D.W. ALEXANDER19 Church, 416-364-8368, dwalexander.com
St. Lawrence Market, a neighbourhood famous for its historical buildings, swanky furniture shops and stacks of peameal bacon, now has its own self-identified premium drinkery.
Opened just under a month ago in a heritage building that once housed its namesake's leather business, D.W. Alexander taps into the axioms of modern cocktail bars, with its nondescript entrance (parka-clad doorman excepted), historical bent and whiskey drinks.
The cocktails, designed by Aaron Beaudoin (Rock Lobster, Goods & Provisions) and executed by the charming Jonny Gray (Brassaii), are plugged into three categories: house, classic and beer. Consider the Old Fascist (Bulleit bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Amaro Lucano, demerara syrup, coriander and bay leaf tincture and cardamom bitters, $12) or Judy Blue Eyes (Tequila Tromba, Cointreau, vanilla syrup, yuzu and lemon juices, orange-flower water and lavender bitters, $15).
Small bites are available, but the focus is on the drinks.
Despite shelves lined with vintage encyclopedias, aspects of D.W. Alexander reek of brand-spanking-newness: there are no hooks installed on the bar just yet, and the space has the kind of virginal sheen well-worn establishments lost long ago to years of grime, shut-ins and washroom sex.
Like anything, bars take time to settle into themselves, but I predict this one, providing a trendy service unique to its neighbourhood, will become a haven for young professionals.
Suitable for post-work drinks or romancing a client, it's the kind of place you can bring your crush for a cocktail-athon or cruise for pretty faces. Weave it into your weekly imbibing schedule and see what I mean.
Access Entrance at street level, bar and lounge down a flight of stairs. Two steps to washrooms.
Hours Tuesday to Friday 5 pm to 2 am and Saturday 6 pm to 2 am. Closed Sundays and Mondays