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The Pro Files – Sam Dobie

For the first in what I hope to make a monthly series (tentatively titled Industry Night), I asked “Tall Fella at The Gaslight”, Sam Dobie to take me to three of his favourite bars in the city to sample his favourite drinks at each. He’s been in the industry in one way or another since he was 14, so knows his way around this town’s bar scene.

First up was a visit to Food & Liquor for Nigel French’s perfect daiquiris. The difference with these is the use of Havana Club dark rum and Cointreau, giving the classic a balanced, honeyed sweetness. What Sam likes about the bar, besides its proximity to home, is its unpretentious comfort. And the daiquiris. He joked that we would have a daiquiri at every bar.

A quick stroll through Parkdale found us at Miss Thing’s, where Aaron Male was presiding behind the wood. The thing that draws Sam here is “shooting the shit with some of the best bartenders in the city”. Since the cocktail menu, overseen by Robin Wynne, is ever evolving, we both went with new items. Sam had the Mr. Guava Guava, featuring The Bruichladdich whisky, guava jam, pandas syrup and lime. Smoky, sweet and refreshing. My choice was the Nui Nalu (which translates to “big wave”), made with Mount Gay Eclipse Silver rum, kalani coconut liqueur, blue curaçao and coconut water. Not just a pretty drink, but that coconut water means it’s good for you!

Our third stop was for more Polynesian themed goodness just up the road at Shameful Tiki. Overseen by co-owner/bar manager (and future Industry Night feature), the delightful Alana Nogueda, Shameful is Sam’s on-the-record favourite bar in the city. With well-priced, boozy drinks served by informed and friendly staff, the bar provides the escapist entertainment Sam loves. And it doesn’t get much more entertaining than the presentation on The Voodoo Bowl. When you order this mezcal and rum concoction, a booming voice announces its arrival over the sound system, dry ice smoke swirls through the room and a flaming porcelain cauldron of booze is presented with straws for sharing. As boozy as it is, the VB goes down easy.

After all that fun and libations, and despite both of us suffering summer colds, neither of us wanted the night to end, so we met up with fellow Gaslighter, James Astley, at Amico’s Pizza. Open until 4 am, the Parkdale staple has been open since 1978 and is a favourite of hospitality industry folks for post-shift eats and drinks. Owner Frank, gregarious and friendly, may also be a reason the place is loved. It was a hell of a way to end the night…

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