Tell us a little about yourself and your Sudbury history.
I moved to Sudbury in 2003 after graduating high school in Ottawa. I first took history/geography at Laurentian University before switching to Business Administration at Cambrian College. After graduation, I pursued my passion of Muay Thai which took me all the way to Thailand and landed me in Windsor upon my return to Canada. After deciding I wanted more in my life and missing the city of Sudbury, I returned to pursue a further education again at Laurentian but this time to complete an Honours degree in Commerce. About that time, I began bartending at SRO Nightclub. I had previously worked in the industry at many local bars as a bouncer, but this was my first attempt at serving and it did not take very long before I knew I was hooked. I worked day and night to learn my craft, often working upwards of 40 hours a week while continuing my education. Upon graduation, I took over as manager of SRO and started applying my textbook knowledge to the business side of the industry creating inventory and staffing systems, building social media sites for promotion and really treating the club as my very own. After a few years of great success, I made an offer to purchase half the business which was accepted by my now business partner Maher Khalil. I will always be grateful for all the opportunities he has bestowed upon me. This April will mark my 5th year of ownership as I expand my dream to incorporate my new venue, The Alibi Room. The rest as they say…..is history!!
How would you describe the Alibi Room for those readers who are not familiar with it?
The Alibi Room is a modern, upscale and sophisticated take on a prohibition era speakeasy. We specialise in Gins, Whiskeys and Bourbons, many of which are unique and have never been served in the area, as well as having a fantastic craft beer, wine and shareable munchie menu. On the entertainment side of things, we will feature live music 3 nights a week (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) with a lounge style DJ on Thursdays to highlight a swanky cocktail/martini night. We have made every effort to accentuate the community aspect of being a member of the downtown area, maintaining many old features and photos of our surroundings and by incorporating minimal technology, hope to encourage our patrons to chat and get to know one another. We have also built an incredible, hand-made wooden bar capable of growing with the requests of our beloved patrons.
What was your vision for this new establishment?
It was important to us to highlight service and the craft of bartending by showcasing our mixology skills through our sophisticated yet approachable cocktails and martinis. It’s extremely important to us to highlight the service levels of days gone by where the consumer is more than just a number, they are our dear friends. We hope to bring back that air of exclusivity by showing the world that even though our community is smaller, we can still excel at providing hard to find liquors coupled with a level of service that cannot be beat anywhere. We also felt it very important to again highlight our community, where we come from and our pride in our community from our archived photos of downtown Sudbury to our refurbished wood floors, barn board features and tables dating back over 100 years. We hope that by showcasing the past we can solidify our commitment to the future of our downtown community.
Where did your inspiration come from for the menu, drinks and decor?
Our inspiration came from many places. First, I love my industry. It fills me with absolute joy to be a host. From making people smile with delicious cocktails to creating a community space where friends can be made, troubles can be forgotten and where people can just lose themselves in the moment for a while. Nothing makes me smile more than bringing joy to others. We really tried to convey this through the research done for both our drink and munchie menu. When it comes to decor, I can take very little credit. My business partner at The Alibi, Robert Taylor, is perhaps one of the most gifted people in the Design/Building industry. I essentially explained my vision and he took off running, creating one of the most beautiful venues I have seen anywhere, not just in Sudbury. He truly is a gifted visionary when it comes to hearing an inspiration and delivering. He made sure to incorporate historical local focal points to create that old world feel while still maintaining an approachable bar setting. His attention to detail is truly what made the physical attributes of The Alibi pop.
When is the official opening date for the Alibi Room?
Due to our quaint size, we are celebrating with an invite only grand opening weekend starting this Friday March 30th and 31st. We open to the general public as of Wednesday April 4th with our first Open Mic night, followed by our Cocktail/Martini lounge night and heading into the weekend with exceptional live music on both Friday and Saturday following our grand opening weekend.
What is your favorite drink on the menu?
My favourite cocktail on the menu is called An Affair to Remember. It features high end gin coupled with cherry liqueur and pink grapefruit and lemon juice, shaken with an egg to give it substantial and voluptuous mouth feel and garnished with dried rose petals. It’s both delicious and beautiful!
What can visitors expect in terms of food? Do you intend the cocktails to go with the food?
Again, our food accentuates our desire to create a social environment. They are all shareables for the table and pair well with any of our cocktails, wines or craft beers. We will feature a charcuterie board featuring many meats and cheese procured at local establishments, an antipasto plate, a hummus sampler that at the moment consists of an authentic Syrian style hummus, a curried red lentil hummus and a very intriguing chocolate hummus served with graham crackers! We will also be featuring a charcuterie and antipasto flatbread pizzas.