I have to say I have similar issue.
Seems like bookmark toolbars are currently trending. However, I cannot come to like them. To me they are a waste of screen real-estate.
That’s basically the main reason why I rejected Chrome right away.
If you are currently expanding on the design of your browser would you consider a classic bookmark button as seen e.g. in Firefox:
This could be placed next to the address bar or your Brave protection icon therefore taking up 0 screen real-estate.
Edge uses a similar approach in which a button opens a sidebar: http://fs5.directupload.net/images/170820/iw6mzpeg.png
I like these button approaches way better than a dedicated bar since once you are on the site you wanted to be it gives way taking up 0 space on the screen.
I know I could access bookmarks via your menu short cut or the hotkey but that’s not very user friendly to me.
Going via the menu takes too long and I try to avoid hotkeys as much as possible because frankly there too many for too many programs.