The space used to be a Grand & Toy , and thankfully, the sense of luxury associated with overpriced ergonomic computer chairs and expensive printer ink has transcended the remodel. After walking through the door and through a small foyer, Early Mercy opens into a large, open space with high ceilings.
The bar is in the centre of the room, with high tables and chairs lining one side and booths with mismatched fabric on another. Wooden light fixtures that look like huge lightbulbs are hung from the ceiling, and an art installation with word-art of things people say to me when I try to flirt ("Push your luck" and "In your wildest dreams" and "lies") decorates one wall.
Above the booths are portraits of world leaders reimagined: Mahatma Gandhi is outfitted in cool shades and a hoodie. Winston Churchill has a steampunk vibe. Abraham Lincoln is just himself. Outside, the patio will be able to squeeze in 100 people.
Though Early Mercy serves wine and beer, their main specialty is cocktails. I tried The Lincoln, one of five signature Early Mercy drinks, all priced at $12.
The cocktail is a delicious blend of one and a half ounces of Ciroc vodka, lemonade and ginger ale. It was the perfect representation of Abraham Lincoln - deliciously sweet and a little sharp to mask the deadliness of the vodka.
Early Mercy also serves food prepared by the famous Food Dudes , the resident food truck of Early Mercy (other food trucks are lined up as guests periodically). The little bites I had were unanimously and unsurprisingly spectacular, and the idea of changing it up with different food trucks is a great way to keep things fresh.
Early Mercy is open for the after-work crowd but it gets steadily busier into the night. The crowd seems to be mostly professionals, with dudes in blazers, ladies in heels, and one woman in the exact look I was going for (chic boss in monochromatic luxe fabrics) as opposed to the exact look I achieved (sullen tween who spent all her Confirmation money at Hot Topic).
Though the music was on point for dancing (we're talking late 90s pop), Early Mercy is more of a stand-and-talk bar (or if you're lucky, sit-and-talk).
The cool vibe and delicious cocktails make Early Mercy ideal for catching up with a friend or a fun night out. As I was leaving, I already texted my friend that I had an idea for our next hang out and drink and talk about people we went to high school with and what possible information we can discern from their Facebook status updates session.
I explained that it was the bar where Grand & Toy used to be, but not to worry - it's at least as classy and fun as the ol' G&T was.