Montauk opened this week near the slowly blossoming corner of Dundas and Bathurst. Joining illustrious neighbours Bent , Porchetta & Co. , L'Ouvrier , and Campagnolo , Dustin Keating's new hangout aims to bring some cocktail clout to the equation, even if Jen Agg's aptly named Cocktail Bar is only a five minute walk away.
With the anticipated openings of Queen Margherita Pizza , Studio Bar (824 Dundas W), and whatever's happening behind the brown paper at the former Palmerston Cafe all within spitting distance too, one can understand the anticipation of some quality foot traffic in the foreseeable future.
Enlisting Reposado's Megan Jones to develop a refined cocktail list, plans are afoot for guest bartenders to step in each week and write their own special menu. Dustin explains that he aims to keep cocktails as affordable as possible. Four beer taps will complement a selection of cans and bottles, alongside an exclusively local wine program with featured wines each month.
The interior has all been painstakingly hand-built by Keating himself, with a neo-industrial feel. Reclaimed piping holds most of the lighting fixtures (exposed bulbs punctuate the space like stars), and a mezzanine level stage towers high over the floor, playing host to DJs and bands playing a mixture of classic and indie rock, or hip-hop.
The name is taken from the iconic surf-spot in NY, that Keating, a former travel-writer and surfer, declares with some regret is one of the few spots he's never been to.
Currently in a "soft-opening" phase, it's hard to get a true impression of the place, as much of the plans are still to be put into action. It's definitely a refreshing and stylish change from the watering holes that currently serve the immediate area. If the crowd on the night we visited is anything to go by, then it'll be populated mostly by restaurant industry types and cocktail geeks, which is no bad thing.
Though it doesn't have a kitchen, a few home-made snacks are on offer. Different jerkies, including beef and salmon, accompany house-made wasabi peas and soft pretzels. The soft opening had Megan's delicious signature cocktails for only $8. A blend of gin, maraschino liquor, grapefruit juice and homemade raspberry syrup. If that kind of pricing stays in place, I can imagine Montauk will have no problem filling its seats every night.
In truth, Montauk is too small to become a packed-out party spot, but it looks like a welcome addition to a neighbourhood in need of a place to get a decent drink. Combined with Dustin's charm, and a warm atmosphere, I'm sure this place will become a frequent stop for people venturing looking to combine hard booze and live music.