A below-ground speakeasy style bar with antique furniture, alluring cocktails and waitresses, this is heaven for the casual imbiber with a taste for the unusual.
The fun starts when you arrive at the address and try to find the entrance to Betty Lou's. A quick search inside the Devenish Building leads to a roped off area in the basement with a table and an antique candlestick telephone. To gain admittance you dial through on the phone and say the literary password – ours was 'Hamlet' – which you're given on making a reservation. Only then does the 'bookcase' open and you're welcomed into the bar.
Once inside, you're shown to your seats – velvet-covered sofas, rosewood chairs inlaid with mother-of-pearl and old-fashioned armchairs – by a black-clad, booted waitress. Crystal chandeliers, Tiffany-style lamps, wood panelling and lounge jazz music add to the impression you've stepped into a 1920s speakeasy.
Two of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Bibliography' at Betty Lou's Library
The cocktail menu includes F.Scott Fitzgerald's 'Bibliography' – four different takes on a gin and tonic, each named after one of his books. We tried 'This Side of Paradise' and 'A Diamond as Big as The Ritz'. There are another seven feature cocktails including 'Virginia Woolf', 'George Sand' and 'Dorothy Parker', ranging in price from C$13 to C$17. Nibbles are available and any other cocktail you care to try, as well as wines, spirits and beers.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm until late, Betty Lou's Library is located in the Devenish Building, accessible from 16th and 17th Avenue, in the heart of the restaurant district. Booking is advisable. Enjoy!