Years ago, when Frankie Solarik lived on an historic stretch of Queen St. W., he’d occasionally walk by one building in particular and envision it as the perfect cocktail bar.
“When I created the concept for Prequel & Co. Apothecary, by chance the space was available and I knew I had to have it,” Solarik says. “The beautiful, large front windows allowed us to capture the concept and tone with the apothecary perfectly with window displays from the exterior all the way to details of the interior.”
Housed in a three-storey, red brick building that dates back more than 100 years, Solarik, who also owns the premium cocktail spot BarChef, says that Prequel & Co. draws inspiration from apothecaries of the Art Nouveau era of Paris, from 1890 to 1910.
“We wanted to celebrate a term we created for the approach of building cocktails using the “Méthode Classique” approach,” Solarik says. This technique sees the extraction of fragrant aromas, achieved with muddling cast iron mortars, various botanicals, spices and herbs to order, in turn, creating amazingly complex, structurally sound compositions. The entrance of Prequel & Co. was designed to create a transportive and evocative reference of perspective as guests enter the space. “Tim Luke, the set designer of Netflix’s Drink Masters and myself discussed various inspiration drawings and images from authentic 1800’s Paris apothecaries, and he was able to capture the essence perfectly,” Solarik says. “The interior is all custom wood work with authentic vintage apothecary bottles that were used to create visual complexity and sustenance. Literally the perfect expression of what I had envisioned in my head.”
The cocktails are a nod to the ways in which ingredients and elixirs were prepared in the late 1800s, using fresh herbs, florals and liquors hand mixed in the moment. “Expect very defined flavours with amazing structural integrity,” Solarik says of the cocktails on offer. “The approach with muddling à la minute creates an amazing definition of each individual ingredient both aromatically and flavour wise.” The signature cocktail at Prequel & Co. is the Champagne & Absinthe which Solarik says “is incredibly refreshing yet beautifully complex. Definitely a best seller.”
The food menu, designed by Frankie Solarik Holdings Ltd. Culinary Director, Lionel Duke, along with Chef de Cuisine Teresa Pimental, features fun, delicious small French inspired shareable plates. Perfect for a late night snack or full meal, some of the dishes include steak tartare and escargot de bourgogne, chips and caviar, and even shrimp served with absinthe-infused cocktail sauce, which is an ideal pairing, with slight floral notes similar to the pairing of tarragon or fennel with tomato.
Since opening, Solarik says that the team has been incredibly busy, serving hundreds of cocktails each evening. Walk-in seatings are accommodated on a first come, first served basis, and reservations can be booked in advance online.
Prequel & Co. Apothecary is located at 1036 Queen St. W. and is open daily from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.