Designed to feel like a vintage hotel lobby set from a Wes Anderson movie, Bar Mordecai can feel just about as twee as its muse, with its resident hipster clientele and neon-signed basement karaoke rooms. What draws not just Instagrammers but also serious drinkers to this trendy stretch of Dundas Street West, though, might just be a reputation for community-building that extends beyond the bar. Bartender-owner Christina Veira – last year’s winner of the Roku Industry Icon Award – has made a name (and raised many thousands of dollars) with community events that support causes that are important to women, people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community.
Cocktails here are fun and focused, with drinks the Gold Dust Woman (beeswax-infused rye, honey, chamomile, orange bitters and a finishing sprinkle of sparkle) and Tame Impala (tequila, grapefruit soda and double lime) as symphonious as their musical namesakes. It also offers deeply satisfying carefully crafted riffs on classic cocktails, such as its Martini a la Mordy (available with a base spirit of your choice), which are just the sort of concoction that has made this bar beloved in and beyond its neighbourhood.