the drake hotel in toronto has a history that goes as far back as 1890, but it wasn't until jeff stober bought the place in 2001 and initiated a drastic renovation scheme, that it became one of the city's most happening places where to wine, dine, and of course, stay the night. stober created a boutique hospitality formula that fuses a laid-back, artsy setting with highly personalized service. the drake hotel as it is now boasts a number of buzzing facilities, such as the corner café + bistro, gig venue underground and the rooftop sky yard, that have become destinations in their own right and collectively have driven the gentrification of an entire neighbourhood along the way.
almost ten years on, stober has opened a standalone restaurant called drake one fifty, a few blocks east in the city's financial district. although located in an 1980s building, the restaurant seats 175 guests and oozes the same vibe as stober's hailed hotel. drake one fifty is his take on a canadian brasserie tavern, and similarly pairs the aesthetic from bygone eras - or vintage style if you will - with hints of modern art. created by swedish interior designer martin brudnizki, highlights of the setting include the oval marble bar, a true eyecatcher, and a custom-built wooden pergola designed by the famed brothers dressler, a mixture of post-modern leather booths, steel-framed windows and a rather striking floor of geometric moroccan tiles.
as for the artsy bit, currently on display are site-specific installations by douglas coupland and micah lexier to name a few. drake one fifty also features the hotel's popular artist-in-residence program, a small performance and dj space. but don't let the cool and laid-back vibe fool you as this place aims for the very best and has a menu that proves just that. executive chef ted corrado has listed unique dishes that have been created especially for the restaurant, in addition to signature items from the café back at the drake hotel. it's all about classic cuisine with plenty of modern twists. the food is matched with an award-winning cocktail program, premium draught beers and a carefully curated list of fine wines. location: 150 york street [financial district].