Library Bar has been a renowned haunt for cocktails and bistro fare in the hundred-year-old Fairmont Royal York since 1972, and has a reputation for serving some of Toronto's best whisky and martinis.
Meant to emulate a comfy house library, books that have been here for decades are stacked on shelves and tables. The hotel's Horace Waller Library once contained thousands of volumes.
Ontario charcuterie comes with a hefty $28 price tag, but wedges of three Ontario cheeses are quite massive. A cheddar, Mountainoak and Cape Vessey cheese are all semi-firm and relatively potent.
The board is rounded out by large clusters of red and green grapes, a sweet and spicy apple raisin chutney, oil-drizzled sliced baguette, honey, dried fruit and olives. Definitely a solid snack for two, portion-wise.
Cocktail shrimp are $22 for an order of about eight plump, large Ocean Wise shrimp that are definitely more than a bite each, ostentatiously presented in an oversized bowl of ice with classic cocktail sauce and netted lemon.
A signature prime rib sandwich also has a weighty $28 price tag, but what else are you going to eat with shots of whisky that cost hundreds of dollars? Ace ciabatta isn't the best foundation, but it is cleverly cut to provide a thick bottom slice and thinner top slice to minimize disintegration, and sliced prime rib itself stars.
Crispy fried onions and a horseradish aioli add a lot to this sandwich, especially in terms of flavour and texture, but a pan jus for dipping makes this dish.
Whiskies start at $9 for Canadian Club or Johnnie Walker Red Label, but a true scotch section of the drinks list boasts selections like a Macallan 25 for $225, or Macallan 1824 Series No. 6 for $450.
Aberlour A'Bunadh is a more middle-of-the-road option at $16, aged in barrels so it's relatively smooth, but still with a bit of spice. Most highland scotches have a relatively similar flavour profile that complements the prime rib well.
It's bottled at cask strength, meaning right out of the barrel with no water added, so it's recommended to add a little when ordering. Even with the water the taste is strong, just a little smoky and clean.
A Classic Birdbath Martini ranges from $18 to $22, depending on your choice of vodka or gin. A Library Bar signature, ingredients are combined in a special hand blown carafe that allows spirits to breathe and enhances their flavour, then poured tableside into a chilled martini glass with a three-olive garnish.
Library Bar also obtains ingredients from 100km Foods.