The Bar at Alo

Photography by The Bar At Alo

Words by Andrew Toplack on 04-Aug-2015

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Address: 163 Spadina Avenue, 3rd Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2L6, Canada
Tel: +1 416 260 2222
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Tue-Sat 5pm-1am
Door: Open door
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Bar snacks
Established: 2015


In a doorway just south of the Queen and Spadina intersection, an attractive, smartly-dressed young lady welcomes visitors from behind a podium. A small elevator to her left takes those who pass muster up to the third floor, where awaits this bar and accompanying restaurant. The modern, free-standing bar sits in the middle of a room that one can easily imagine being more at home in London or Tokyo, rather than Toronto. A dark, oriental-styled mural covers three walls with a row of windows comprising the forth, giving those sitting in the comfortable barstools a view through the glass-backed bar onto the street below. To the right as one enters lies the quite-separate restaurant, with its subdued tones and open kitchen. The peacefulness of the third floor location gives it all an above-the-fray quality, perhaps accentuated by the "Golden Arches" visible at street level on the opposite corner.

Bar manager John Bunner has assembled one of the best bar teams in the city, with Shane Mulvaney and Sarah Parniak. Cocktails are chosen from a short menu of six made-to-order and two bottled cocktails. Favourites include the Armagnac Old Fashioned and the Madame Manet (scotch, Cocchi Americano, bianco vermouth, and creme yvette). Not on the menu, but always available is the delightful Tom Gin Cocktail (Old Tom Gin, absinthe, VEP Chartreuse, and simple syrup).

A short list of snacks is all that is available in the bar, since the attached restaurant focusses exclusively on a multi-course prix fix menu, with optional wine pairings. The food in the restaurant is exceptional.

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