You join me in one of the smallest table service bars in Kingston as I sit contemplating one of the biggest pieces of grit in life’s pearly oyster, which is to say consequences. For if my job has taught me anything, it is this: certain ingredients can deliver as much of a kick coming out as they did going in. I’ve been warned of the deadly intriguing peppery cocktails -that’s currently having a moment- all with the instruction to put the wet wipes in the fridge overnight. I am wishing now that I had recalled the advice a good 12 hours earlier.

And yet I do not regret a second of my time at Oak Wine Bar and Cocktail Lounge. It’s a small space, with an inviting neighborhoodly staff. Some drinking experiences reveal their virtues like courtroom dramas, the evidence in support of the case building slowly. Others are like romances, the true loving emotion presenting itself in gentle, soothing waves. Drinks + Snacks at Oak is neither of these. It’s a slow dreamy drama original you’d find on Netflix, perhaps under “other’.

With a few outdoor seats available, Oak, upstairs Fromage on Hillcrest is a dream for the smoke friendly. Hillcrest is known for it’s relaxed and no-fuss environment. Tea Tree made it cool, Fromage made it sexy. So what’s Oak’s contribution? How about the perfect back room style saloon ideal for early night caps and tapas? Based on conversations with friends and friends of friends, -within the circles- Oak seems to be an unembarrassed celebration of a certain unforced luxury and I concur.


What I had

Calimari Fritti: Good bite, not too seafoody.

Crispy Chicken Sliders: Not very crispy but still yummy.

Chicken Pot Stickers: Best of the bites for sure!

Firecracker Spring Rolls: Good crunch and great flavours.

Spicy Cocktail: Very spicy, very delicious!

Champagne Cocktail: As luxurious saying it as tasting it.

Moscow Mule: Great mule int he right cup!

Lychee Martini: Divine.

Roscato: A fun twist on a sweet red.







"Some drinking experiences reveal their virtues like courtroom dramas,                   the evidence in support of the case building slowly"

                                                Rashade St Patrick | Good Eats: Oak Wine Bar

Oak Wine bar and Cocktail Lounge is far too nice to be polarizing, but it won’t be everybody’s cold glass of milk. Diners from the Instagram generation might want more crunch, more adventure or more spontaneity. I hope that as it settles into its place among all the other new and swanky spots, it gets a little less demure. But even now, it has a combination of energy and well-honed familiarity that’s rare in Kingston. It’s rare anywhere, and it lifts this bar above fashion, to a plateau that it occupies all by itself… drinkers invited.