Who doesn’t love a bar with a good back-story? The fine folks at DW Alexander offer just that, serving up history with a modern, sexy flair. If the crowd that turned up to the recent media launch is any indication, this is going to be a hot new spot for some time to come.
The creators of this new cocktail lounge are looking to harness the spirit of hard work and camaraderie, inspired by the eponymous man who first owned the original factory space in 1877. A leather and hide dealer, Alexander’s business grew into one of the largest leather trades in Canada.
That kind of perseverance can build up a thirst. “In those days, rugged but well-dressed gentlemen from the factories and warehouses would congregate at the nearest tavern to celebrate the end of a hard day with a hard drink” a release on DW Alexander’s website explains. This is the vibe the owners are trying to recreate, decking out the subterranean drinking hole with moody lighting, plaid-and-leather upholstered banquettes, a library, and outrageously attractive staff. It’s gentlemen’s club/hipster realness. And it works.
As the opening night for media filled with socialistas, stylish 20-somethings, and every gay in the Village, the service staff began to circulate with a satisfying sampling of appetizers. Among the hits were the sloppy bison sliders with aged cheddar ($13) and popcorn with bacon-infused butter. The former was a nice take on the pub classic, while the latter was just as awesome as it sounds but apparently not offered on their menu. Jealous?
There were a few other nibbles, but it was the cocktails that stole the show. My absolute favourite of the night was the Old Facist ($12), a take on an Old Fashioned featuring amaro, black pepper, cardamom bitters, bourbon and some other aromatic stuff you haven’t heard of. Equally nice was the Sloe Gin Fizz ($14), with lemon juice, soda, Bombay and Hayman’s sloe gin. Skip the Avro Arrow ($14), a beer cocktail that may sound cool but ultimately just tastes like Sriracha.
At the end of the day, the biggest question is who will end up frequenting the lower Church Street location. DW Alexander is a great new spot, but a spot is only as great as its regulars. If the pre-launch crowd, packed with trendy chicks and fab boys, are the regulars, then this spot is set for the kind of success enjoyed by DW himself.