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No. 6

Library Bar

It is literally Toronto’s most storied cocktail den, as evidenced by the portrait of George Locke, the city’s early 20th-century chief librarian, hanging over the mantelpiece. Tucked away, off the thrumming lobby of Fairmont Royal York, the lavishly upholstered room is festooned with art deco accents. The literary theme is layered into a menu classified by genre (poetry, science fiction, mystery…). Mixology director James Grant (the 2021 World Class Global Bartender of the Year) brings the pages to life with multi-sensory drinks that smoulder or glow. The Master & Commander is a smoky melding of Johnnie Walker Blue, Plantation XO, banana, fig and bittersweet vermouth, with a finish so long you might not mind the $125 bill. But the beauty of a simply perfect martini, poured tableside and made with house brand Quill Gin or Vodka, tells the real tale. This is a bar studiously striving for cocktail perfection, and coming just about as close as can be.

The cozy corner banquette on the raised level (James Grant’s favourite) commands the entire room.
The incendiary Sacred Beast, made with Michter’s Bourbon, charred habanero, mezcal, verjus, Lapsang souchong and cinnamon. (Yes, it’s on fire.)

Photography by Rick O’Brien (Drinks), Brandon Barre (Library Bar Interior)

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