Two bars in one, the front room of Queen West’s hidden gem PrettyUgly boasts a miniature, rainbow-hued mezcal stand where you can taste your way through tequila’s smokier, more festive cousin.
Past this, a quirky main bar with leather-topped stools and taxidermy birds could be the setting for a scene out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Coming from the same people behind Bar Raval, which marks the number 1 spot on Canada’s Best Bars list, it’s no surprise that PrettyUgly steals the show at number 8. Grant van Gameren and Robin Goodfellow have done it again! Contrary to the Spanish Art Nouveau flare that Raval has to offer, PrettyUgly’s focus remains on mezcal. The well-considered cocktail list also prominently features seasonal, house-made liqueurs and infusions. Friendly bartenders work hard to ensure that everyone feels welcome, stirring an array of non-alcoholic placebo cocktails that far surpass the standard cranberry and soda. We recommend the “supwitdat” — mezcal, dry vermouth, lime, cucumber, pretty fir liq, pine and salt. As for the common factor between the two bars? To die for food offerings that encompass the chill vibe of the location and won’t break the bank either. From chips and feta jalapeño dip to a potent marinade of chorizo con queso, PrettyUgly ensures that wherever there’s a good drink, there’s some good eats to go alongside it.
Pretty Ugly is No. 8 on our inaugural Canada’s Best Bars list
1237 Queen St. W Toronto