocktails and Mixed Drinks. Regular cocktail prices begin at $12 and can reach up to $48 for their barrel-aged cocktails, which are served in custom eight ounce bottles.
My 5 suggested picks…
1) French 75 (Sparkling Cocktail) – gin, fresh pressed lemon, gomme syrup, and sparkling wine
2) Gin Gin Mule (Mixed Drink) – gin, ginger beer, simple syrup, fresh pressed lime
3) Caesar Sangrita (House Cocktail) – 100% agave mezcal, cracked salt & pepper, clamato, fresh pressed orange
4) Sazerac (Vintage Classic) – rye whiskey, gomme syrup, peychand’s, & aromatic bitters and absinthe rinse
5) The Boulevardier (Aficionados) – top shelf bourbon, aperitivo, Italian vermouth
For more info on the venue, menu or to make reservations, check out the website at http://www.spirithousetoronto.com/