Would you go to your family doctor for eye surgery? Specialization is what it’s all about, especially when something really important is on the line – like your drink.
Along with Via Allegro (1750 the Queensway, 416-622-6677) and Allen’s (143 Danforth, 416-463-3086), the Feathers (962 Kingston Road, 416-694-0443) pub is part of Toronto’s world-class Scotch whisky triumvirate. Cracking the Feathers list of 460 blends and malts, compiled since 1981 by owner Ian Innes, tells you you’re in a singular realm of single malts. The roll call of cask-strength private imports is mind-blowing, and the collection from deceased distilleries like Port Ellen, Brora and St. Magdalene is a particular point of pride.
Add an “e” and now we’re drinking Irish whiskey at McVeigh’s New Windsor Tavern (124 Church, 416-364-9698). Owned by the McVeigh family since 1961, this old drinking room serves up the best selection of Irish in town. How about a rare Bushmills Canada single cask or Bushmills 21-year-old single malt? And don’t forget Connemara, Ireland’s only independent distillery.
If McVeigh’s is a pair of comfortable old brogues, then Pravda (44 Wellington East, 416-863-5244) is pointy-toed stilettos. And its new larger location has more room for kicking up those dangerous heels. The ironic Soviet glamour remains, as does the list of 70-plus vodkas chosen by owner Robin Singh. International selections like Youri Dolgoruki from Russia, Effen from the Netherlands and Single from Italy take Pravda’s slick young business and media clientele on a grand tour.
Tequila is your poison at Reposado (136 Ossington, 416-532-6474), which has been filling up regularly since it opened in August. Owners Catherine and Sandy MacFadyen and Patrick Gregory are slowly convincing Toronto that the only thing you should shoot here is the piano player. Well, actually they don’t have one, so aim for the trumpeter in the jazz quartet that plays every Thursday and Friday. Be prepared to forget everything you think you know about tequila and try their Herradura, Los Arango or Don Julio 1942.