Evangeline is Ace Hotel Toronto's all-season rooftop bar and lounge with a wrap-around terrace.
Perched 14 stories above Adelaide and Brant Streets, the intimate and cozy Shim-Sutcliffe Architects designed space is like a luxe 50-seat living room that’s flanked by two large fireplaces.
It can also accommodate 30 more people on its sprawling south- and west-facing patio. The latter overlooks St. Andrew's Playground Park and is outfitted with heat lamps.
Atelier Ace is behind Evangeline's interior, filling the concrete surroundings with warm and rich textures including terracotta elements, mossy green accents, and casual, contemporary furnishings.
The details are thoughtful – from having plenty of surfaces to place drinks, charging outlets for phones, and working WiFi – and welcoming (think, gender-neutral washrooms).
Other site-specific details include a Brutalist cast concrete mural by Montreal artist David Umemoto that frames the north end's fireplace, while the south side has a cylindrical structural piece.
At night, the room is illuminated by custom light fixtures by Toronto's own MSDS, with its visual centrepiece, Evangeline's bar, glowing from the custom sconce lights from Shim-Sutcliffe Architects as Alder.
Given there are no reservations, Evangeline might end up being a favourite place for many to while away until the wee hours (it closes at 1 a.m.), but its unobstructed view over the west side of Toronto means it's also the perfect spot to view the sunset or snap the Toronto skyline at golden hour.
The drink menu is tight, featuring a couple local beers, and a curated wine list that has a mix of seasonal and crowd-friendly by-the-glass pours, which includes a house wine from Pearl Morissette, plus bottles of bubbly that's ready to go for celebrations.
But most dropping by Evangeline tap into bar manager Sam Wilson's craft cocktail list.
The hotel's signature Ace Martini ($20) is a too-clean and too-easy-to-drink number that's unique to Ace Toronto. It uses local gin, vermouth blend, Mastiha liqueur, and tarragon brine.
The balance is scary. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it goes down like a glass of (alcoholic) water.
Wilson's drink list is dominated by cocktails that acknowledge the brand's other outposts. The concept is only available at the Toronto location since each property has a distinct drink program.
Boozy and smooth, Meiji Restoration ($22) is a cocktail that's inspired by the Kyoto property. It's a sophisticated sipper that features Japanese whisky, Cocchi Rosa, plum wine, and yuzu bitters.
A riff of a milk punch, the vegan-friendly Punch Lafitte ($19) is a nod to Ace Hotel New Orleans that uses Rhum Agricole, white rum, absinthe, brandy, gunpowder tea, coconut milk, and lime.
The Palm Springs-influenced Desert Verdin ($19) is composed of Sotol Ono, tequila, house-made Pasilla liquor, fermented pineapple, and lime.
Light and refreshing, the Belle Town ($18) is a Seattle-inspired cocktail that’s made from gin, lemon, orgeat, sea buckthorn and a touch of Manuka honey.
Just like Alder, Ace Hotel Toronto's signature restaurant, award-winning chef-partner Patrick Kriss consults on Evangeline's share-friendly snack and small plate menu which is prepared in a dedicated rooftop kitchen that’s managed by Ace Hotel's executive chef Devin Murphy.
East Coast Oysters ($15) tops a trio of cleanly shucked bivalves with yuzu cream. It's simple and finished with herb oil and radish.
Served with wood-smoked cocktail sauce, the Shrimp Cocktail ($18) comes blanketed with shaved horseradish and chives on a bed of crushed ice.
The tuna tartare ($20) is lovely and hides beneath a layer of herb oil topped crème fraiche. Sided by thick, homemade potato chips, it's a refined rendition of chips and dip.
Molten and glorious, the warm Brie on Toast ($18) features a wheel of soft cheese on grilled sourdough bread that's been griddled until crispy and golden on one side, then drizzled with citrus honey and balsamic.
Other nibbles included a snack-sized platter of Iberico Charcuterie ($22) which features premium versions of chorizo, black pepper salchichon (summer sausage), and lomo (pork loin) that’s excellent enjoyed with a glass of wine from a seat by the fireplace.
Forget bar nuts when you have meaty and moreish Halloumi & ‘Nduja Stuffed Olives ($14). It’s a perfect pair with the uber-dangerous Ace Martini.
Textbook-perfect French Fries ($8) come with a side of aioli.
More than a cool space to chill or hang out in, Evangeline also is a community hot spot for arts and culture.
There's an art gallery featuring rotating works from Canadian artists, and programming that features public events partnered with local DJs, record labels, and dance party producers that are constantly updated on the hotel’s Going On page.
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 5 P.M. to 1 A.M., Evangeline operates on a first-come, first-served basis.