Because hotel bars are back

Because hotel bars are back

And the cocktails are as gorgeous as the rooms

One pandemic ­silver lining: Toronto hotels used the lull in travel as an opportunity to revamp their watering holes, levelling up both their design and cocktail craft. At these three spots, storied past meets modern glow-up.

Photograph by Ebti Nabag
Library Bar at the Royal York

A year-long pandemic renovation turned the Royal York’s iconic Library Bar into a maximalist art deco showpiece that hearkens back to the hotel’s history as an opulent martini destination for well-heeled railway travellers. Think jewel-toned velvet sofas, a cocktail menu inspired by classic literature, and an enhanced version of the bar’s legendary birdbath martini, complete with bespoke vodka or gin distilled exclusively for that cocktail.

Photograph courtesy of the Park Hyatt
Writers Room at the Park Hyatt

Thanks to its panoramic view of the city skyline, the Park Hyatt’s 17th-floor Writers Room is an after-hours TIFF clubhouse. Fresh from a Covid refurb, the space is now clad in stained oak and fine art, featuring a refreshed menu and new layout—big enough for a party, but with lots of cozy places for dates to canoodle.

Photograph by Daniel Neuhaus
Modern Wing at the Drake Hotel

The eclectic lobby bar in the Drake’s Modern Wing has a quiet atmosphere and a loud colour palette: psychedelic pink and yellow carpets, retro upholstery and playful pop art, including a pencil-and-paper work by Iqaluit artist Saimaiyu Akesuk. A tight, fun menu of snacks and cocktails emphasizes local sourcing and big flavours, like the chimichurri lamb spiedini and the absinthe frappe.

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