Introducing: D.W. Alexander, an updated library bar lodged in a 19th-century heritage building
Name: D.W. Alexander
Contact Info: 19 Church St., 416-364-8368, DWAlexander.com, @DWAlexanderTO
Neighbourhood: St. Lawrence Market
Owners: Former Foundation Room owner Jamil Kamal
Chef: Sean Simons, also the chef at Goods and Provisions in Leslieville
The Food: Canadian comfort dishes that don’t require a fork, like bison sliders and potato pancakes served with house-made apple crème fraiche. (Executive chef Sean Simons eventually plans to supplement the menu with his own house terrines and charcuterie.) Desserts include the “D.W. Mess,” a purposefully slapdash dish of meringue, poached apples and caramel.
The Drinks: Mixologist Aaron Beaudoin’s complex cocktails are named after character types: The Old Fascist is a stiff mix of bourbon, Amaro and a house-made tincture of black pepper, coriander and bay leaf. The Aficionado blends cognac, Lillet Rouge, Campari and a smoky cigar-flavoured infusion.
The Place: Owner Jamil Kamal wanted to capture the era of the heritage property’s original tenant, D.W. Alexander, who operated his leather-trading business out of the building in the late 1800s. Kamal recruited design firm Design Agency and Momofuku Toronto designer Allen Chan to transform the former Foundation Room space into an updated library bar. The subterranean lounge feels like a 19th-century gentlemen’s club with a few unconventional details, like a trio of decorative cast-iron bull’s heads and a tastefully camouflaged DJ booth.
• 800 chartreuse subway tiles
• 750 square feet of ancient Japanese burnt wood
• 10 original iron posts from the building’s construction in 1872
• 10 types of premium rye behind the bar
• 4 cast-iron bull’s heads
• 2 house-made tinctures, including one that tastes like cigar smoke
• $0 for bacon-dusted popcorn; it comes free with any drink