249 Victoria St.
Ambience: While the building has taken on many forms in its near 150-year history, The Senator — sister eatery to the legendary and long-defunct jazz club Top O’ The Senator — is one of downtown’s most beloved dining and drinking establishments, offering a warm atmosphere for a quiet beverage alone or for a few with friends. The post-Second World War décor is one of the main draws, but so too is the welcoming staff who recall their regulars’ orders without fail and take careful pride in every glass of chardonnay or premium beer they pour. While the diner draws most of its clientele from the surrounding neighbourhood and lures patrons of the nearby Canon Theatre who stop in for cocktails or a quick bite before performances, we should never underestimate the old venue’s potential as a worthy first date spot.
Crowd: Decidedly older given the heavy theatre patronage, but still good for a few laughs and a bit of boisterous fun on busier nights.
Dress code: There really is none to speak of, but with so many theatre aficionados paying a visit before shows, expect many evening guests to be sporting semi-formal and evening attire.
Should I dance on the bar?: It’s really not that type of place.
Will I get lucky?: Let’s be honest, there is zero chance of that happening.
Cocktail du jour: While beer and wine are the major sellers, it’s tempting to head straight for old-school cocktails such as the Old-Fashioned, the Manhattan or the Sidecar. Any top-shelf spirit ordered neat would also be an appropriate choice.
Evening hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.