Drinking Canada Spotlight travel

Sipping Spotlight: Toronto’s BarChef

BarChef is not a restaurant where cocktails are the afterthought, they’re the star of the show and everything else is just background noise.

At this point, BarChef is an institution in Toronto, being around for well over a decade. While they may not be the shiny new place, they are still serving up some of the most complex and inventive cocktails that Toronto has ever seen.

A quick glimpse at the Spring 2019 menu and you’ll see a range of cocktails like the “Old World”, a cocktail described as “A Parisian parfumerie in liquid form” and made from Vanilla infused brandy, cacao bitter, patchouli syrup, caraway maraschino, Madeira, and Islay Scotch. Or perhaps you’re looking to splurge on something truly exotic like the “Vanilla Hickory Smoked Manhattan” which features Crown Royal Special Reserve, vanilla infused brandy, cherry and vanilla bitter, hickory smoked syrup, smoked hickory and vanilla and will run you a steep $50 per serving.

$50 dollars for a single cocktail you’re thinking right? It’s not just about the ingredients, there’s an entire presentation that comes with it. Think of this as more of an art form than a simple drink. The above manhattan is smoked for nearly two minutes in a hand blown glass cloche and is presented in no small amount of fanfare.


In fact, most of the cocktails enjoyed here have some sort of otherworldly feel to them, creating a satisfying experience no matter what you order.

The bar has earned a wealth of well deserved awards over the years, and they’ve continued to push the envelope with what patrons are expecting. In fact it seems like the more BarChef ages, the better it gets, a rarity in the service industry.

For Canadians, having a bar as innovative as somewhere like Chicago’s the Aviary is a source of pride. Anyone who loves cocktails would be doing themselves a disservice by not visiting BarChef while in Toronto.



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