It’s not easy to pull off a Harry Potter-themed bar when you don’t have the creative license to do so. So, for what it’s worth, The Lockhart is more of a Harry Potter- inspired spot. The owners don’t want to step on any toes, after all. Bearing that in mind, I was still excited to visit The Lockhart in the west end of Toronto with some friends, and it didn’t disappoint.
Upon opening, The Lockhart is the spot that almost broke the internet, at least for Torontonians. It is a cocktail and tapas bar; a tiny spot at Dundas and Dufferin on the south side of the street. It’s dark and mysterious, surrounded by exposed brick and chalkboard walls.
While The Lockhart has to be careful with what kind of references and terminology they use inside, there are Harry Potter references everywhere, some hidden and some blatantly obvious. For those who don’t know, The Lockhart is named after Professor Lockhart, who was a one-term professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts. He was cocky, sneaky and obsessed with being famous. It’s a great bar name, and I like that it is named after one of the more irritable, yet funny, characters.
The mostly subtle Harry Potter bar decor includes a neon “all was well” sign (a famous line from the books), the infamous Patronus of a stag’s head, educational decrees (my favourite), Pop! dolls of Hagrid, Ron, Snape and Hermonie, and a hidden Deathly Hallows symbol—-look for it on one of the light fixtures!
The cocktails are phenomenal, and not just because of their clever names and varied ingredients. Once the bartenders grab the ingredients from the “Potions and Elixirs” wall, that’s when the real magic happens. The cocktails are well-thought-out, delicious, and go down quickly. Try the shared Befuddlement Draft: it arrives in flames, and the drinker is required to blow it out. It truly is quite magical.
While on some evenings there is a lineup to get in the door, my friends and I attended The Lockhart on a Wednesday night after a delectable dinner at Antler across the street, and we had no problem getting in. We walked right through the door and parked ourselves at the bar. It seemed that everyone was in a good mood while surrounded by Harry Potter-themed items and there was a buzz of energy in the air. At one point, two girls wearing HP t-shirts walked into the bar celebrating their nineteenth birthdays, so I obviously got into a nerdy conversation with them regarding what Hogwarts House they identify with the most (and like the owners of The Lockhart who are apparently Hufflepuff, I am too).
Bottom line: definitely check out The Lockhart. It’s different and kitschy, and while the bar can’t have as many HP references lining the walls as some of us fans may like, that also makes it a place where non-Harry Potter fans can enjoy themselves too. The decor is cool and subtle, and the cocktails are artfully done. Well done, fellow Hufflepuffs!