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Pantages Martini Bar
200 Victoria St.
Ambience: While the Pulse is loathe to delve into the world of the hotel martini bar, the highly-stylized watering hole at the Pantages deserves mention for a few reasons. First, the venue is part of Toronto nightclub impresario Charles Khabouth’s ever-expanding empire — meaning no expense has been spared on decor, and that the place tends to be frequented by those with influence in their respective professional milieus. Second, it’s steadily picked up steam and is almost always packed with private parties or those-in-the-know who venture off Yonge Street and around the corner to lounge in the ultra-funky mix of bar and "library" space, where the clientele can recline on earth tone couches or cut deals over ice-cold martinis.
Crowd: They tend to be slightly more mature-besides regulars, business travellers who stay in the hotel above also make the bar their temporary home — with an eye for marrying the aesthetics of a well-mixed cocktail with that of a soothing space appropriate for whatever business, casual or professional, draws them out.
Dress Code: There’s no firm dress code, but most dress to impress to a degree.
Should I dance on the bar?: leave the dancing for the Canon Theatre next door.
Will I get lucky?: There’s a hotel above, so you never know, but don’t pack an overnight bag just yet. Most are here to lounge and chat, not score.
Best accessory: Comfortable designer wear.
Cocktail du jour: Not surprisingly, the martini is the choice libation and there are several signature blends on offer. The wine list by the glass is sufficient, but the selection behind the bar is relatively limited, so those searching for a rare scotch, for example, should look elsewhere.
Hours: Open daily 4 p.m. until close.