Clockwork Bar provides a swanky spot for cocktails, champagne and snacks in the lobby of the Fairmont Royal York, one of Toronto’s most historic hotels.
Situated around a double-sided modern indoor clocktower that the bar is built into, the venue is loosely themed around the golden age of railway innovation.
Design by Rockwell Group incorporates Pullman car banquettes that evoke old glamour and tie in with preserved historical high ceilings and historical photos.
An aged angus striploin sandwich will set you back a whopping $25 for a few finger-sized bites, albeit made with high-quality meat.
Something of an homage to a katsu sando without the thick breading, the bread is grilled and pressed, the meat set off by just a little coarse salt, kewpie mayo, and a refreshing chimichurri.
Fogo Island shrimp ceviche ($24) is another selection from the menu of pricey high-end small plates that emphasize high-quality local ingredients. Delicate shrimp play off crushed creamy avocado and spicy pickled serrano chili.
Other equally-ritzy options include lobster rolls, caviar, chicken liver pate, baby gem salad, oysters, cheese plates and scotch eggs.
The Clearheaded Harvey ($22) is indicative of the revival of “dark age” cocktails that tie together the drinks list, this one a modernization of a Harvey Wallbanger.
Made with Absolut Elyx Vodka, Galliano, citric acid and clarified orange juice (essentially meaning it’s been stripped of its colour but not flavour through an hours-long process), it has something of a light creamsicle flavour.
Meet Me at the Clock for a sky-high $30 is an elegant, light combination of Hendrick’s gin, Moet, lemon and bitters in a glass given a spritz of absinthe, all surrounding a globe of frosé ice that slowly melts and interacts with the bitters to emphasize the bar’s temporal theme.
The cocktail menu is meant to be read and enjoyed top-down, starting with more refreshing drinks and moving to more citrus-forward beverages, then ending with digestif-type options you might have after eating.
In addition to wines and bubbles, there are also a couple good local beers available from the likes of Henderson, Godspeed, Blood Brothers and Burdock.
The idea behind the concept of time that ties Clockwork together is that all different kinds of people from different time zones are passing through the lobby and bar area at different times of day.
Open every day from 11 a.m. until midnight, reservations are available for lunch.