Cherry Colas Rock & Roll Cabaret Lounge is a hellish new spot with loud music and louder people. On Bathurst just North of Queen, co-owner Glenn Hughes, a former promoter and film industry veteran, describes Cherry Colas as, "Old Hollywood meets rock and roll, baby."
The lounge is draped in black and red with gothic mirrors, chandeliers and vintage rock and roll posters and antiques, hand-picked by the owners. The place is lit with dim red and white pot lighting and candlelight at each small, round table. There is plenty of seating around the bar, at tables along the wall and in a cushy lounging area at the back - this is a predominantly stand-up spot, though.
The crowd ranges from an early 20s rock mob that Cherry Colas shares with nearby Queen West spots like Tattoo and The Hideout, along with a more mature, music-loving crowd that, while older, can party just as hard.
As the name suggests, there's a definite cabaret atmosphere. The first thing to catch your eye when you step into the main room is a dancer in red lingerie on a platform sunken into the wall. The bartenders wear red bustiers and dark makeup. A small stage at the front of the lounge has hosted impressive musical acts like Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death metal, Flash Lightnin', Bend Sinister and His Orchestra (with Douglas Smith of TV's Big Love).
"We try to find acts from all over the place, but definitely not just local," says Cherish Stevenson, the other co-owner, who has connections in the music industry from her time living in L.A. When there is no live music playing, the crowd enjoys a diverse mix of old and new mainstream rock, soul and even some electro.
The signature drink, of course, is a Cherry Cola cocktail that is simple but tasty (exactly what's expected). The majority of cocktails being served, though, are strong, standard mixes. On tap are popular local beers like Amsterdam Blonde and Big Wheel (also of the Amsterdam brewery), as well as Kawartha Lakes Brewery's delicious Raspberry Wheat blend. Shots are also the popular choice: "Sometimes I'll do Cherry Cola or Green Apple shots," says Stevenson.
Downstairs, away from the ruckus, is a quiet, narrow lounge (what Hughes called the "love lounge") area with dim lighting. Past this area are the men's and women's washrooms, containing vintage photos of pin-up girls. Back upstairs, out back, is an outdoor patio area that is good for smoking only. You may also just need to get some air, because this place gets pretty crowded - even on a Wednesday night.
Having gained such a sudden following, Cherry Colas Rock & Roll Cabaret Lounge appears well-equipped to endure the summer. If Hughes and Stevenson can continue to draw in acts like Them Crooked Vultures and other talented North American artists, there's no reason why they can't aspire to be a boutique music hotspot that draws all kinds of national attention.
- Beers on Tap:
- Amsterdam Blonde, Big Wheel, KLB Raspberry Wheat
- Signature Drink:
- Cherry Cola Cocktail
- Bar Snacks:
- Amsterdam Blonde, Big Wheel, Kawartha Lakes Brewery's Raspberry Wheat blend
- Live Music:
- Who Goes There:
- Early to late 20s rock fans, 30-45-year-old music lovers. Same crowd as Tattoo, The Hideout.
- Wed-Sun 9pm - 3 am