Sunday 11 September 2005

The Drake, Toronto, ON

From ~ Once a railway hostel on the edge of town, the Drake Hotel has undergone a $6 million facelift to transform it into one of the sleekest joints in town. Designed with the art lover in mind, the bohemian boutique hotel offers 19 refurbished rooms, a state-of-the-art underground performance space, a European-inspired lounge, a raw/sushi bar, a cozy neighbourhood cafe, a licensed rooftop patio and a yoga studio and spa treatment room.Rooms, including one suite, offer wireless internet access, flat screen television, phone, voicemail, alarm clock, CD player, in-room safe and queen size beds with down duvets. Non-smoking and air conditioned rooms.

History of The Drake:Daniel Small opened Small's Hotel in 1890 at 1150 Queen Street West, where the Drake now stands. At the time, the corner of Queen and Dufferin served as a hub of the Canadian Pacific Railway linking Downtown with the lakeside summer homes of Toronto's elite. In 1949, Michael Lundy purchased the property, renaming it The Drake, and made many of the improvements visible today, including a grand staircase in the lobby, and the addition of a large lounge and restaurant. By the 80s, The Drake had fallen upon hard times - at times a notorious punk bar, an all night rave den and come-by-chance flophouse. The current owner, Jeff Stober, purchased the property in late 2001 and undertook the extensive renovations that give the hotel its current form.

Around the corner from home is a trendy restaurant/bar called the Drake. It's an old hotel they restored last year and it's become quite an "in" spot. We've been wanting to check out the patio on the second floor ("Skypad") so stopped in.

It's an interesting patio, unlike any other I've been to. Instead of the usual tables and chairs, they have pillows, beds and daybeds. Hard not to get comfy!

When asked, the waitress said their mojitos are "kick ass". Gord, a true-Mojito lover since he discovered them in Cuba in December 2003, tried one and has put them as #1 on his mojito list. I had a couple glasses of bubbly.

It's not a cheap place by any means but worth it if you are going for a couple drinks in an trendy environment.

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