Fifty years at the bar

The next time you’re in downtown Toronto, stop in at the Park Hyatt (formerly the Park Plaza at Bloor and Avenue Road) and say hello to one of the ‘living legends’. May 12, 2000 marked the 50th anniversary of Harold Kochberg, who started work in the hotel’s famous Roof Lounge way back in 1950. The bar has been an institution in the city of Toronto for many years and as regular patrons know, Harold Kochberg has played an integral role in its success.

Harold started at the bottom. He began working in the Roof Lounge on May 12, 1950, as a bus boy. He has since worked in all areas of the bar and says he’s still enjoying his job as a cocktail server.’I had a good feeling about this place right from the very beginning says Kochberg. Like most long-serving employees, he never thought that he would be in the same job for the next fifty years. But as he tells it, and many people know, as time passed, life was good and there was ‘no reason to leave.’ Harold is married to Francis Kochberg and they have three sons and several grandchildren.

The Roof Lounge is situated on the 18th floor in the South Tower of the Park Hyatt Toronto. It’s a bar where you will find a great view of the cy, a relaxing atmosphere and waiters who more often than not remember your name. Harold is one of many staff who have helped create memories for thousands of people over the years.

The bar figured prominently in one of Margaret Atwood’s novels, and retains a distinct cachet with Canada’s (or at least Toronto’s) literary set. Long term staff and loyal patrons still fill the Roof Lounge. Since the re-named and renovated Park Hyatt has re-opened, the bar has been as busy as ever.

Voted as ‘Tops for Drinks’ by Gourmet Magazine in 1998 and 1999, the Roof Lounge offers an oversized fireplace during the winter months and a wrap-around terrace in the summer, with that great view. Harold still provides unparalleled service, and he agrees with the hotel’s general manager, who says that ‘I can assure you that the Roof Lounge will be around for a long time.