After Bar Reyna won a place in Yorkville’s heart, it only took Nicki Laborie a few years to open a second outpost of the Mediterranean cocktail and snack bar. And as the colder months stretch on, sister restaurant Reyna on King is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Between the lush greenery cascading from the ceiling, the menu of eclectic dishes like lamb baklava and eggplant tostadas; and cocktails that manager Nerissa Quinn describes as a “vacation in a glass,” the bar oozes tropical vibes.
Quinn spent two years slinging drinks at the original location, so she plays a major role in creating the bar’s complex cocktails.
“I think it’s fun. It’s kind of like you get cooking in the kitchen,” says Quinn. “Think Bill Nye the Science Guy, where you have all of these crazy things in your head that you want to put into a glass. But some of them turn out just awful – I’m mad at myself for even thinking about that concoction. Then sometimes it just needs a little tweaking.”
While the process might sound complicated, it’s often spontaneous. As a cocktail connoisseur and pro bartender, Quinn can think up a tipple in just a few hours. The Queen’s Absolution – our absolute favourite – came about in an afternoon.
“Originally it was supposed to be like a Mediterranean lemonade,” Quinn says. “I was just picturing a hot day somewhere on a beautiful patio out by the Mediterranean Sea, and somebody sitting cross legged, very fancy, shoulders out, sipping this lemonade.”
We might not be by the Med, but after the first drink, we were off to our happy place.