Photography by Bar Raval
Words by Andrew Toplack on 04-Aug-2015
505 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6G 1A4, Canada
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Daily 8am-2am
Door: Go early
Style: Tapas bar
Recommended for: Cocktails, Food
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Owned by: Michael Webster, Robin Goodfellow and Grant van Ga
Open just since Valentine's Day this year (2015), this small unique bar is meant to evoke a Spanish-style pintxo bar in San Sebastian. The flowing wooden decor, in which the bar blends harmoniously with the walls and ceiling, recalls Antonio Gaudi's architecture, while some have affectionately likened it to a Hobbit interior. Already nominated for an award by Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, the laser-cut mahogany decor was partly inspired by tatoos on the bodies of its three principle owners. Almost completely standing-only, there are a few stools available for those who need to sit. Two outdoor patio areas and an oyster bar take advantage of Toronto's hot summers, though plans include a retractable awning and winterization.
Open from 8 am to 2 am, seven days a week, a full menu is available all day and evening. In addition, from 8 am to 4 pm, small plates on the bar offer food that's not on the regular menu. The food, designed by chef/owner Grant van Gameren, is all Spanish-inspired and very good. It includes cured meats and canned seafood, done mostly in-house with some sourced from Spain. The rest of the mostly small-plates menu is divided into: Tapas, Pintxos, Bocadillos, a la Planxa, and a la Parilla.
Coffee is available all day and night. Cocktails are available from 11 am until closing and range from the low-octane Apertivo cocktails, the refreshing Alto Vaso cocktails, to the more boozy shaken, stirred, and vodka cocktails. This is a good place to have a sherry from their excellent (for Ontario) selection, or to have a cocktail that incorporates sherry, like the Onyeabar (Hennessy VS cognac, Torres 5yr brandy, Lustau East India sherry, espresso-infused Campari). The bar is co-owned and managed by two of Toronto's very best bartenders, Michael Webster and Robin Goodfellow, and they have assembled an impressive bartending team, all of whom know what they're doing around a cocktail.
This is a very busy bar/restaurant with limited space and no reservations, so arriving early in the evening is advised.