Name: Pacific Junction Hotel.
Owner: Anne Marie Anderson.
Neighbourhood: St. Lawrence/Distillery
Signature: Tequila and rum-based cocktails.
Open for: Lunch until late Monday to Friday, dinner until late on Saturday, closed Sunday.
Assessment: Formerly Veritas, Pacific Junction Hotel couldn’t be more different than its previous incarnation, or Betty’s (its sister bar and neighbour) for that matter. Brightly coloured, with Bob Marley floating from the speakers and Christmas lights hung haphazardly, it’s more frat-house-meets-beach-bar than King East. A fun mish-mash of tables and chairs (oil drums, stadium seats and, yes, a sawed-off bathtub) and loud conversation fill the main dining area. Out back is a pastel-striped patio, while upstairs folks can test their post-tequila ping-pong skills. The menu consists of finger food made for sharing—cutlery is completely absent—but the spotlight is on the tequila- and rum-based cocktails. The house specialty—the refreshingly tart Coronita Margarita—is named for its two ingredients, and involves one (the junior beer) doing a headstand in the other. With colder temps on the way, however, the Dark and Stormy—made with ink-black Kraken rum—might be the better choice. If tropical was what owner Anne Marie Anderson was going for, she succeeded—clientele have shown up shoeless on more than one occasion.
- The spicy hickory sticks that come as a side with every dish are strangely addictive.
- Eclectic seating (now you can pass out in a bathtub before you get home).
- Beach-bar atmosphere could take the chill out of winter.
- The Buffalo tofu balls.
- Cocktails with mystery prices that are listed as costing $Market.
- Disappointing fish tacos.
Bottom Line: Go for the Mason jar cocktails and the tiki-bar atmosphere—but keep your shoes on.—Rebecca Fleming
234 King St. E., 416-363-8447, www.pacificjunctionhotel.com