By LAUREN MESSERVEY
Are you uninspired by your regular bar experience? Are you a horror fan who’s looking for something a little “extra” out of your event space for your next corporate event, birthday celebration, or meeting of minds? Look no further than The Black Lodge, Storm Crow Manor’s exceptional homage to two of horror’s most iconic entries: David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (sorry/not sorry, Stephen King: the venue is pretty specific to the film).
Modeled after the Overlook Hotel’s eerie, backlit bar, and the Black Lodge’s peculiar brand of “how do I even find my way out of these red curtains?,” the Black Lodge is perfect for any event where you want a unique atmosphere that caters to the Lynchian fever dreams that we’ve all experienced since the show’s inception in 1989. To find out what it was all about, Rue Morgue Executive Editor Andrea Subissati and I braved the winter elements to Storm Crow Manor for the official launch of the Black Lodge cocktail bar.
The perfect atmosphere
Although I’ve already touched upon just how fantastic the atmosphere is, the gracious humans at Storm Crow Manor always take requests. Spooky music, or perhaps Angelo Badalamenti’s psycho-soothing score? Coming right up! A group of bartenders dressed to the nines as Jack Torrance’s final harbinger into the abyss of alcoholic rage? Check! Occasional rolling wafts of smoke that appear and disappear as quickly as they’ve registered in your mind? They’ve got those too!
The best part about the Black Lodge experience is that it can be catered to whatever you and your group desires. Storm Crow owner Jason Kapalka and his staff are always excited to incorporate your group’s own spooky particulars, bringing your greatest nightmarish hallucinations into manifestations. There’s even a projector screen for extra delirium potential.
The “Mezterio”: Mezcal, pineapple, egg whites, lemon juice and Applewood smoke of confusion!
The best nibbles
As the event unfolded, we were treated to some delectable little snacks that would make Agent Dale Cooper temporarily forget his beloved cherry pie. Cucumber salmon tartare, chickpea fries, roasted walnut and cream cheese bites, and my personal favourite, Mac & Cheese balls, were brought over to us one by one, each more delicious than the last. There was something for everyone, a wide variety of snacks that just kept coming with eerie immediacy. It’s as if each snack simply appeared in front us by a magic of their own.
Of course, catered snacks depend upon the group, and vegan or vegetarian options are always available for those who request them. The entire menu is part of the experience, and we found that the staff were more than happy to comply with any specific requests we may have had (like more Mac & Cheese balls, please).
A damn fine cup of coffee (or Martini)
The drink menu was the highlight for me. We had our choice of five different cocktails, each a specific nod to the frightening and the absurd (“Release the Kraken,” a delightful concoction featuring Kraken rum that I found to be particularly aptly named was one such delicacy). True to the mystique of the atmosphere, each cocktail was carefully crafted to steam, bubble, and froth with a little extra intrigue as you prepared to take your first sip (spoiler: they’re all delightful).
One of my favourite aspects of cocktail crafting is that the bar staff is always trying new things. Are you looking for a cocktail that looks like a heart immersed in dry ice that pours out steam as the heart beats still within its glass prison? They’re developing that, you know. With the number of mad scientists they have on staff, you can bet that Jason and his crew are only beginning their journey towards creating and revolutionizing the strange and unusual cocktails of your dreams.
So, why aren’t you booking your event right now?
Seriously, why aren’t you? Andrea had such a fantastic time at the outset of The Black Lodge that we’re wondering why it’s taking you so long to book your next event at the best new themed cocktail bar in Toronto. Open for business on each weekend, your next event promises to be a journey into the beautiful and bizarre that will mark a night to remember. The exceptional staff, delicious fare, and attention to detail sucked me in instantly. I promise that you’ll find the same… that is, if you’re brave enough.
The Black Lodge is at 580 Church St in Toronto and is open Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to late.