Toronto, ON – As the temperature drops, the Drake Hotel is giving you more than one reason to enjoy fall inside its four walls. What better way to ring in a new season than with eats, drinks,Hallo-Week celebrations and Nuit Blanche? Drake reveals its completely updated Lounge, the return of two popular fall feasts - Lobster Fest Sundays and Zombie Brunch - as well as two new installations by award-winning Canadian artists Jason McLean and Sarah Anne Johnson.
Renovated Drake Lounge: Open now Known as a home away from home by neighbours and hotel guests alike, Drake’s well-known Lounge has undergone a significant redesign while holding on to some of its most iconic features, including the walls featuring flocked velvet on Douglas fir, and the copper bar tops. The once separated Dining Room space is now part of an all encompassing main floor called the Lounge. Complete with striking attention to detail and varied textures, the new space has already received rave reviews, hosted notable events like the Polaris Prize after party andDrake’s TIFF opening night bash, and is an ideal spot to host intimate dinners, Wednesday night trivia, Après Work cocktails and Saturday night dance parties.
By joining the once distinct Dining Room and Lounge, the new space feels more cohesive and pulses with a unified energy. The geometric-patterned brass lighting fixtures designed byCommute Home add an intimate warm glow to the space, while casting beautiful star patterns onto the ceiling when illuminated. The new olive coloured leather booths curve around custom-made white marble tables, creating private nooks to enjoy Ted Corrado’s inspired new fall menu in, while being engulfed in the Lounge’s vibrant energy. Thinking of hosting a bash? Drake’s newly installed captain’s table or any of the comfortable booths make the Lounge your own vessel for a tucked away night to remember. Don’t forget to look down: after removing the carpet, the floors now reveal a newly polished century-old terrazzo.
Two new installations went up in the Lounge this summer, both by prominent young Canadian artists: Jason McLean and Sarah Anne Johnson, winner of the Grange Prize. On the raised Lounge, McLean’s piece is featured on the west wall. Storyboard-like tales of Toronto are depicted in a playful anecdotal manner, inspired by narratives from his friends, family and the media. Behind the Raw Bar, Johnson’s photo-based work is part of her recent Arctic Wonderland series, which features whimsical painted additions to Arctic photos. The gentle curve of the round wall, which hosts the piece, helps to accentuate the forms within the image.
“With the Drake rapidly expanding, I've thought a lot about the character of neighbourhoods, cities and different regions of the country. I wanted to present a contrast in how artists depict place - the personal, almost naïve wonderland that Jason created, as opposed to the more conceptual approach from Sarah Anne," notes Drake’s curator, Mia Nielsen.
To book a table or special event in Drake’s newly renovated space, call: 416.531.5042, ext. 1
Hallo-Week at the Drake Hotel: Saturday, October 26 to Thursday, October 31
Zombie Brunch: October 26, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Halloween weekend, nestled among the classic Drake brunch options, you’ll find some new menu items that will pop up and say a delicious ”BOO!” as the hotel zombifies brunch for the second year in a row. If you’re a fan of Drake’s Eggs Caleb (two poached eggs, smoked salmon, arugula, toasted English muffin, hollandaise and home fries, $14.50) and your hangover’s left you feeling like Frankenstein, try the Brains + Eggs Skillet (fried pork brain, poached eggs, spicy tomato with grilled miche, $13.13) or the Not Actual Brain Skillet (mac and cheese with tomato, poached eggs and black beans, $13.13). Either devastating dish pairs excellently with Smokin’ Bloody Caesar (2 oz. vodka, Clamato juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and spooky smoke, $10.666). If you’re a ghost on the go, stop by for a to-go selection of ghoulish treats and baked goods available in the Drake Café.
Jack-o-Slice - pumpkin carving for charity: October 31, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Drake believes in helping its neighbours, so this Halloween, check out the sundown pumpkin carving smackdown to support Second Harvest Food Bank. A group of Toronto’s most talented sushi chefs will put their knife carving skills to the test in a legume battle royale to see who can come up with the most innovative and creative jack-o-lantern. Who will reign supreme - the chefs from Drake, Blowfish or Kanji? Guests vote by making donations to each chef in dollar increments; one dollar equals one vote. A cash prize will be awarded by Drake to the winning chef, as well as a matching donation to Second Harvest. All audience votes will also be donated. Feel like having some eats while you watch the masters slice and dice? Give Drake a call to book your table: 416.531.5042.
Halloween House Party: October 31, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., $10 Hey, ghouls and gals: this Halloween, Drake is hosting a frightfully fun costume competition and bringing back the famed house party bash to your Thursday night. In the Lounge, enjoy the sounds of Diggy the DJ while sipping on spooky cocktails. Before the clock strikes midnight, the crowd will decide who walks away with the $500 prize for best costume. To enter the contest and join the fun, simply head to Drake dressed to impress. Are you ready for the completely exaggerated Halloween décor? Let’s just say that Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Amityville Horror house have nothing on this spread. Freshly carved Jack-o-Lanterns from Drake’s charity event (mentioned above) will fill the space, adding some traditional symbols to fright night. Drake believes that no one is too old to trick-or-treat; come by to experience Halloween characters wandering throughout the building giving out candy and performing tricks.
Nuit Blanche: Saturday, October 5, sunset to sunrise, FREE For the eighth year in a row, the Drake Hotel will proudly participate in Nuit Blanche as an official Independent Project. Enjoy a sleepless night filled with art, music and stunning video projections. This year, Postcards from the Future will mesmerize you inside and outside the building. On the façade, Alex McLeod’s video projection expands on his iconic digital landscapes and environments, in an installation on the front of the building. Take a step back and watch as these fanciful landscapes evolve over the course of the night. The Lobby will feature Jesse Harris’ text-based work, which will be the first ceiling installation in Drake’s history. The letters, which will appear to drip from overhead, will read: I wish I were what I was when I wished I were what I am. Upon entering the lounge, Keith Jones will be live-drawing, giving guests the chance to walk away with a one-of-a-kind piece of art. Continue to explore Nuit Blanche within Drake’s Lounge: Tristram Lansdowne’s 55-foot-long piece will mark another first, as the longest artwork to ever be shown in the building.
Connecting the old to the new, Drake’s first-ever stand-alone restaurant, Drake One Fifty(which opened October 2 in Toronto’s Financial District), will also have McLeod's video projection on loop, as well as magician David Cosgrove on-site. There’s nothing white rabbit or girl-in-half about this act though. A special limited-edition run of Art For You will be split between the two Drake locations. For full Nuit Blanche details, click here.
Lobster Fest Sundays: begins October 20, 7 p.m., $36.95 Time to reconsider the lobster? Back by popular demand, Lobster Fest Sundays return for a fall feast fit for East Coast kings and queens. Beginning October 20, reserve a seat in the newly renovated Lounge for a full spread including a one-pound lobster, roasted root vegetables, coleslaw, smoked potato salad, a jalapeño cheddar biscuit, Drake’s deliciousflourless chocolate cake and a pint of Mill St. Organic Lager (can’t leave your whistle dry). Why not host your first mates and book your Maritime feast at Drake’s captain’s table? Available exclusively through Drake’s Special Event team, give them a call to reserve your spot today: 416.531.5042 ext. 1.
The Drake Hotel is located at 1150 Queen St. W. (between Dovercourt and Dufferin streets).