Home of the Brave

Where to drink right now

HOME OF THE BRAVE 589 King West (upstairs), 416-366-2736, thehotb.com

Elevation of the everyday is done well at the recently opened and crazy-popular Home of the Brave, team La Carnita’s take on blue-collar American food and beverage.

Where else in the city can you munch pistachio-sprinkled fried bologna stacked on a house-made milk bun and wash it down with an obscure classic cocktail?

Kudos to HOTB for taking a fresh design approach – part industrial workshop and part diner with a low-key, trendy vibe. Praise Jesus (see what happened there?) someone got on the Americana tip, because we fear we may slip into mild catatonia at the sight of more reclaimed barnboard, antlers and flannel plaid.

The 18-seat marble bar is the first thing you find when you cross the border into HOTB territory, and it’s the best place to plant yourself and begin working through the drinks list, which features house and vintage American cocktails along with a “guest book” of rotating recipes contributed by bar manager Taylor Corrigan’s mixologist pals stateside.

Try the Wizard of Oz (Cynar, sherry, lime and orange bitters) by Alex Renshaw of Chicago’s Drumbar, or Corrigan’s elegant Tombac Tippler (Tequila Tromba, rose liqueur, Chartreuse, grapefruit bitters). All cocktails go for a reasonable $12.

Naturally, there’s plenty of American beer – PBR regular cans ($5), bottles of Anchor Steam and Brooklyn Lager ($7) and Ommegang Hennepin on tap ($8). But don’t you dare leave without sharing a cup of spiked slush (bittered Jack and Coke or a rummy Zombie for$7), ideally with someone cute, through two straws.

Hours: Monday to Wednesday 5 to 11 pm, Thursday to Saturday 5 pm to 2 am. Closed Sundays. Opening soon for lunch and takeout.

Patio: None, but grab a seat at the open window overlooking King West.

Bathrooms: Unisex, upstairs.

Signature drink


The Honeymoon $12

In Vintage Spirits And Forgotten Cocktails (a must-read for cocktail enthusiasts), Ted Haigh, aka Dr. Cocktail, calls the Honeymoon “smooth, balanced, nuanced and urbane,” pretty much nailing its character. This recipe, first published in 1917, is one you don’t see around too often, so get down to the HOTB and thank them by ordering one.

2 oz Calvados
½ oz Benedictine
½ oz Cointreau
½ oz fresh lemon juice

Shake and fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist if you please.

drinks@nowtoronto.com | @s_parns

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