Cabana Pool Bar
Cabana Pool Bar is Toronto's newest hotspot at Polson Pier in the form of a pool-meets-nightclub-meets-restaurant. Brought to you by nightclub bourgeoisie Ink Entertainment, Cabana Pool Bar is a huge mostly-outdoor space with white tables and umbrellas, chaise loungers and all-white (surprise!) cabanas. Cabana Pool Bar is the physical embodiment of dating website BeautifulPeople.com . Cabana Pool Bar is the definition of hedonism. Cabana Pool Bar is like going off the resort in Mexico without the risk of hepatitis.
I visited Cabana on a Wednesday afternoon as part of a media preview. My first impression was that it looks half like the country club that the whole Saved by the Bell gang worked at one summer , and half like that scene in Breaking Bad where they all go to Mexico and (spoiler alert) a bunch of people die and we find out Gus Fring is bulimic.
Both of these televised scenarios are things I've fantasized about being a part of, so I was very excited. Upon approaching the swimming area, the water is so blue you'd think the pool has a high school girlfriend that is thinking about going all the way only to change her mind halfway through and decide to wait 'til marriage. The entire set-up is very well thought out - cabanas surround the pool area with chaise loungers right next to the water. There are safes in the cabanas where you can leave your iPhone without worrying about theft or selfies of people you don't know and you are never more than 10 feet away from the bar.
A consistent aesthetic is very important to the club - guests are required to rent CPB towels ($5 with a $20 deposit) to keep with the look and there is a 'style code' in effect, so other than a few tan accents, the décor in the club is whiter than an eighth grade Catholic school graduation from Oakville.
In fitting with the indulgent theme, Cabana has a variety of frozen cocktails, wine and beer available as well as a full menu from Oliver and Bonacini . I sampled several cocktails from the bar (they start at $7.50) and they were all delicious - very tropical and refreshing to go along with the pool atmosphere. The signature cocktail, the TOjitio, was sampled by Noted Toronto Photographer Jesse Milns , which he deemed "very very good."
I also tried a number of the dishes from the menu, which run the gamut from nachos to fries to sushi to salads. Everything I tried was fantastic. My favourite was the Sexy Fries ($12) which are fresh cut fries with parmesan and truffle oil. Normally, when I'm in public, I try to maintain some semblance of acting human, but in the case of these fries, all bets were off. Professional models in matching bikinis frolicked in the water, and I was huddled in the corner of a cabana with a weird sunburn on just my forehead mainlining these fries. They were that good.
Needless to say, I will be returning to CPB. Cover is $10-20 plus $20 for pool access which can seem like a bit much considering you're going to be dropping bills on all of the food you see other people eating and can't resist, but if you amortize it over the hours of operations (11 am-11 pm) and consider the Swimming Possibility Factor (SPF=high), it is well worth it.