Though being called the Wine Hobbyist, it does not stop me from indulging in a local neighbourhood lounge or bar every once in a while, especially those that come with very talented mixologists, and so was the case on the Thursday evening.

After grabbing sushi at my favourite sushi spot, I took my dining partner to a new cocktail lounge that I wanted to cover on the blog. The Sazerac Gastro Lounge had been open for six weeks and it’s interesting branding and entrance way was enough to make me think it warranted both a visit and a post from the Wine Hobbyist.

Sazerac is one of the latest lounges to grace the Toronto, King West neighbourhood, and it is in walking distance (if you’re wearing flats) from Liberty Village. To enter, you climb a few steps, but are rewarded with a freshly designed space that comes fitted with a stage for live acts. However, to match the modern design, the live performance area is styled well and at the back of the lounge, so as to not be intrusive. For me, naturally, I was drawn to the bar.

The Sazerac bar was dressed with mason jars, a first sign that the Bar Manager and Head Mixologist, Marc Anthony, had chefed up some original cocktails on the menu, to provide a unique experience on the palate, for anyone looking to take in a tasty libation. Though the lounge is named after one of America’s earliest cocktails, out of New Orleans, and as you would assume the Sazerac lounge does offer their version of this cocktail, I decided to dig deeper on the drinks menu and ordered a cocktail called the Queen Bess. The Queen Bess boasts of a liquor base that is a homemade violet infused gin. A definite ‘must try’, but if gin isn’t your thing, have no fear because the entire cocktail menu is filled with drinking gems that are just as creative and ingenious and reasonably priced (average chefed cocktail price is $12). The drinks menu even has something for the more adventurous group. If you’re at the Sazerac with friends, you should try their Ooooohhh Yeeaaahhhh!!!, which is a boozy bowl that serves four, for $50.

According to the staff at Sazerac, their Friday and Saturday nights turn the venue into hopping night spot and even though I did not get the chance to try their food menu, the number of interesting sharing plates indicates that the dining experience is well fit for a lounge-like type of atmosphere.

If you are looking for a chic yet relaxing lounge atmosphere, with a special intent to take in a good cocktail, the Sazerac Gastro Lounge is a definite possibility. The great atmosphere, design and friendly demeanor of the talented Bar Manager Marc Anthony, may just make this place one of my neighbourhood regulars.