Souz Dal is a dark pocket of romance on the College Street strip. There's just something sexy about this bar, which is probably why it has a reputation for being a good date destination. Its candlelit confines, loud pounding beats and potent potables certainly don't hurt; anyone leaning in to speak is going to look better than they would on, say, the subway. It also has an ace location, nestled in at College and Grace since before College was cool, back in 1992.
The mixed drinks menu is robust. Dirty martinis and absinthe are particularly suited to the environment; caipirinhas, a Brazilian drink like rum with sugar and lime, is a house specialty. You'll find Mill Street Organic and Amsterdam Blonde on tap, plus a wide selection of sweet and sour martinis, cocktails and wine. There's no food, so hit one of the many restaurants on the strip before you go.
The drum-and-bass plays loudly for such a small space, but works and only makes for cozier conversation. I'm an old fart about loud music myself, but at Souz Dal it seems an appropriate and integral part of the evocative atmosphere.
Although the bar is named after the Russian city of Suzdal, you would be forgiven for thinking it Moroccan, with its red, tapestry-hung walls, coloured glass lanterns and copper-wrapped bar. A tin dome vaults the ceiling in the centre of the room. The room is small, with seating for about 25, but with good turnover - you won't have trouble finding a seat. Out back a small patio is enclosed on all sides by neighbouring buildings and feels very New York. It's also heated in the winter should you feel so inclined.
On a summer's night, Souz Dal's windows frame a lively and vivacious scene, filled with girls in vintage dresses, guys in black-rimmed glasses, and other College Street intelligentsia. Up until 8pm, you might pass under Souz Dal's copper globe signage and mistake its dark recesses for abandonment, but Souz Dal just sleeps deeply during the day. Come back after Happy Hour to experience what, in some opinions, is College Street's hippest offering.
Writing by Jessica McGann