To find Laowai bar, swing by the Blnd Tger dumpling shop in Chinatown. Ask for #7 and, if you’re dressed appropriately (ballcaps, sweatpants and flip-flops are verboten), a freezer door will open to a luxe art deco–inspired space shimmering in gold and malachite. Browse bar manager Alex Black’s gorgeously illustrated menu of 12 Asian-inflected cocktails and soak up fascinating stories about the intersex crime lord, the libidinous emperor and other colourful characters that inspired them. Sip some baijiu — Laowai has Canada’s largest selection of the Chinese grain spirit. And be swept away by the illicit extravagance of 1920s-era Shanghai.
EASTERN JEWEL, A SPICY BAIJIU BIJOU INSPIRED BY YOSHIKO KAWASHIMA, THE EXILED CHINESE PRINCESS WHO GREW UP TO BE A CROSS-DRESSING JAPANESE SPY.
Photos: Ema Peter