Read my profile of Thirsty & Miserable in the bars section.
At the time Maguire had just joined the city's population of small town expatriates — her's is Tilbury, Ontario, population 4,000 and shrinking — who make their way to Toronto to drink up all it has to offer. These days of course, Maguire is designing distinguished cocktail lists and providing the drinks, now as a head bartender, to a different kind of Leslieville local. I stopped by The Comrade last week to find out more about her life behind and beyond the bar, but we mostly just spent the time talking about basketball, Jeremy Lin and horse racing.
She also spearheaded the East Side Icon project, a calendar highlighting some of the admirable men of the east side (all fully clothed, perverts) to raise money to rejuvenate an as of yet unspecified piece of the east end. Every dollar sold goes straight to the project and the community gets to decide where those dollars are spent.
I caught up with Rachel, pre service, to talk about community involvement, life behind the bar and, you know, strippers.
And you know, he's pretty good at all that stuff. But he's a really good bartender.
For eight years he's been the friendly, personable guy running the room at the Communist's Daughter, making sure everyone is having a good time. And for the most part, everybody is. Most of that can be chalked up to personality — he's a quick wit and a keen conversationalist — but there's a little ambition hidden in there too. How else does one explain the raucous Saturday afternoons when he invites the Red Rhythm to join him on his shift, allowing him to sing and play trumpet while he tends to his customers. Or a night of BYOV (bring your own vinyl) that turns Mondays into a boisterous listening party where side A is a given, but the room votes if it's worth flipping to side B. Believe me, it can get tense.
After years in retail, he got into the hospitality industry by way of the dish pit at Cocktail Bar's previous incarnation, the Hoof Cafe. After a few months, Hoof Matriarch Jen Agg must have recognized a glimmer of said demeanor and the transformation began. He started as a server and soon enough, graduated to bar duties. Since then he's been refining that attention to detail while filling out his fledgling resume to boot. When not crafting one of the city's great Manhattans, he can be found moonlighting at Woodlot from time to time. That and, of course, working on his Star Trek DVD collection — go figure.
I caught up with him on a rainy afternoon to talk cocktails, video games and the highs and lows of hospitality.