While from the street this spot seems to offer the same predictable elements of any other bar in the city, behind the unremarkable green paint and covered patio lies a hidden gem complete with a Spanish Art Nouveau flare.
Bar Raval, which opened in 2015 thanks to the work of Grant van Gameren, Robin Goodfellow and Mike Webster is a definite stand out on our 50 Best Bars list. The bar’s lively atmosphere draws in both the early birds and the late crowd, as they are open early til’ late for everything from coffee and pastries to cocktails and tapas. The swooping wooden curves and woodwork details reminiscent of Gaudi mingle with mirrors and nooks and crannies of all sort, evoking a welcoming sense of permanence. As John Bunner, operations manager of Toronto restaurant Alo, puts it “Bar Raval is a room with a sense of place, even if that place is across the ocean.”
The bar offers everything from refreshing Spanish fizz cocktails and terrific wines to food that definitely does not fall short of amazing. The bar’s signature drink is the Tinto Fino — a satisfyingly tart emulsion of dry sherry and freshly squeezed lime juice — which pairs perfectly with any of Raval’s top-quality food offerings. From the communal oak-barrel tales which encourage chatter with strangers to the inviting playlist of African groove and Latin funk, Bar Raval is a home away from home for many, so stay for a drink — or two.
Bar Raval in No. 1 on our inaugural Canada’s Best Bars list
505 College Street Toronto