What’s on the menu at Clockwork, the Fairmont Royal York’s new champagne and cocktail lounge

What’s on the menu at Clockwork, the Fairmont Royal York’s new champagne and cocktail lounge

Name: Clockwork
Contact: 100 Front St. W., 416-368-2511, clockworktoronto.com, @clockworktoronto
Neighbourhood: Financial District
Owner: Fairmont
Chef: JW Foster (Fairmont Royal York, Fairmont Banff Springs, Peace Hotel)
Accessibility: Barrier-free access to lounge and washroom

The drinks

Drinks, drinks and more drinks. When it comes to bubbles, the selection ranges from $75 bottles of Venetian prosecco to $650 bottles of Cristal. In between are the usual familiar names (Veuve, Dom, Moët) and some lesser-known grower champagnes. Director of mixology Rus Yessenov dug through the archives when working on the cocktail card. Some of the drinks are Yessenov’s takes on perennially popular Prohibition favourites, like Meet Me at the Clock, which is his play on a French 75. Several recipes from the cocktail dark ages—when a Cosmo wasn’t an order that evoked some side-eye—have also been resuscitated and reinvented here.

Between the Times is a play on Between the Sheets, a little-known Sidecar spin-off popular in the ’30s. The original combines rum, cognac and Triple Sec. Yessenov kept the citrus feel but swapped out Triple Sec for fresh passionfruit, then blended a quartet of rums together. His version tops the boozy base with some Greek yogurt foam and a sprinkle of nutmeg. $17.


Meet Me at the Clock is misted with absinthe, garnished with a spherical rosé ice cube and finished with Hendricks Gin, Veuve Clicquot, lemon and a dash of bitters. $30.


A sphere of frozen rosé is added to the Meet Me at the Clock cocktail.


Popular in the ’80s, the Harvey Wallbanger was basically headache-inducing orange juice. Yessenov has turned the original into a Creamsicle-reminiscent highball. His Clearheaded Harvey uses agar to clarify orange juice, which is then sprinkled with citric acid. Elyx vodka adds punch, while a bit of Galliano rounds out the flavour with notes of vanilla. $22.


The food

A short menu of fancy finger foods (caviar, oysters, lobster rolls), sharing plates (ceviche, chicken liver pâté) and upscale bar snacks (scotch eggs, duck fat fries). There’s an emphasis on Canadian-sourced ingredients, with fish from the east and west coasts, beef from Ontario farms and many of the in-season products sourced from 100km Foods Inc.

Although the avocados in this ceviche aren’t grown here, the shrimp is from Fogo Island. $21.


This finger sandwich is made with aged Angus strip loin, and is served with mustard and chimichurri. $23.


The space

Just in time for the Royal York’s 90th birthday, the hotel has completed its drastic renovation, which transformed a once-stuffy lobby into an Art Deco–inspired cocktail lounge. A section of what was previously public seating is now an open-concept, 60-seat cocktail bar overlooked by the hotel’s new double-sided bronze clock tower. Inspired by the golden age of railway exploration, New York–based design aficionados the Rockwell Group has made this section of the hotel’s main floor feel like a scene from a film-noir movie set on a train. Moody lighting gives the space an around-the-clock cocktail-hour vibe.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the room.


And the bar.


The clock, seen here reflected in a table, is the third clock to grace the Royal York’s lobby since the hotel opened in 1929. The last one—known as the spiral staircase clock—was installed in 2002 by the Electric Time Company. The same U.S.-based company also made this two-storey timepiece, which backends the bar.