1. Bar Raval
You don’t go to Bar Raval just for a drink. You go to escape ordinary bar life, to be immersed in the Barcelona-esque demimonde envisioned by founders Robin Goodfellow, Mike Webster and Grant van Gameren. With its decadent swirling mahogany design, delicious pintxos and full-on embrace of day drinking, Raval was a hit from the start, immediately influencing the bar scene in Toronto—for the better. Six years later, Canada’s Best Bar (for the third year in a row) is still one of the city’s best and brightest destinations, offering a perennially lively room full of people quaffing sherry and sidra. And while Raval hardly needs reinvention, expect its cocktail program to move in a more science-y direction as Goodfellow and head bartender, Sally Gillespie, embrace high-tech equipment (how about a centrifuge and rotary evaporator?) in the quest for even more flavours that pop.
TRY: THE FRESH START, A TANGY COGNAC SOUR SWEETENED WITH CORIANDER HONEY.
Photo: AJ Fernando