Top Five: the best speakeasies in Toronto
These nightspots nail the trendy Boardwalk Empire vibe
1 At the Parkdale gin mill Geraldine, pictured above, the retro cocktails are a safe choice, but the absinthe fountain is more fun: the emerald elixir is available straight or in a slushie with fig syrup, crushed ice, bitters and fresh mint. 1564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815.
2 At the Trinity Bellwoods cocktail hub Linwood Essentials, owner-barkeep Jake Valianes combines Capone-era liquors—gin, vermouth, cognac—with quirky modern twists, like cream cheese–infused Amaro. 930 Queen St. W., 647-828-9663.
3 East Thirty-Six’s decor is old Hollywood, but the cocktails feature innovative ingredients. The French Connection, for one, is a punchy blend of muddled cucumber, gin, Chartreuse, Lillet Blanc and coriander syrup. 36 Wellington St. E., 647-350-3636.
4 The gentlemen’s club ambiance at D. W. Alexander honours the building’s first tenant, a 19th- century leather trader. Cocktails like the Aficionado (cognac, Campari and a smoky tincture) pack a strong punch for the post-work crowd. 19 Church St., 416-364-8368.
5 The Libertine’s lighting is moody, the music is loud, and the crowd stays late. Standout drinks like the Ola Mae Brown (E&J VSOP with root beer, sassafras and lemon verbena) might have a little something to do with that. 1307 Dundas W., 647-748-8288.