sandy de almeida

Toronto bartending community devastated after sudden passing of Sandy De Almeida

A shockwave resonated through Toronto and beyond as the bartending community learned of the sudden passing of Sandy De Almeida.

Known for being resident bartender at The Drake and for her contributions to drinking culture in general as well as the strong personal impressions she made.

Many others in De Almeida's community have also posted about the loss on social media, expressing love for Sandy and sharing her recipe for her cocktail The Departed.

May Brand, owner of queer bar Sweaty Betty's, posted a heartfelt personal note about her years of experiences with De Almeida, including their time working together at the Gladstone and creating some of Toronto's most well-known queer parties.

"I knew and loved Sandy for over 20 years," Brand writes.

She concludes, "I hope you're free of pain now and finally reunited with your mom. I love you Sandy and will miss you forever."

The anticipated Dyke Night at Sweaty Betty's this Friday will still happen, but in "a different form," to mourn the "unexpected loss of our dear friend and absolute queer icon," reads a post on the bar's social media story

Other bartending communities and resources as well as bartenders posted about the loss as well, The Crafty Bartender writing, "I am heartbroken that I will never see this beautiful face again, never experience her fabulous hugs, to the entire bartending community of the world, not sure how we're going to get through this loss."

"The Canadian bar community has lost one of our brightest, realest members and we are absolutely heartbroken. Sandy De Almeida was an incredible human. The Toronto cocktail scene is what it is because of her," wrote Bartender Atlas, a worldwide directory of bartenders.

"It is hard to believe a world can exist without her."

blogTO's Luke Champion sat down with Sandy in 2012 for a profile on our Get to know a bartender series, when she was working at the Gladstone, among others. 

When asked how she handles a "rowdy drunk," Sandy explained:

"I find if you use terms of endearment, you can disarm someone pretty easily. At least that's true when it's coming from me. It would probably be different coming from a big, burly dude. But because there's not really anything all that threatening about me I feel like if I call them 'sweetheart,' I can generally talk them down — they just want to be loved."

If you or someone you know might be going through a difficult time, there are resources available. You can call Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566 or Toronto Distress Centres at 416-408-4357.

Lead photo by

Sandy De Almeida


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