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Where to drink right now!
FAT CITY BLUES 890 College, 647-345-8282, fatcityblues.com
Most self-proclaimed booze geeks would be ashamed to confess they’ve never visited the ultimate hotbed of cultured debauchery and spiritual home of cocktail culture. Nevertheless, I hang my head and admit that New Orleans is my favourite city I’ve never been to.
I’ve built NOLA up for so many years that my fantasies have calcified into mythology. One of these days I’ll get my shit together and scuttle south to suck the Big Easy dry, but in the interim I can high-five Simon Ho of the Drake and Cameron Hutton and Steve McKeon of Small Town Food Co. for transplanting the spirit of the (in)famous city to the outskirts of Little Italy at their new bar, Fat City Blues.
The deep, dim space, renovated by the owners with woodwork from T.O.’s Bread&Butter Designs and a broody mural by Jeff Blackburn, reverberates with live tunes every night except Monday (the day of rest and recreation for industry folk).
Definitive New Orleans cocktails like the Vieux Carré, Sazerac, French 75 and Ramos Gin Fizz wash down fried, baked or fresh oysters, shrimp po’ boys and cajun spiced crab legs. Once you’re satisfactorily stuffed, consider an absinthe drip (for digestive purposes, of course). If it’s an extra-awesome night, Ho might bust out some overproof rum and set a corner of the copper-topped bar on fire. If you smile sweetly, you might inherit one of the strings of Mardi Gras beads draping the back bar.
Fat City’s good vibes ride on pure fun and hospitality. I’m automatically behind any bar owners who “get it” the way Ho, Hutton and McKeon do. Some nights post-last-call, the boys go into the kitchen to fix grilled cheese sandwiches for the entire bar. Whether or not Fat City is authentically NOLA I cannot tell you. What I can tell you with confidence is that you’ll have a fucking great time here.
Access One step at door, washrooms in basement. Patio open soon.
Hours Tuesday to Sunday 6 pm to close.