You might've spotted the fluorescent orange garden gnomes as you walked past. West Queen West’s hipsterfication is spreading into the city's financial district, which may irk some folks, but let’s face it, this area was screaming out for a destination bar, and this is it.
The sibling venue of The Drake Hotel, the space is filled with pieces from Canadian artists, beautiful banquettes and comfy bar stools. There are nods to its big sibling in the photo booth and items from its General Store displayed behind a glass case, but the vibe is more relaxed. The extensive drinks menu can be daunting, but turn to the bartenders dressed in double denim for guidance. We drank The Departed, Basil Smash, and Brown Butter Maple-Old-Fashioned, and all were mega.
Thanks to the locals, Wednesday and Thursdays are popular with business folk flashing corporate cards, and Saturday nights are busy with a different crowd thanks to live music and DJ sets. Billed as “the Drake without the beds”, Drake One Fifty manages to nail it minus the pretense, which makes it a solid alternative.