On Wednesday June 1st, over three hundred yelpers assembled at Queen St W and Spadina Ave to make Yelp history: Toronto's first party open to the entire Yelp community! With a simple click on the Yelp Events page, newbies and Yelp Elites alike got a ticket to Yelp's Magic 8 Ball in the fabulous and brand-spanking new Hotel Ocho.
Elites and VIPS arrived early to get the ball rolling with some complimentary cocktailing. Bourbonisto (is that a word?) extraordinaire Matt Jones regaled the crowd with an intimate Maker's Mark tasting. Payam Z not only thought it was educational, he might "send a personal thank you to the fine people of Maker's Mark." How polite!
Maker's was key to two of the night's seven signature drinks: the Chinatown Julep and Old Fashioned Streetcar. And the cocktails didn't stop there. Hot on everyone's lips were Bacon Vodka Caesars made with Mott's Clamato. What could be more Canadian! Those red hot bevvies took Patrick M way back: "it reminds me of my shameful childhood of snacking on synthetic bacon bits and sneaking vodka from the liquor cabinet." You're not alone, dude.
Did some say MOAR COCKTAILS? Brian K couldn't help but notice that "there were there some hot bartenders" at Ocho and they were mixing and muddling faster than you can say "Review of the Day." Russian Standard starred in Eight is Enough, which refrshed Anne B. "I've never had basil in a drink before, but now I think I'm hooked!" Hornitos Tequila anchored the very sassy Ocho You Didn't, and yelpers also got to try Hotel Ocho's signature cocktail —invented within their very walls: the Halfway to Christmas. It's Red Stag and Jim Beam with a cherry on top. That double-barreled potable will make anyone feel festive!
For yelpers that preferred their drinks unmixed, Amsterdam Beer rolled out their refreshing Oranje Weisse Bier, and Elaine K found her "new summer blackout beverage" in Palm Bay Spritz coolers. And for those already seeing octuple, VitaminWater was handy to keep guests healthful and hydrated.
Of course, yelpers need some substance to settle those booze-filled bellies. Ocho served up coconut shrimp, mini quiches, spring rolls and other delights served piping hot from their kitchen. For those in search of savoury snackage, the girls serving PopChips on platters was the answer. For Yvonne T the evening's highlight was the macarons provided by Butter Avenue, who previewed their sinfully sweet sensations for the Yelp crowd. "I can't wait until they open up for business!"
Putting the magic in Magic 8 Ball (literally) was Phil the Magic Guy. "Did you guys see the magician?" Steph L was entranced by Phil's legerdemain. For the arty amongst us: "the interactive canvas by PaintLounge was a fun and novel idea." Nisha S's "creative hands were itching to claim quite a few of the circles" on the board. And while Nicole H found "there was no shortage of fun stuff to do" her fave had to be the Snapz Photobooth. "I want one of these at every party I go to now, Yelp event or no!" And Ocho's rocking two-piece house band, Falcon, played a mélange of "I-can't-believe-they-just-played-that" tunes into the dark hours of the evening.
A very special thanks to all of our sponsors and volunteers as well as Paul Hillier Photography, Captain Printworks and the entire staff of Hotel Ocho: Amanda, Angelo, Chris, Collette, Esther, Jamal, owners Louise and Hamish and General Manager, Kenneth. You guys were more than on the ball, you rocked it!
And of course, much gratitude to the Toronto Yelp community for making our first open party truly memorable. Event pics are on the Yelp Flickr and photobooth pics are here. Stay tuned for more Yelp events happening this summer! See you then!
Toronto Community Manager