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The East End’s Top 5 Places For Cocktail Hour
Photo credit: O&B Café & Grill
Canadian winters are not conducive to getting out on foot to explore your neighbourhood’s cocktail scene. So now that we’re in the prime time of perfect strolling weather, we wanted to share our five favourite spots for grabbing a drink. So grab a friend and take a walk to these five locales that are serving up everything from the classics to the new and creative.
With an incredible patio, and stunning views of the St. James Cathedral across the street, Origin is a classic pick for cool cocktails. This hot spot is frequented by the suits of Bay Street and serves up clever concoctions like The Gentleman’s Club 2.0 made with Bulleit rye, Lagavulin, orange and old fashioned bitters finished with salted caramel syrup. Down a few of these cocktails and stave off the stumbles with an array of delicious sharing plates from their tapas menu.
The Carbon Bar
Although known as a BBQ joint, this place turns out some very excellent cocktails. The short drink list is heavily focused on tequilas and other brown spirits that are paired with unexpected add-ins. Think drinks like the Booya Cachaca, made with Havana Club rum, Leblon cachaça, yuzu sake, chilis and jasmin syrup or the Snap Dragon that mixes Avion tequila, mescal, thai basil, snap pea, Anaheim chili and grapefruit bitters. Pair your cocktails with bar snacks like their BBQ dusted crackling or fried oysters with spicy mayo.
Pacific Junction Hotel
This quirky locale is a mishmash of eclectic décor and a relaxed vibe. Despite its moniker, it is not a hotel but it certainly is focused on fun. Grab a cocktail and head upstairs for a round of ping pong. Cocktails range from the classic to the kooky. Try The Harry Nilsson, a spiced rum, coconut water and lime concoction that comes by the glass…or the bowl if you’re feeling like that kind of night. Headed out for brunch? Try their Morning After, a tequila Caesar with spicy beans, horseradish and house made hot sauce—also available in bath tub sized glassware.
Oliver and Bonacini Café & Grill
Oliver and Bonacini’s Café & Grill on Yonge and Front is a destination for lunch in the downtown core, but also boasts a serious cocktail menu. No frou frou business here—the martinis come in premium and ultra, both of which are classics made to perfection. Looking for a zippier combination? Try the Kiss From A Rose, a Dillon’s rose gin shaken with lemon chili syrup and garnished with a bird’s eye chili or their Dark Manhattan with rye, vermouth, housemade vanilla syrup and a Cocal-Cola bitters.
This St. Lawrence Market favourite is a destination for craft cocktails in the neighbourhood. The interior is a mix of modern and roaring 20’s. The mixologist here makes his own tinctures, extracts and syrups and crafts cocktails that are meant to pair with the kitchen’s shareable plates. A favourite here is the French Connection, a blend of muddled cucumber, gin, chartreuse, lillet blanc, coriander syrup, peychaud bitters and a coriander tincture.