The Drake Hotel
While the Drake is so often recognized for its role in revitalizing the nightlife in the city’s west end, it deserves even more credit for mainstreaming, and even franchising, the craft cocktail in Toronto. You can order resident bartender Sandy de Almeida’s Rust and Bone at any of the Drake’s seven bars between here and Prince Edward County and recognize the same inch-perfect balance of woody cedar-infused bourbon, piercing Amaro Nonino and zesty Benedictine liqueur—and then immediately order another. Equally accessible (and addictive) but even more complex is the Departed, which measures earthy 12-year-old rum against bitter Campari and Averna and smoky mescal with a shake of Peychaud’s. Despite the Drake empire’s proliferation into the realm of county inns and general stores, the Queen West flagship remains a rowdy hangout, with three packed spaces—a cavernous main-floor room spotlit with bronze fixtures and ringed with dark leather banquettes, and a soundtrack that will have you constantly pinging Shazam; a dark, often deejayed basement; and the boisterous Sky Yard, a rooftop patio bar.
1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042, thedrake.ca/thedrakehotel