499 King St. W.
Ambience: Tattoo Rock Parlour co-founders Nick Di Donato (Rosewater Supper Club) and Charles Khabouth (Ultra Supper Club) have partnered for yet another restaurant-bar extravaganza. This time it’s titled Spice Route and features an Asian theme with influences from China, Thailand, Japan and India. The décor is muted and appropriately trendy, the music is omnipresent but subtle, while the food and cocktail selection is creative enough to justify multiple visits. Then there is the large patio which will be the place to be seen this summer.
Crowd: Very corporate, particularly when the slightly more mature after-work clientele files in for drinks and dinner. The demo changes at night when Spice Route becomes more bar than restaurant, edging the average age down a few years. It’s no surprise that a certain amount of pretentious baggage follows this kind of crowd, but that’s to be expected with any new hot spot, especially one that caters to the higher end of the nightlife spectrum.
Dress code: There will be suits, there will be many suits. But there will also be plenty of people in jeans accented with untucked, striped dress shirts. There will also be women wearing as little as possible without getting arrested, trying to get those men in suits to buy them drinks — which all makes for great people watching.
Will I get lucky? You definitely stand a chance. Men on the prowl should just camp out at the bar and do a little financial self-promotion (ie, buy drinks for the opposite sex). Women should enjoy and insist on top-shelf liquors only.
Should I?dance on the bar? No amount of alcohol could justify that behaviour at Spice Route.
Best reason to pay a visit: If it means something to you, the satisfaction of walking into the office on Monday morning and bragging to your co-workers that you partied here over the weekend.
Cocktail du jour: Try the Red Dragon Martini or the delicious Zen-gria, their Asian spin on traditional sangria. Beyond that, imported Asian beers, cocktails and, of course, bottle service are de rigueur.