As an event becomes more popular, you can’t keep it free forever. From its humble beginnings in February 2012 where every tweetup starts — a group of people from Twitter meeting up to go out and have a good time — After Work Drinks Toronto keeps raising the (wait for it) bar for events of its kind, building greater partnerships to make sure that anyone going can have an amazing time.
There’s only one way to start this post — I’ve never seen a tweetup get so full so quickly. By the time the event was an hour in, there were easily already 40-50 people in the bar area, ready to slake their thirsts with Mount Gay Silver Mojito cocktails (ridiculously addictive), Melville’s Craft Lager and Innis & Gunn beers and a decent selection of red and white wines!
Much like before, I volunteered my time and camera to Amanda and Graham because I believe in what they’re doing with After Work Drinks Toronto (or AWDTO for short). [Disclaimer: In return, they were kind enough to give me a free ticket, but that’s not why I offered my services in the first place.] Nothing worthwhile happens overnight, and through their hard work and diligence, AWDTO is really coming into its own. Each instalment continues to set the bar higher, and I hope we continue to see many more as we finally head into the summer!
The night went well — it was a mish-mash of food; drink, comments from our wonderful organizers (Amanda and Graham, as mentioned above) and sponsors (Mahit Lehang from First Choice Bartenders representing Melville’s Craft Lager and Innis & Gunn; representatives from Mount Gay Rum; and of course, Robin James Wynne, mixologist at Fynn’s Temple Bar); prize giveaways (none of which I won, don’t worry); caricatures (by Valerie White); music (by Matt Morgan and Craig Johnston of the Emerson Street Rhythm Band — at times accompanied by Joey deVilla); and just a lot of being social.
There was all sorts of activity going on, from discussion to dancing — if you looked out the corner of your eye, you could even see Christine helping run her weekly #RBchat Twitter chat at one of the tables! When you got in, you got an envelope containing tickets for beer sampling (of the Melville’s Fruit Beer — Innis & Gunn beer was on special for $5 a pint, though!), a Mount Gay Silver Mojito and wine; a raffle ticket; and a playing card to play in the Best Poker Hand Draw, where you’d team up with four other people to come up with the best poker hand for a prize (a clever icebreaker)! They also drew for the person who was best-dressed as voted by the crowd, with the winner going to the County in the City festival with a friend!
While not conducive to heavy foot traffic, the Fynn’s of Temple Bar definitely has all the makings of an excellent pub…
Food Was Amazing
If I wasn’t trying to take photos and mingle, I would’ve stolen plates of bacon-wrapped scallops, pulled pork taquitos and duck confit on tangy pineapple flatbread and sat in a corner all night stuffing my face. The apps were glorious, and my stomach wasn’t taking “no” for an answer! The full list of food was as follows:
- Duck confit on tangy pineapple flatbread
- Pulled pork taquitos
- Seared mahi mahi sliders
- Potato & kale croquettes
- Bacon-wrapped scallops with red pepper mayo
- Spicy pork dumplings
I only had time to try a Melville’s raspberry Craft Lager and a Mount Gay Silver Mojito (which, again, was utterly delicious and ridiculously addictive), but there was a ton being offered up that night:
- Mount Gay Silver Mojito (a strawberry basil peppered mojito)
- Beer samples: Innis & Gunn’s Melville’s Fruit Beers in strawberry, raspberry and ginger beer flavours
- Whites: Henry of Pelham Spring rivalry, Domain Faively Chablis, Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc, and Uma Torrontes
- Reds: Creekside Estates Shiraz, Torres Tempranillo, Pelham Catherine Cuvee Rose, Malivoire Ladybug Rose
The night’s entertainment were Matt Morgan and Craig Johnston of the Emerson Street Rhythm Band who were both talented and entertaining, doing a mix of crowd-pleasers (see Neil Diamonds “Sweet Caroline”, for example) and always making sure to interact with the crowd and keep the energy levels riding high! You can see some more details on the experience on Joey deVilla’s blog, who would accompany them for several songs later into the night!
Robin and his Fynn’s staff were amazing — all smiles and service as they made sure that gusts were well-fed and having a great time (I will not confirm whether the alcohol samples paid any contribution to the great time being had)!
I just missed the window to get one done, but Valerie White was super-talented, whipping up amazing profile drawings of various attendees in mere minutes for a pay-what-you-can donation to Dress for Success! Here’s some of the awesome that she whipped up:
What You Missed
— Graham Rowlands (@beachrockinc) April 25, 2013
In the end the event raised $383.45 for Dress for Success, and though I don’t know the specific turnout, from the photos and who I know was there, I’d guess a good 50 or so people in attendance, experiencing what AWDTO had to offer.
But that’s not what you missed.
What you really missed at After Work Drinks Toronto this time around was an opportunity to expand your social circles beyond what they are right now. The chance to meet people actually interested in exploring new things with you and not just out to give you excuses for why they can’t come (I heard of at least 2 groups of new friends going out for a bite after the event!) Events like AWDTO help remind us that we’re in control of our lives — in control of who we choose to hang around and what we choose to do with our time.
After Work Drinks Toronto reeks of possibility — so hopefully you make it out to the 9th instalment!
Change your life!
You can see more about the event at any of the links below.