One of my New Year’s resolutions was to reread all of the Harry Potter novels. Over the years, as each new Harry Potter book came out and another year went by, I felt like I was growing up alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione. I’ve read the book a few times over the years and watched the movies countless more. On one of my next vacations, I’m dying to go to the Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter in California…. I may have even convinced my boyfriend it’s an amazing idea. At the end of it all, you could say I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.
You can imagine how excited I was when I saw the viral story about the Harry Potter bar that had popped up in Toronto. I was definitely more than curious about The Lockhart. After searching their webpage and social media, I discovered that because of articles from Time, Buzzfeed and more – The Lockhart was insanely busy. We tried to call ahead and see what the wait time was like on a few occasions, to no avail.
Finally, a few weeks ago, Steve and I both had a Sunday evening free (rare for us) and we decided to head up to Dufferin and Dundas to check out The Lockhart. You could say I was excited.
If you’ve read the books or even watched the movies, you likely know that The Lockhart is named for Gilderoy Lockhart, one of Harry’s many Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers. I do enjoy that the naming of the bar is a subtle, unobnoxious reference to J.K. Rowling’s work. Throughout the bar, there are several small shoutouts to Harry Potter, but in no way is The Lockhart a “theme bar”.
Don’t get me wrong, not being a theme bar is not a bad thing. When I think theme bar, I think gaudy, ridiculous decor and silly costumes. The Lockhart simply possesses small nods at Harry Potter culture, most features would only be noticeable to a big fan.
The Lockhart’s bar menu is really impressive. We sat right in front of the bartender, so without being creepy (okay, maybe I did stare – fascinated), we watched her make drinks that were way more complicated than I could imagine… Which led us to the Befuddlement Draught:
As defined by Harry Potter Wikia: A Befuddlement Draught is a type of potion which causes the drinker to become belligerent and reckless. Typical ingredients include scurvy grass, lovage, and sneezewort.
As defined by The Lockhart: A Befuddlement Draught contains 8 oz of booze and is meant to be shared. Ingredients include Gin, Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Blue Curacao, Cherry Brandy, Triple Sec and Gingerale.
The bartender verified we weren’t driving home (luckily, we took an Uber) and then created the Befuddlement Draught for us.
Served over ice, the best part of this delicious drink is the presentation. Patrons have to blow out a glowing blue flame and then mix “ingredients” held in two shots glasses together before consuming. Once we had become “potion masters”, we went through the Befuddlement Draught pretty quickly (thank goodness for that Uber).
We also enjoyed the Polenta Fries, which were delicious but extremely rich. The fries were served with a chili aioli, and almost tasted like a savory dessert.
To an outsider, The Lockhart was more simply an awesome neighbourhood bar with great music, food and drinks. To a Harry Potter fan, it was an awesome neighbourhood bar with great music, food and drinks AND a few references to their favourite Boy Wizard.
The bathroom may have been the most pleasant surprise for a Harry Potter fan, since it contained a ton of fans’ own favourite quotes. The Lockhart’s bathroom wall is painted as a chalkboard and guests can write pretty much whatever they’d like.
Overall, I think The Lockhart was miscommunicated as a theme bar, and this is a good thing. I hope that this place can survive when the novelty wears off, because Harry Potter or not – it was an awesome spot. I’ll be going again soon, let me know if you’d like to join!
The Lockhart was Loved, Actually.