Why head to the brand-new lobby of The Drake Hotel’s Modern Wing? To take in the gorgeous space, warm up by the fire, and grab a drink in the lobby bar, of course. Built for maximum coziness, the Modern Wing’s street-facing bôite is the place to meet and watch life on West Queen West flow by. But don’t just take it from us. We chatted with The Drake’s Beverage Manager and bartender extraordinaire Gord Hannah, who shared his favourite drinks, drinking companions and his (quite poetic) take on what makes lobby bars so special.
Hi Gord! What do you love about a good lobby bar?
GH: A good lobby bar is a trail marker. It’s a pit stop between adventures. It can mark the end of a successful day or the hopeful beginnings of a special night. It’s both a meeting place for old friends and a place to meet new contacts. It should be a quiet nook in a bustling building, the eye of the storm. A good lobby bar can be measured by the cast of characters that it attracts.
If you could grab a drink with anyone, who would it be?
GH: The Drake has been open for almost 18 years now, and I’ve been here for a lot that time. My favourite moments are when former staff come in for a visit. I do love meeting new people, but I will always choose to catch up with an old friend.
What’s your favourite cocktail to make during the holiday season, and why?
GH: I work in a hotel bar because I love the classics. Trends come and go, but an Old Fashioned is timeless. Holidays are important times to slow things down, savour the moment and put your feet up. A good Old Fashioned will last as long as the story you’re telling.
What’s the best part about working behind The Drake bar?
GH: Every night is different. We start as a café with breakfast, turn into a place for lunch, then into an after-work cocktail lounge. Then we host date nights and dinners with friends and family. Finally, we feature live music and late-night fun. That’s a Monday night. Working behind the bar, you see it all and you meet everyone!
Final question! Describe the Modern Wing’s new lobby bar in three words.
GH: Intimate. Comfortable. Local.