Out for a Friend’s Birthday

birthday celebration gifts and a cocktail

It was recently my friend Nyla's birthday and we went out to celebrate, along with our mutual friend Julie.

We had a reservation for dinner at 8 o'clock, at Carmen on Queen Street West. Nyla and I had been to this Spanish restaurant, specializing in tapas and paella, during the winter and had really liked it. (There's a post about it here.)

The plan was to meet on the corner near the restaurant, and then pick a place around there for a drink before dinner. That choice was made easy when Nyla's cab driver told her about a bar he thought she would like. He said that he had dropped many people off there in recent months.

It was a good thing he'd told her about it, because there was no way we would have found it ourselves behind this unassuming green door.

door at apartment 200 bar queen street west toronto

The place is called Apt 200, located at 1034 Queen Street West. As you can see by the pictures, it is decorated as though you were visiting someone's comfortable and lived-in apartment. I subsequently found out that this is the second Apt 200 bar, the original being a very popular spot in Montreal.

inside apt 200 bar on queen street west toronto

lounge area at apt two hundred toronto


front area at bar 200 queen street west toronto

pool table at apt 200 bar toronto

As we got there early, arriving just as it opened at 7pm, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. BUT, from what I've read, it gets very busy later on, especially on a Saturday night, with a line-up that can take over an hour to get through. So, it turns out, we were lucky to be able to just walk in and enjoy this beautiful place.

n on her bday

j and me at the bar taken on n phone

↑ taken by Nyla on her phone ↑

smelling lavender cocktail

↑ Smelling Julie's Lavender Coupe ↑

The service and cocktails were really good. They even gave Nyla a complimentary glass of champagne for her birthday.

Our hour there flew by much too quickly, and I definitely plan to go back. I'll be sure to arrive before 9pm though, as apparently that's the latest you can get there and expect to enter without that aforementioned line-up.

leaving apt 200 toronto

We walked the block eastward to Carmen at 922 Queen Street West, where we were quickly seated at a couple of small tables pushed together in the bar area.

carmen spanish restaurant sign queen street west toronto

behind the bar

We started with drinks - a cinnamon cocktail I'd had and really liked last time, for Julie and me, and a drink called a Lolita for Nyla. That was followed by a second round of Lolitas, one for each of us, to have while we ate.


cocktails taken with ns phone

↑ taken by Nyla on her phone ↑


As it was on our previous visit, the food was fantastic. We ordered 5 plates of tapas, each one totally delicious. Here's what we went for : ALCACHOFAS FRITAS - Fried artichokes, Maldon salt, aioli, and lemon. PATATAS BRAVAS : Roasted potatoes, brava sauce, and aioli. CEVICHE DE ATUN NEGRO : Albacore Tuna with Yuzu and Soy sauce. TOMATE VERDE FRITO CON QUESO FETA, MAÍZ Y PIMIENTOS : Breaded green tomatoes, feta, roasted red peppers, and corn chutney. And a Cauliflower dish that is no longer on their menu.

tuna with yuzu and soya sauce at carmen restaurant toronto

spanish tapas at carmen restaurant toronto

Five plates shared by three people was just the right amount, and left us a little room for dessert - Churros for Julie and me and Crema Caramel for Nyla ...

dessert at carmen restaurant toronto churros and leche caramel

(As I was getting these pictures ready, Nick looked over my shoulder and asked where I'd had that food, and when was he going to get some of it?! So, it looks like I'll be back at Carmen in the very near future. I don't mind one bit.)


l and j

We were quite surprised when we looked at the time almost four hours after arriving, to see that is was almost midnight. We pretty much ended up closing the place.

bar area at carmen restaurant queen street west

What a fun evening it turned out to be!

The package in the top picture with the rose on it, was from Julie to me! (It was my birthday the previous week.)

This cute clutch bag is textured with a grid of little holes, that she thoughtfully picked out with the express purpose that I could embellish it with a cross-stitched picture (like my cross-stitching on paper pieces, seen here.) I love it and certainly will be taking her up on the cross-stitching idea, so you'll be seeing this bag again. I just have to decide what to do first.

clutch bag gift from j

bag from j in detail

Thank you for checking out my post. Wishing you a great weekend!
xo loulou
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4 Responses to Out for a Friend’s Birthday

  1. Norma says:

    Apt 200 looks great – you were clever to go there when it wasn’t crowded.
    I like your blank pouch – look forward to seeing your cross stitch decoration. x

  2. hena tayeb says:

    looks like a great time.
    love the picture of the door

  3. Vix says:

    What cool places! That bar is stunning, I want to move in. xxx

  4. Julie says:

    Yay! This was such a super fun night, I loved spending Nyla’s birthday together, and both places were amazing!!

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