Another round at Cocktail Bar

This Toronto institution enters an exciting new chapter with bar manager Juliana Wolkowski

Juliana Wolkowski is bringing visionary leadership to Toronto fan favourite Cocktail Bar. Erin Leydon photo

In the heart of Toronto’s vibrant cocktail scene, where new bars are constantly coming up with all sorts of innovative ways to bring entertaining, theatrical serves to life, there’s one place that stands out as a true, classic gem: Cocktail Bar.

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A world of flavours

At The Watson, it’s all about a laidback vibe and well-travelled cocktails

The Watson’s bar manager, Jordan Coelho, experiments with flavours he’s discovered around the world. Chelsea Brown photo

The late afternoon light filters through the window, casting a lazy haze over Main Street’s newest bar, The Watson.

The crew preps for opening, whirring around the dark wood and green leather interior accented with marble and gold fixtures. The space feels simultaneously Parisian yet West Coast, Art Deco yet contemporary.

Bar manager and partner Jordan Coelho says he wanted it to feel like a library and gestures to the apothecary shelf behind the bar that he hopes to deck out with homemade bitters. Their house-blend amaro already sits in pride of place, aging in Woodford Reserve barrels.

As opening approaches, shakers are already ringing out in the capable hands of bartender Thomas Dodds (previously of The Diamond).

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Serious Storytelling

Suyo’s bartenders sidestep pretension by perfecting the art of not taking yourself too seriously

The bar team at Suyo Modern Peruvian—Andrew Kong, left, and bar manager Max Curzon-Price—tell the tale of Peru in their creative cocktails. Chelsea Brown photo

Inside the recently opened Suyo Modern Peruvian on Main Street, just above the chorus of stylish 20-somethings and couples on date night, the bartenders can be heard telling the story of Peru—from undergrowth to clouds, ancient Incan civilization to contemporary culture.

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Setting the stage

At Published on Main, Dylan Riches performs cocktail theatre 

At Published on Main, Dylan Riches pushes boundaries with his creative cocktails. Sarah Annand photo

Ask Dylan Riches to trace his journey from the wilds of Prince George to bar manager at East Vancouver’s celebrated Published on Main, and he’ll ultimately suggest that he’s simply swapped one stage for another. 

“One of the things I love most about this industry is that the path is not the same for every single person,” Riches says at the award-winning restaurant. “I love talking to people in the industry, getting to know them, hearing about where they come from. Every person’s path has a different turn or twist.”

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