Courtney Maria (aka “Courts” Shanahan): Kasa Moto’s Chief Bartender

The second floor patio of Kasa Moto, a high-end Japanese restaurant in Yorkville, is one of the most beautiful and popular patios in all of Toronto. It overlooks the chichi shops of Yorkville and provides an amazing view of the Toronto skyline to the south.

But many of us Kasa Moto regulars do not just come to the patio for the view or even the so-called beautiful people all fapitzed (Yiddish for dolled-up) in their four-inch Stuart Weitzman’s and tight, clingy white jeans. And those are just the guys.

We come because the Kasa Moto servers and bartenders are some of the best in Toronto’s booming hospitality industry.

The Queen B of bartenders is my friend, Courts Shanahan. She is experienced (having been in the business for nearly ten years), professional, quick, responsive, smart, warm, and gracious. Prior to her current Kasa Moto gig, Courts ruled the bar at the Toronto Four Seasons’ d/bar, one of my other favorite haunts. Her knowledge of wine and spirits is encyclopedic and very impressive. With such a wide array of drinks up her sleeve her two favorite libations are: the Apple Martini (3 oz. apple sours, ½ oz. vodka, 2 oz. lemon juice), and the Kasa Moto Caesar (2 oz. Shishito pepper-infused vodka, Sirracha, Yuzu ponzu, Walter’s Caesar mix, Wasabi, rimmed with salt and a garnished with a house-made pickle).

Courts has to wear many hats, acting as both a mixologist and psychologist to her clients. She is also a friend, a confidante, and, on occasion, a discrete and trusted adviser relating to matters of the heart.

And not only does she remember the names of regular habitués of Kasa, but also their liquid pleasure. In my case, it’s pretty easy: Diet Coke on the rocks with a twist of lemon. Neither shaken nor stirred. But gently poured.

By day, Courts is a kick-ass software app developer. Who knew?

Though her nightly bartending job is highly intense and stressful (especially on the warm summer nights of Thursday to Saturday), Courts always greets me and treats my fellow Kasa Moto types with a warm smile and easy manner.

And frankly, after a tough day in Toronto’s ultra-competitive rat race, that makes all the difference.

Courts Shannon

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