Souz Dal's new location has been open for about a month, and is located just a few doors down from its old haunt in Little Italy . The move was prompted by their lease expiring, and it's now sharing real estate with its sister bar Sutra Tiki Bar . As it turns out, they've retained some of the stranger accents.
Souz Dal is the mullet of bars--business in the front, fun in the back. The small front patio spills into the bar, which has carried over the original location's dark atmosphere. Inside, you'll find a mix of wood, brick and a scatter of moody, womb-like red lighting that's instantly comfortable. The washrooms are self-contained--complete with sinks--and unisex, and you can choose to take a seat at the long, narrow bar or at the few tables by the DJ booth in the back.
Venture to the back, and you'll find Sutra Tiki Bar's piece de resistance--a large outdoor tiki bar with many tables that's set on a makeshift sandy beach. There are straw hatch roofs and a tacky, boldly coloured painting of a volcano on the wall. My instant spoilsport response is that the whole thing is a weird addition to Souz Dal's moodiness, and I opt to sit at the bar, but it affords me a vantage of the streams of high-heeled girls who instantly file past me towards the back. It would seem that Souz Dal's owner planned it well.
The drink menu is heavily weighed towards classics. There are (minimum) 2 oz. cocktails ($7.75) that range from mojito, to old-fashioned, to negroni. The martinis come in at the same price and similar alcohol content, and include Chambord Royale (vodka, chambord, and pineapple) or the Soho (vodka, lychee, and lemonade), and they also have spirits and liqueurs, including absinthe.
I opt for the Jolly Rancher, a fluorescent pink concoction that mixes vodka, sour raspberry, and lemonade. It comes topped with a skewer of Cherry Blasters. My boyfriend orders a Manhattan, then a Delirium ($7.50 on tap), which he deems akin to cheese in both complexity for its earthy undertones.
As for bottles, you'll find Duggans #9, Tiger, and Mad Tom IPA, and other, more standard offerings, as well as tall boys, ciders, and a wine list that includes the Argentinian Misterio Malbec at $6.65 a glass. It's an unexpectedly flavorful wine, but difficult to justify as for just $2 more, you can buy the bottle at the nearby LCBO.
The back of the menu features Tiki grogs--a mix of tropical cocktails ($7.75) and the Volcano for 2 ($19.50). I try the Suffering Bastard (gin, brandy, ginger beer, and lime) and it arrives in a fake coconut shell, complete with tiny paper umbrella. It's a slightly unbalanced drink, with the expected bite of the ginger beer somehow diluted.
During a lull, the bartender takes a seat behind the bar and lazily strums his acoustic guitar, then gamely fields questions about the menu from a wave of clientele that looks suspiciously like U of T students. The music is an interesting mix of indie tunes and pop hits, and several Queens of the Stone Age tracks repeat during the hour or so we're there.
Still, there's something enticing about the space--from the dim lighting, to the out-of-place tiki touches, to the shot glass full of Cherry Blasters that the bartender smilingly sets down in front of me after I polish off my skewer.