We exist in a time of contradiction. We often speak about "being in the moment," yet we are also nostalgic for the days of yore (even if yore was well before our diapered years). Thankfully, East Thirty-Six in Toronto has both modern drink concoctions and a 1920s aesthetic. Seems they are just as torn as the rest of us.
Bar owners Julien and Devon Salomone have created an Old Hollywood vibe that works so well that you're a little disappointed that the world unfortunately is still in technicolor.
Julien at East Thirty-Six, working his drink magic — Photo courtesy of East Thirty-Six
Imagine a dark and moody establishment fit for long strands of cigarette smoke and impossibly coifed women. In today's day and age, dark and moody comes smoke free, but there are some sirens who sit by the bar, half expecting their big break to come after their next cocktail.
If you're going to dine, East Thirty-Six is a small plates restaurant with a French influence, and you won't be disappointed.
Devon gets our mouths watering with her description of the food that you must try (and an italicized must is a pretty big deal): "Smoked sweetbreads with treviso, poblano, pistachio and romesco sauce. A unique menu item, that if you are going to try anywhere, you need to try it here."
Pork Caillettes elevate pork to a whole new level — Photo courtesy of East Thirty-Six
If you prefer to keep your adventurous attitude in the bedroom and on the barstool, East Thirty-Six's cocktails will fit the bill. Julien used to be a competitive mixologist, and house-made tinctures and infused alcohols are displayed proudly in the dining room.
Who needs a Pinterest board when you just look around at your inventive alcohol glory? Recent infusions include pineapple- and chili-infused vodka and buttered walnut-infused bourbon, making for a drink that may be more memorable than your date.
If reading the cocktail menu is making your head spin far before you have reached your legal limit, Devon recommends the popular Smoked E36 Smoked Boulevardier.
The famous barrel-aged Smoke Boulevardier — Photo courtesy of East Thirty-Six
"We barrel age Maker's Mark Bourbon, Aperol and Lillet rouge. It is served in a coupe, garnished with a burnt orange twist and finished with a house-made smoke tincture."
If you don't know what half of those words are, you are in good company. Let's just say that she knows a lot more than the majority of us about making an excellent drink.
Open until 2 a.m. and serving food right until 1 a.m., East Thirty-Six is the bar to check out if you have had a jam-packed day in the city.
If you make time for an expertly crafted cocktail with a side of conversation, you will be living just as "they" did in the past: in the moment.
Drool-worthy scallops — Photo courtesy of East Thirty-Six