New Openings: Door FiftyFive
Door FiftyFive is Sauga's very first speakeasy-style bar and one we've been anticipating for months since the old Harp Restaurant & Pub shut its doors for good (RIP Harp). While speakeasy bars are a thing of the past requiring passwords or secret handshakes to get in, they have made a comeback (similarly to how fashion is recycled) with slight adjustments to create a fresh new take on what was.
Today's Speakeasy bars salute the Prohibition Era (1920 to 1933), when bootlegging alcohol was the norm and illegal underground establishments selling illegal alcohol and offensive cocktails - most of which were homemade using declasse ingredients and added mixes such as fruit juice, grenadine, egg whites, mint and honey to mask the putrid taste of bathtub gin (gin literally made in a bathtub) or moonshine liquor (high-proof distilled spirit made with questionable and sometimes poisonous ingredients) -- were in vogue. Thankfully, alcohol production and consumption is now legal for most of us (depending on how old you are) and we don't have to worry about poisonous alcohol or dirty gin.
Door FiftyFive is finally set to open this weekend. However, they have already opened their doors to serve family, friends and walk-ins in an effort to work out the inevitable kinks involved in every new restaurant opening.
Get ready to be amazed. Every aspect of this place -- including the space and menu -- has been designed with the utmost thought to detail. When you walk in, you'll notice wood beams throughout the space, reclaimed tobacco sticks (wood sticks used back in the day to dry tobacco), old whiskey barrels, Edison bulbs (light bulbs from 1920s that lit the way through the underground tunnels used for bootlegging), a wall of hot sauce, awall of beer labels and an artist-designed wall of books.
A whiskey and bourbon heaven is also located in the back of the restaurant. The resto displays their vast selection of spirits in a 'mini tunnel' made from old barn wood (circa 1830) that "pays homage to the old (secret) tunnels that would be used to run booze back and forth from one place to another," according to Executive Chef Tiago Pablo. Guests are escorted into the tunnel to view Door FiftyFive's selection of fine spirits to choose their 'poison' for the evening.
Door FiftyFive Front Men: Executive chef Tiago Pablo and bar chef Michael Long
Unique for: The first and only whiskey and bourbon bar with a 1920s Prohibition Era (speakeasy bar) theme in Mississauga.
Drink Menu: Bar Chef Michael Long (also known as Mikey) is a self-taught mixologist who spent his time studying, researching and practicing the theoretical aspects of true classic and modernist cocktail-making after hours during his time as a restaurant chain bartender. He has drawn his inspiration from internationally known mixologist Frankie Solarik, co-owner of Furlough and BarChef Toronto, which made the Top Seven New and Innovative Bars in the World list in Food and Wine Magazine as well as a number of other best bar lists.
The cocktail menu is a "balance between the best of the pre-prohibition era cocktails - the height of cocktails, jazz and men’s fashion - staying true to those recipes which most people don’t know about but are learning to love, mixed with modernist versions of classic cocktails with modern spins like making your own ingredients and cocktails and pushing the boundaries of bartending," he says.
The restaurant's menu is 95 per cent alcoholic beverages, featuring over 75 whiskeys, bourbons, ryes and scotches, modernist cocktails, classic cocktails, craft beer, white whiskeys and a small selection of wine. Long makes his own signature recipe of apricot bitters, dill bitters and an allspice dram (liqueur flavoured with allspice berries). Expect to find the highest quality ingredients, including Luxardo brand cherries, fresh herbs, organic and pesticide-free wood chips from SmokinLicious (for the smoking required in some of the cocktails and food). "If it's not something we can make in-house, we get the highest quality of that ingredient. The main motto here is we never sacrifice on quality; everything is fresh and made daily from the juice to herbs used. We have the best of each category for vodka, rum, bourbon, absinthe or liqueur," says Long. Door FiftyFive also carries the most expensive bottle of tequila in the market -- Clase Azul Ultra at a whopping $140 a shot.
Two booths at the resto feature self-serve Molson taps where you can pre-order the amount of beer for your table and self-serve as you wish in frosted beer mugs.
The Smoked Manhattan (as seen in cover shot above) is made with vanilla-infused bourbon, chai-infused red vermouth, house-made chocolate bitters and is smoked for two minutes using organic hickory wood chips and served with a sphere-shaped ice cube.
Food Menu: Executive chef Tiago Pablo is a Sauga boy who has worked every job imaginable at a number of restaurants in the city. "I wanted to learn every aspect of the industry," says Pablo, who has taken the culinary inspiration for his southern BBQ-style menu at Door FiftyFive from the African and Portuguese cuisine of his childhood and the summers spent in Spain and Portugal (a lot of those spices are infused into their BBQ dishes).
Although the food menu is only about five per cent of entire menu (there are only 13 items), you will find interesting takes on southern classics, such as chicken and waffles, Rub Me the Right Way beef brisket, Boars Gone Wild smoked sausage, bison chipotle frank, blackened shrimp and gumbo cheddar grits and the boss platter (BBQ sampler platter). All of meat is smoked with SmokinLicious' cherry wood and sugar maple wood chips, which "gives a nice sweetness to meat."
Chicken and Waffles
What's Up and Coming? Dessert such as a bourbon creme brulee, bourbon braised berry funnel cake with vanilla bean ice cream, live music including electro jazz.
Type: Full service restaurant
Patio: Yes, seats 16.