Sitting next to me at the bar, Ricky’s looking good in a short, sparkly pink dress, and sounding better with her indeterminate European accent. “Hotel bars are a rush,” she says. “You don’t know where I’m from. I don’t know where you’re from. They’re a rush.”
You said it, Ricky. For expertly made drinks, luxurious settings and strangers in the night, check into this lobby group.
At 40-years-plus, the Fairmont Royal York’s Library Bar (100 Front West, 416-368-2511) has it down pat: big comfy chairs, subdued lighting, personable professional staff, deluxe bits and bites and more wood than Clayoquot Sound. The only thing is, very few of the mature patrons are doing any reading. If anything, they’re whooping it up. This Library goes long on tradition but short on snootiness.
Inheriting former occupant Doku 15’s minimalist decor, Eight Wine Bar in the Cosmopolitan Hotel (8 Colborne, 416-350-8188) may not evoke the ancient cellars of Europe, but don’t let the sleek lounge look fool you – this place has class by the glass. Manager Vince Antonacci is hands-on with the selection and is working toward a list of over 80 wines.
With its expansive banquettes, candles and discreet service, Senses bar at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel (318 Wellington West, 416-599-8800) is a great place to meet when you’ve got to stop meeting like this. A young martini-ordering crowd indicates that you’re on the western fringe of the entertainment district, but hotel decor keeps things civilized.
Rising above all of these, literally, is the Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt (4 Avenue Road, 416-324-1568). Once the number-one watering hole for Toronto’s cultural lions, the clubby room continues to be popular with midtown locals and hotel guests. Window seats facing south are at a premium, but a couch in front of the gas fireplace is a good consolation prize. In summer, if you manage to snag one of 10 panoramic patio tables, sit back, order a round and enjoy life at the top.