"Le Tigre’s a lot softer. It’s more of a catalogue look,” squints Ben Stiller in the 2001 comedy classic, Zoolander. Whether or not that line is what inspired the name of a new cocktail bar in Rosedale is up for debate, I learn — but either way, the description fits.

While sister Toronto bar Cry Baby Gallery is moody and mysterious, Le Tigre is cozy and charming. Humid pink walls glow under rosy ceiling lights; frosted martini glasses return from guests’ lips with a clink on the quartz bar; the soundtrack is disco, French electro and all the Rick James the doctor could ever order. Jungle cat statues prowl in the shadows, ready to pounce.

Both bars are co-owned by Rob Granicolo and Stephen Gouzopoulos. They knew their next spot after Cry Baby was going to be something different, but Le Tigre’s concept didn’t materialize until Granicolo spent a few fateful days bar-hopping in London’s Mayfair.

The Le Tigre team: Bartender Keevan Robertson, co-owner Stephen Gouzopoulos, beverage director Andrew Foster, co-owner Rob Granicolo

Granicolo is proud of all the show-stopping martinis on the menu. “She’s a big player in the world of cocktails again,” he gushes of the tipple. Le Tigre tweaks the classics with a few new bells and whistles; the lychee swaps vodka for Casamigos, uses lychee-infused agave instead of syrup and adds a delicate skeleton leaf. The Alaska twists its 100-year-old namesake into something more seductive, with crème de cacao and bianco vermouth.

Expect brilliance in the house cocktails, too. Miss Cleo is a peppy french 75 with cantaloupe, lemon and ginger; the Bahama Mama is a riff on a classic tiki drink with silky macadamia orgeat and a house rum blend.

The menu is riddled with cheeky references. The Señor Spielbergo will amuse those fluent in The Simpson’s lore, and it’s a challenge to order the Ashley Madison with a straight face. “That’s such a good name,” chortles Granicolo.

Le Tigre is upscale, but that doesn’t stop Granicolo and Gouzopoulos from cracking wise and not taking things too seriously. Bars are supposed to be fun first, after all.

Le Tigre's cocktails

Dirty Martini at Le Tigre cocktail bar in Toronto
Basic Instinct cocktail at Le Tigre cocktail bar in Toronto
Ashley Madison at Le Tigre cocktail bar in Toronto

Watermelon sake horchata

  • Ingredients

¾ oz watermelon syrup (2:1 watermelon juice and simple syrup)

1 ¼ oz sake horchata

  • Sake Horchata

1 cup rice

17 oz sake

1 cinnamon stick

  • Method
  1. Toast rice and cinnamon. Steep for 12 hours in the sake.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and blend.
  3. Strain the blended mixture through a cheesecloth.

This gin and sake-soaked take on the classic mai tai is brightened up with watermelon and Sicilian blood orange for pure vacation vibes.


  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • ½ oz Amara blood orange liqueur
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz watermelon sake horchata

Ashley Madison method

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with a few small ice cubes.
  2. Briefly whip shake (shake until ice cubes melt) and strain into a tiki glass.
  3. Top with crushed ice, then garnish with a mint sprig, orchid flower and skewered orange twist.