The swooping mahogany interior is enough to signify this slice of Barcelona on College as one of Toronto’s most unique drinking experiences at any hour. Open mid-morning to late, Bar Raval’s default atmosphere is bustling; hanging in the air is the temptation to cancel plans in favour of a copa of palo cortado and some smoked mackerel. Bartenders mix long-sipping, low-proof cocktails with a base of vermouth, sherry or house-made amaro, which pack full-octane flavour but a lighter punch. The Velvet Thunder (amontillado, curaçao, amaro, cucumber, mint, lemon, nutmeg) marries a mojito with the nutty, oxidized tang of Spain’s cool-again fortified wine, forming an argument for revisiting the era of liquid lunch through a far more elegant—and dare we say responsible—lens.
505 College St., No phone, thisisbarraval.com