Toronto’s Bar Raval Serves Cocktails with a Barcelona-esque Atmosphere Morning, Day and Night

Foodable Network is always looking for bar concepts that offer unique beverage experiences. Bar Raval in Toronto, Canada is unlike any other.

When you walk in, you feel as though you have been transported to the Spanish resort town, San Sebastian. This is no accident, either. The name Raval is a nod to the Raval neighborhood in Barcelona.

The bar is standing-room only and was custom design by the Toronto-based architecture and design studio Partisans Projects.

The bar's structure is truly a masterpiece with gaudi-esque wood panels and rich mahogany millwork.

“Bar Raval was an opportunity for us to use advanced digital methods to reinterpret—not replicate—classical Art Nouveau tropes for the 21st century,” said Alex Josephson, Partisons co-founder, as reported by "archello."

The one-of-a-kind structure is all part of the bar experience curated by the owners.

“We wanted the space to be just like the experience — very organic,” said Robin Goodfellow, part owner of Bar Raval. “You come in, it’s like a warm hug from a tree. We’ve heard people say it looks like the inside of a tree’s heart.”

Guests are immediately wowed by the atmosphere, but what about the cocktails?

In the "Across the Bar" episode below, Goodfellow gives us a taste some of the handcrafted beverages served at Bar Raval.

Since the bar is open morning and night, the concept offers beverages like the Mal Gusto, a popular morning beverage with sherry and Cocchi Americano, a quinine-laced aperitif wine produced by Giulio Cocchi.

Watch as Goodfellow displays his bartending mastery by mixing three of Bar Raval's most popular cocktails in the video below.

Open at 8 a.m., Bar Raval Brings a Taste of Spain to Toronto

Open at 8 a.m., Bar Raval Brings a Taste of Spain to Toronto

Bar Raval, a staple in Toronto’s culinary & beverage scene and helmed by acclaimed chef Grant van Gameren with partners Robin Goodfellow and Michael Webster, is heavily influenced by the Spanish resort town San Sebastian.

“To make the best use out of the space, we wanted to pack people in, so it’s standing, which exists in Spain,” said Goodfellow, who is not only a partner but also a bartender at Bar Raval. “We do pinchos all day. It’s a cafe; it’s kind of more of a community center. People come in all the time and the sort of vibe that you get in San Sebastian is exactly what we thought would be good here.”

Bar Raval offers both pinchos, which are Spanish snacks, and tapas, shareable plates.

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Sneak Peek: Bar Raval, a Barcelona-Inspired Bar in Toronto

In a recent “On Foodable Side Dish” episode, we gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the intricate design work at Bar Raval in Toronto, an establishment helmed by the acclaimed chef Grant van Gameren. Here, we dive deeper into the operational side of Bar Raval with Robin Goodfellow, bartender and partner.

“We wanted the space to be just like the experience, very organic,” said Goodfellow. “We’ve heard people say it looks like the inside of a tree’s heart.”

In this “Across the Bar” preview, get a sneak peek of what Goodfellow has in store for us behind the bar, including a drink inspired by Robin Williams, called One-Hour Photo. “I made this drink on the day that Robin Williams died, so I thought I’d name it after his weirdest movie.”

Meet the Creative Minds Behind Bar Raval’s Epic Design Work

Meet the Creative Minds Behind Bar Raval’s Epic Design Work

It’s no longer “safe” for your restaurant to just sling great food or your bar to serve up decent cocktails. With plenty of competition, concepts must differentiate themselves and the guest experience in other ways. Ambiance is a huge factor, and ultimately determines how a space makes guests feel, which directly impacts how long they’ll stay and whether they’ll return. Ambiance can be communicated through a lot of different elements, a major one being design. And no place strikes this as evidently as Toronto’s Bar Raval, which was designed by Partisans Projects, a Toronto-based architecture and design studio led by Alex Josephson.

The Partisans team “primarily makes the improbable possible,” says Josephson. “We believe in the political power of architecture.” (One of the projects Partisans has received much acclaim for, and what ultimately drew the Bar Raval team to select Partisans, is the Grotto Sauna, which you can view here.)

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