Hidden from the dazzle of the city streets is a speakeasy that welcomes you into a cool yet cozy space that feels like something out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, but only if you can answer the riddle at the entrance.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I did imagine that my experience would be quite unique at Suite 114. Located at Yonge and Dundas, this cocktail bar is special starting from the very moment you arrive. First off, the entrance to get to the bar is nestled between two restaurants. After conquering a few flights of stairs, you are eventually met with a door and a keypad that asks you a simple riddle. Upon completion, the door opens and into another world you fall.
Long velvety curtains hide the bar from the outside world and only glowing neon signs and red bar lights illuminate the speakeasy. Leather stools line the workspace where bartenders dressed to the nines, shake and stir and smoke and craft cocktails. Plush sofas and couches and intimate tables for two scatter around the room.
As me and my guest took a seat, we looked over the cocktail and snack menus. And although the cocktail menu had some fairly one-of-a-kind cocktails including an alcoholic bubble tea complete with tapioca pearls (a.k.a Pearl Necklace), we ultimately decided on the following:
French Toast & Cigarettes
Brown Butter fat Washed Bulleit Bourbon, Luxardo Maraschino, Amara Averna, Cinnamon Simple Syrup, Coffee Pecan Bitters, Hickory Smoke
Delicate sweetness balanced with the a earthiness
Each sip became more inviting than the next, smooth to the point of a buttered slice of french toast—truly a cigarette daydream.
Plantation Grande Reserve Rum, Giffard Carribean Pineapple, Cognac-Cashew Orgeat, Lime Juice, Orange Bitters
Fruity and full of vibrant citrus zing
Sipping this cocktail felt like I was on vacation somewhere in the tropics, relaxing under a palm tree, I could practically hear the ocean waves frothing onto the shore.
Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, Creme de Cacao, Sandeman Ruby Port, Orange Juice, Cinnamon Maple Syrup
Balance of rich chocolate decadence and mellow citrus
Visually aesthetic in it’s dark to light ombre fade, this cocktail felt mildly nostalgic with hints of cocoa and the inviting sweetness of maple.
Raisin-Infused Grant’s Sherry Cask Scotch, Aurora Oloroso Sherry, Salted Honey Ginger Syrup, Lemon Juice, Laphroaig 10 Scotch
Smokey, dry and with vibrant citrus notes
The candied ginger piece garnishing this cocktail was poignant and slightly peppery under a caramelized sugar coating, playing with the hazy and bitter citrus flavours of this cocktail.
Despite the fact that I was immediately intrigued by the Cigarettes and French Toast as a cocktail name, I think my favourite drink of the night was actually Family Business. It was luxuriously smooth and felt reminiscent of the chocolate oranges that I used to eat at Christmas as a kid.
As a whole, all of the cocktails were quite beautifully (and skillfully) created and served. From an aesthetic standpoint, I loved seeing the different cocktails being presented in various glassware and with unusual garnishes. There was definitely an artistry in what is served at #Suite114.
As for munchies to accompany your cocktail, the cocktail bar offers things like plantain chips, wasabi peas, olives, bread and cheeses. We settled on Brioche slices with an Eggplant Dip. Though the bread served was definitely not brioche (definitely just a flatbread), it was still quite pillowy and light. The eggplant dip was really the star. Creamy and flavourful with the same zing of a baba ganoush, the dip was a great palate cleanser as we switched between sips of cocktails.
Bottom line, if you’re looking to sample some really unique cocktails, I think that this is the place to go. It’s also pretty optimal for a first date as the space is quite small and the vibe is fairly relaxed with the dim lighting and casually cool menu.
Interestingly, Suite 114 also offers monthly cocktail classes for groups of 6 or more, in addition to tastings for various liqueurs. Based on my experience, I would definitely love to take a cocktail-crafting lesson here in the hopes of mastering one of their artful cocktail creations. Could you imagine how impressive that would look if you served your friends a Family Business at your next at-home hangout?
Although visiting this speakeasy won’t be the cheapest night out, these cocktails rank relatively cost-effective (ballpark $15) if you take into consideration the level of craft involved in developing these gourmet sippers. In my opinion, they’re definitely worth the price tag.
Now that you know where to go, you just need to know who to take! Suite 114 is sure to make a last impression on you and whoever you bring, that I’m sure of!
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What’s your go-to bar in the city? Let me know in the comments!