Living Room and the Yard: The vibe
Lobby bars tend to get a bad rap. Seen as transient spaces for out-of-towners, they can often be devoid of character or charm. But at the W Toronto hotel, the Living Room, and its adjoining patio the Yard, is different. Bright pops of red, orange and yellow decorate the art-filled lounge, while a gold glowing circular bar draws guests in. Fun touches like a champagne vending machine add a bit of whimsy to the space.
Outside, the aptly named Yard is a courtyard nestled between the towering skyscrapers of Yorkville. Flanked by greenery, sipping cocktails on couches, it feels more like a friend’s back patio or condo terrace than a luxury hotel.
Living Room and the Yard: What’s on the menu
Themed after Toronto’s different cultural pockets, the menu of snack-sized, shareable bites offers guests a taste of the city’s incredibly diverse culinary scene. Sure, eating tacos in a hotel isn’t the same as actually walking the streets of Kensington Market and stopping in at one of the area’s excellent taco places, but I think it’s a cute homage to our city, its neighbourhoods and its people.
We snack on mild but flavourful jerk chicken skewers that rep Little Jamaica, munch on a refreshing tomato and watermelon salad that’s inspired by Greektown, and chomp down fried prawns — served with the tails on, as many cultures like to enjoy them. When I come to Living Room or the Yard, I will never not order the addictively cheesy and crispy croquettes (Little Italy). The juicy, fall-off-the-bone barbecue lamb ribs are another standout. I could wolf down two orders of them without batting an eye.
Living Room and the Yard: What’s on the drink menu
There’s a nice mix of Old and New World imports available by the glass or bottle, and a few beers on tap or by the bottle. But the cocktails are the real showstoppers. They’re as Instagram-worthy as they are delicious.
The Flower Power is a floral, fruity concoction that comes served in a mind-boggling orb full of smoke and edible flowers. With grapefruit gin, lavender, lemon and prosecco, it’s a beauty and an easy-drinker. For something a little more interesting on the palate, About Last Night is a green serve that gets its colour from matcha powder mixed with coconut purée, lime and tequila. A shredded coconut rim adds a bit of texture to this wellness-esque cocktail.
Snacks and drinks for two: Around $90 before tax and tip