The Drinks: Owner James Cosgriffe is a nine-time flair bartending champ for Southern Ontario, so he’s adept at juggling bottles, flipping shakers and working with flaming liquors. Needless to say, his cocktails have major flair. The Waterfall, for instance, consists of five mixed drinks poured consecutively into an elaborate configuration of tiered shot glasses via a stack of cocktail shakers. (For those looking to avoid a spectacle, wine and draught beer are also available.)
The Food: Crepeau, a North Bay native, landed the chef gig by answering an ad on Kijiji. He serves up casual comfort food, like fried chicken and red velvet waffles with maple barbeque sauce. On the lighter side, a winter apple salad comes topped with cranberries and manchego, and a filet of pickerel is seared skin-side-up on a bed of heirloom carrots. Gluten-free Portobello fries are faux-breaded with ground chickpeas.
The Place: The space (formerly Lardon) was turned around in just a week, and the decor is fairly bare-bones: cozy red banquettes, a few plasma TVs and a questionable colour-changing LED strip light. Thanks to Cosgriffe’s industry connections, weekly live music nights include some relatively big names, like Geoff Willingham of illScarlett. In the works for 2014: a Cocktail-style flair-off.
• 9 first-place awards for flair bartending in Southern Ontario
• 4 kegs emptied in the first week
• 4 plasma-screen TVs
• 1 Christmas tree for the holidays