Toronto’s seasonal pop-up bar is back this year and is located inside the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Downtown Toronto! It is only here until December 17th and it is very popular, it is open Thursday to Sunday from 5-11pm. If you are planning to go, get there as early as possible, the bar area is very small, it’s walk-in only and can only fit a maximum of 26 people at a time and the line gets very long, very quickly. We waited a long while to get into the bar area, the nice thing is that it is inside the hotel, and is located on the second floor, so you are waiting inside and away from the door and majority of the people that are visiting the other restaurants and bars!
PRO TIP: While you’re waiting in line to get into The Thirsty Elf, get a few drinks, like water or soda from the downstairs bar and have something to sip on while you wait!
Once you do get to the front of the line, the host and hostess will offer complimentary coat check and they will take your name to keep a track of the time limit your group has. There is a maximum 1 hour limit, but the service is quick! Once you are seated you can really take in the decor and get in the Christmas spirit! It’s a little dark inside but has ornaments hanging from the ceiling, so much Christmas decor and non-stop holiday music!
Most of the employees were wearing Christmas sweaters, and they were all so friendly, even though they were busy the staff were always willing to stop and help us take a photo at their photo ops! When we got seated, there was some Holiday themed popcorn at the table, it was coated in green and red and had candy cane/peppermint flavour! This was a nice surprise and was something tasty to snack on while deciding which cocktails we wanted. There is a crafted list of cocktails available, we got the Gin-gle All The Way, which was served in an adorable glass Christmas ornament, it had pomegranate, lime, roku gin, rosemary and cardamom. It was small but concentrated, it was really tasty!
We also got The Naughty List, which was served in a Santa mug, and had cranberry, lime, ginger beer, northern keep vodka, and was topped with a spring of mint and a cinnamon stick! This was a great light drink, it was my favourite and was definitely a palatable drink for anyone!
Next, we got the Milk & Cookies drink, this include Horchata (rice milk, vanilla, cinnamon) bowmore 12 scotch, hornitos blanco tequila and a chocolate chip cookie on top, this is a very strong and bitter drink, be sure to use the sweetness of the cookie as the balancing element of this drink! The last drink we got was the Christmoose Vacation, this was served in the cutest moose shaped mug, it had a similar texture to egg nog, it included cream, demerara, maker’s mark bourbon, Irish cream, bitters and nutmeg. This was good, but it was a bit too heavy and wasn’t cold enough for my liking!
This is a 19+ bar, but those opting to have a non-alcoholic drink, there are a few options for you as well! There is Be Good For Goodness Sake, with pomegranate, rosemary, lime, ginger beer and seedlip. There is also The Nice List, that has apple cider, spent citrus, cinnamon, soda and seedlip! I had a great time, and for me it was an experience. I’m not too sure that I would do it again due to the incredibly long line up and wait time but as a one time experience, I would recommend it because it gets you in the holiday spirit. When you do visit be sure to also check out the gingerbread lane photo op and display! It is beautiful and made with actual gingerbread!
Location: 100 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J 1E3