Clocktower Bar Toronto

Clocktower Bar

Clocktower Bar is the companion spot to the original Boxcar Social location in Summerhill - in fact, it can be found right next door to it.

Both places were named to pay homage to the former North Toronto Railway Station that's been transformed into an LCBO just south of here, and the two complement each other well.

Boxcar is where you go for great a great selection of coffee, New World wines, craft beer, bourbon and Scotch while Clocktower specializes in well-made cocktails.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

Inside, Clocktower has a different look and feel to Boxcar, with a Scandinavian kind of minimalism and a nature theme.

There are white walls and wood ceiling slats where fake vines hang out in the corners, a forest of birch tree wallpaper covering an entire wall and antlers hung as decorative pieces behind the bar.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

Like their other spots, the owners built everything here themselves (with the exception of the bar seats), including the bar, whose top is a large, long slab of salvaged wood that only had to be polished up a bit.

This is a relatively intimate space that fits 45 people in three distinct areas, plus another 30 on the back patio, where there are plans to host summer BBQs.

As this is a cocktail bar, there's only one beer available (a tall can of Ace Hill pilsner, $8). Go next door (or to the Riverside Boxcar ) for brews - come here for the expertly crafted cocktails.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

All the infusions and bitters are made in house, and drink offerings will change up, with special featured cocktails depending on what's available at the market that day.

Bartender Spence Taylor makes us a couple of drinks from the "modern classics" part of the menu.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

One being the luxe, fizzy, I-feel-like-I-should-be-celebrating-something Elder-Royale ($12), which contains Prosecco, St-Germain elderflower liqueur and a pretty, edible candied hibiscus flower inside the champagne flute.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

Taylor recommends the Jalapeno Mint Margarita ($14), which turns out to be my personal fave.

A refreshing twist on the traditional, this one adds in some St-Germain, orange bitters (instead of orange liqueur), mint and jalapeno to Tromba Blanco tequila, lime and simple syrup. The hint of mint and hit of spicy jalapeno balance the tart and sweet flavours perfectly.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

A standout from the "signature and seasonal" section is the Tequila Old Fashioned ($16), a mix of Casamigos Reposado tequila, mezcal, agave and chocolate bitters served in an impressively wide crystal glass.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

Since I'm a sucker for egg whites in my drinks, I'm also partial to the London Fog ($12), a Boxcar-inspired concoction with house-made Earl Grey-infused gin, Galliano, blueberry blossom honey, vanilla bitters and egg white.

It tastes exactly how it sounds (that would be "delightful"), and I've always thought caffeine and booze make the best combo.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

If you're feeling snacky, the sole option for eats is a charcuterie board ($10) of assorted meats and cheeses from the Cheese Boutique , which are tasty, but I'm definitely looking forward to those future summer BBQs.

Between Boxcar and Clocktower, I'd say the two have pretty much covered all the bases when it comes to the necessary libations in life.

Co-owner John Baker tells me he's seen at least one patron moving back and forth between the two in the same day - I definitely think that person has the right idea.

Clocktower Bar Toronto

Photos by

Jesse Milns

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