It doesn’t get much better than dining with a breathtaking view from the 18th floor at Park Hyatt Hotel’s The Roof Lounge, in the heart of Yorkville.
This is just part of the draw to the 81-year-old institution and landmark. Then there’s the long-standing staff, upscale ambience and cocktails, and ever-evolving bar menu.
One of the best seats in the house is the patio, where Toronto stretches far beneath you. Step inside and sink into one of comfy leather couches next to the fireplace or cozy up for a drink at the bar.
Renovations were last done 17 years ago, so probably much is the same since you were here last – editorial cartoonist Donato’s caricatures of famous folks and dark the furnishings add to the allure of the small space.
You might be surprised to learn that the majority of visitors are not actually hotel guests. According to Lounge Manager Marco Capeloa, it’s mostly locals that visit every week or two, with other residents stopping in every couple few years.
This is to due to many factors. The upscale lounge – not to be confused with a bar, sports bar or club – has a unique setting to relax and unwind. Part of the appeal is the staff, who’ve been here for years. Mix that in with premium ingredients and an unobstructed view of the CN tower and city skyline, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a memorable evening.
The lounge is popular year-round, but particularly during TIFF (While not confirmed by hotel staff, rumour has it that George Clooney has a suite here, with pal Brad Pitt as a frequent houseguest). The hotel is also home to many sports teams, making it a draw for fans of all ages.
Well known for their cocktails, “staff go ahead and come up with their own creations,” Capeloa says.
76-year-old bartender Joe Gomes, known for his G&T, retired on October 28, 2016, after 57 years. Arriving in Canada from Portugal with his parents at the age of 17, Gomes was hired within a few days of arriving in Toronto. This was his first and only job. A drink was created in his honour: The Joe 57 ($24), a blue cheese martini made with Chopin Vodka, and garnished with house-stuffed blue cheese olives.
Drinks are made with premium ingredients such as Pinnacle Vodka and sometimes limited editions, such as the bottle of bourbon that was one of just ten bottles released in Canada.
“The ingredients are what make it unique to us,” Capeloa says.
“The Negroni is very popular. And we can’t get rid of the Mango Fizz. It’s been here for years. People love it.”
A recent addition is the Baracco Espresso Martin, infused with Baracco Coffee – a Canadian company that roasts their own beans brought in from small producers.
With each drink order, you receive complimentary made-in-house bar snacks (house roasted almonds, house brined olives and trail mix) that are as addictive as the view.
The “Toronto-inspired menu” was designed by executive chef Joan Monfaredi for Park Hyatt Toronto, who was awarded “Chef of the Year” for Hyatt Hotels, North America in 2013, recognized for her outstanding leadership and dedication to the success of the Culinary Operations. Monfaredi has been in the industry and at the Park Hyatt for over 20 years.
There are two food menus: tapas, which are available before 4 pm, and a Sharing & Classic menu available after 4 pm.
Dishes range from $10 to $40 with a host of modern comfort fare including lamb meatballs, cracker crust pizzas, pork burgers, charcuterie board and feta fries. New items are added every winter and summer.
The hotel has a number of kitchens, with one dedicated exclusively for the bar. Everything is made in-house including sauces, breads and desserts (there’s a separate kitchen for pastry).
Monfaredi has long been an advocate for local food, so a heavy emphasis is placed on using natural, local products. Partnerships include Liberterre for naturally raised, antibiotic-free, 100 per cent vegetarian diet fed poultry and lamb; and Spring Creek, in cooperation with Macgregor’s Meats, for a premium 28-day aged beef program – all natural, antibiotic free. There are also partnerships in place for humanely raised natural pork, and free-run, cage-free eggs.
Select from vegetarian and gluten-free options on each menu, and new to the hotel, brunch is now served on weekends.
Whether you’re coming for drinks, dinner or late night nibbles, The Roof Lounge (4 Avenue Rd.) is an experience not to be missed.
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