First Look: the whisky tasting tunnel equipped CC Lounge is Toronto's newest cocktail bar
The whisky tasting tunnel is the centrepiece of CC Lounge, Toronto's newest whisky bar.
Image: Caroline Aksich
The St. Lawrence hood has long been a hub for all things magical and historic. Its proximity to the lake made it a busy port in bygone days, and its stately architecture made it suitable for the upper crust to frequent. With that history in mind we introduce St. Lawrence’s newest upscale watering hole, the CC Lounge. Meant to remind us of the roaring 20s, the bar is set inside Toronto's historic Beardmore Building, which was designed by celebrated Canadian architect Walker Strickland.
Designer Joe Cho, and assistant Dion Carlo of Sodi Designs successfully emulate the opulence of the 1920s with their bold choices in décor. Pleasing aesthetics aside, the pair creates an intangible mischievous quality in the space – a feeling that comes from breaking the rules for hedonistic purposes. After all, this is a Prohibition themed lounge, so the design team is masterfully on point. The giant gilded birdcage at the entrance is the first tip-off that you might get into trouble if you stick around.
Equipped with stunning original brick walls, a cascade of glistening rhinestone chandeliers, and a giant iron door circa the early 1870s, the once quaint bookshop is all slick, savvy and ready to party. Towards the back of the room there is a cluster of twinkling disco balls, which seem a touch historically inaccurate, but nevertheless, they too add to the 4000 square-foot lounge’s dark and shiny perfection.
Image: caroline aksich
The bar program is, in a word, impressive. They feature all of the seminal cocktails that Capone was likely to have sipped himself, all priced at $11. The resident mixologist has also whipped up a few gems that play on classic cocktail form, and add modern cocktail flair. Check out the “Dizzy Dame” ($13) an infusion of whisky and chilled green tea with a splash of ginger beer. You’ll never know what hit you.
True to the bar’s shadowy motif, the owners prefer to remain shrouded in mystery. The St. Lawrence Group — partners who formerly worked at clubs including Pravda and Mink — certainly know their whisky. The CC Lounge boasts an enormous collection of whiskies from all over the world. Their catalogue of Canadian whiskies alone is 43 strong. The coveted caramel coloured liquor will range in price from $7 to $67, per ounce.
The dangerous indulgence continues with the “Whisky Flight” program. And here is where things get interesting. If you and your guests decide to take a “Whisky Flight” ranging in price from $32 to $180, you will be taken to dimly-lit hidden tunnel. The walls of which are lined with whisky bottles, and tasting glasses. It is there that a resident whisky aficionado and historian will paint you a picture of Prohibition days, and regale you with some of whisky’s lesser told anecdotes.
The tunnel is a great touch. It was designed as an homage to the tunnel that connected Windsor to Detroit in the 1920s, famously used by notorious rum-runners of the time.
IMAGE: CAROLINE AKSICH
Head Chef Brent Richardson, formerly of Leslieville's Glas Wine Bar, is designing a menu with old-school favourites like Beef Tartare ($14), and Waldorf Salad ($10). You can also give in to their delectably rich poutine ($12), which is drowned in beef and veal jus gravy, Quebecois cheese curds, and garnished with a dollop creamy chicken liver mousse. If you’re there to drink, you’ll be pleased to know that you can enhance your whisky tasting experience even further, when you order “CC Whisky Pairing Spread” ($16), which features dark chocolate, sharp cheese, and various accoutrements to complement the flavours in whisky.
The CC Lounge will open its doors to the public this Friday December 12. You might just want to go and get yourself into some trouble at Toronto's newest whisky bar in one of our oldest neighbourhoods.
CC Lounge and Supper Club, 45 Front St. E., 416-362-4777
Hours: Mon. to Tues. 4 p.m. - midnight, Wed. to Fri. 4 p.m. - 3 a.m., Sat. 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.