Tucked away in the western reaches of Parkdale, Geraldine is a new cocktail bar worth swooning over.
It’s not often I feel this way about a bar. And trust me, I’ve been to a few. I know I’m smitten, because I keep trying to think up reasons to casually drop by. I’m trying to keep it breezy, but if I show up any more often, I worry I might be accused of stalking the place. I am pretty much stalking the place.
It’s just that, here in Toronto, we rarely encounter new bars like Geraldine. Unlike the ubiquitous barn board– and Edison light–sporting set, this almost feminine Parkdale spot has vintage paintings resting on pale mint walls. With delicate and classic white tiles and crown moulding, the space is light and airy—plenty of Paris, with a hint of New Orleans. And just to be clear, I don’t mean the steamy, bead-wearing, go cup–drinking New Orleans; instead, it calls to mind the old-school, seersucker-outfitted Big Easy, where the oysters are still Rockefeller and the clams come Casino. There isn’t a single slab of pork belly in sight.
But there are ample libations. While Geraldine’s list bears the mandatory bourbon cocktail—this is a bar in the west end of Toronto, after all—it keeps company with Calvados, French gin, Olorosso sherry, and kirsch (!). The Charlemagne ($11) is tart with a hint of apple, while La Tour D’Amour ($10) is a dry and twangy variant on a traditional Champagne cocktail, expertly served up in a smart antique glass.
Some of the inspiration for this bold and beautiful cocktail menu comes from Maison Premiere, an absinthe-centric oyster bar in Brooklyn. But few bartenders in Toronto could have done such a phenomenal job of executing this homage as Michael Mooney. An Irish import with a colossal knowledge of spirits and cocktails, he’s been quietly honing his skills at Banu, a Persian restaurant at Queen and Euclid, since his arrival in the city three years ago. Mooney, a gracious host on top of all that, is behind the wood (well, marble, actually) most nights.
Beer and wine choices are spot-on, too, with lots of pink, bubbly, and quirky options for the terroir-obsessed. Perhaps that’s because the wine list was designed with a little help from some friends at Dundas West’s Midfield Wine Bar—which just happens to be the last place I crushed on.
Although I’m tempted to shout my adoration from the rafters, I also want to keep this gem to myself. As word gets out and as the love pours in, folks from all over will make excuses to find themselves in Parkdale, so they, too, can casually drop by and drink in Geraldine.
1564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815.