The city of Toronto has an undying love for film, sports, and outdoor patio setups, but great cocktail programs have become its mistress. There's always a new establishment popping up in someone's neighborhood -- a pub, tavern, cafe, or an upscale home bar with upscale bros -- and because of that, there are myriad drink choices begging to be discovered. To help, we've rounded up 50 boozy must-haves that truly represent Toronto's multicultural vibes and its newfound affinity for well-poured drinks.
BarChefAddress and Info
The folks here are molecular mixology wizards, and because of that, BarChef has become an everyday watering hole for secret splurgers. The Cucumber Fizz is a fairly basic go-to -- mixing vodka, maraschino, cucumber, and elderflower pressé -- but its quality is top-shelf.
Bar BegoniaAddress and Info
Anthony Rose’s latest venture is a Parisian-style bar that solicits cocktails from Oliver Stern (Toronto Temperance Society), whose house originals experiment with everything from celery vodka to cold brew coffee. Then, there’s the Inner Circle ($16), which shakes things up with blended Scotch, pineapple cordial, grapefruit, and IPA.
ArchiveAddress and Info
Joel and Joshua Corea’s "new" wine bar has all the goods to be the best vinotheque in the city solely because the staff are legitimate wine geeks. The Dundas West spot offers an impressive list of reds and whites, while creative efforts like the Contratto Spritz (white vermouth, sparkling wine, limonata) complement the bar’s laid-back, warm environment.
Moon Under Mezcal
The LowdownAddress and Info
The newbie on Augusta is a 21st-century speakeasy that can literally be found below Torito Tapas Bar. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with a bit of ingenuity. The space serves up a smorgasbord of snacks, including Spanish olives and ham & cheese boards, and the drinks aren’t afraid to get a little artsy. The Moon Under Mezcal ($12) is a herbaceous agave cocktail that’s a tribute to George Orwell’s ideal fictional pub house, the Moon Under Water.
My Favorite Ex-Girlfriend
Bar IsabelAddress and Info
The College St restaurant’s notable refresher is just like any other ex: it’s feisty, slightly bitter, and sweet when it wants to be, mainly because it’s a shaken blend of Absolut Elyx, white peach-infused Bianco vermouth, Aperol, grenadine, grapefruit, lemon, and teapot bitters.
The Addisons ResidenceAddress and Info
The Addisons Residence is another lounge-meets-club attraction that’s divided into a kitchen, a living room, and a rec room. But the real adventure lies in the hands of mixologist Manny Contreras. The "Master Tequilier" takes his art form very seriously, and it’s why the Zona Rosa, his unanimous go-to, offsets 1.5oz of tequila blanco with Briottet Triple Sec liqueur, hibiscus agave, and a calculated splash of fresh lime juice.
Macho Radio BarAddress and Info
The super-new Tex-Mex joint occupies the space that was once Citta, and thanks to design firm Studio Munge, it’s fully decked out in neon lights and arcade classics such as Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man. The main attraction, however, is the enclosed patio and how it goes hand-in-hand with the alcoholic agua frescas (spike 'em with tequila, vodka, gin, white rum, whiskey, or bourbon). If you’re with friends, you may as well snap into a Macho Pitcher ($35) of the stuff.
Bar RavalAddress and Info
Bar Raval is a pintxos bar that bleeds culture thanks to a menu with everything from shrimp crudo ($13) to Galician-style octopus ($8) and adobo pork bocadillo ($11), and the exotic philosophy carries over to its cocktail list. The Pixie Blood ($16) might seem like an odd choice, but it’s a tequila drink for the fearless that mixes Espolon Blanco with cinnamon grenadine, lime, green chartreuse, and absinthe.
Apt. 200Address and Info
West Queen West
This Montreal transplant is fully outfitted with couches, pool tables, and NBA Jam, but at heart, it’s a club/lounge hybrid that likes to party with specialty cocktails. One popular request is the Cosmo TO, made with hibiscus-infused vodka, thyme-infused Cointreau, lime, and cranberry juice, and is tart enough to be a sidekick for any spontaneous IRL flirting.
Maple Leaf TavernAddress and Info
The historic Maple Leaf Tavern recently re-opened after three years of renovation, and despite its reputation for being hole-in-the-wall, it’s starting a new chapter. The Tavern’s new cocktail program was developed by New York bar guy/writer Naren Young, and it’s full of modern delights, like the Garibaldi -- a drink that simply whips together Campari and fresh orange juice.
Miss Thing’sAddress and Info
Nav Sangha’s Wrongbar recently transformed into Miss Thing’s, but it’s still a spot for drinks, vibes, and self-indulgence. Cue the Fuzzy Wawa, which is essentially a daiquiri in a coconut with Havana Club 3-Year, lemongrass sake, kaffir lime syrup, and coconut bitters.
Boutique BarAddress and Info
Just how boutique is Julien Salomone’s Boutique Bar? For starters, the cocktail lounge is a martini sanctuary for the young professional types, and one of its main attractions is the eponymous Boutique Blush. The drink unifies white wine, triple sec liqueur, white cranberry juice, and fresh raspberry puree for a sweet yet tart finish.
After The Frost
The Library BarAddress and Info
If hotel bars are overrated, then the Royal York Library Bar is the exception. The casual spot is decked out with robust tea & whiskey lists, and then there are the handcrafted cocktails -- including this icy delight that mixes Royal York ice wine, Belvedere vodka, and Grand Marnier. The best part? It’s shaken over ice and garnished with a single frozen grape.
Momofuku NikaiAddress and Info
If you can get past Nikai’s Momofuku ramen and roasted rice cakes, then go straight for the Vieux Soirée ($14). It’s no Paper Plane ($14) or Brisca Fresca ($12), but it’s a cozy post-dinner sipper that combines peach rye with rum and a herbal liqueur.
The Cherry Seinfeld
MontaukAddress and Info
Dustin Keating’s hangout can be a major cocktail tease thanks to its city-wide collabs, guest bartenders, and ever-rotating list of features. But if you do happen to notice The Cherry Seinfeld in its natural habitat, order a round (or three). The rare Montauk brew blends together bourbon, cherry gin, Cocchi Americano, lemon, egg white, Angostura, and "the juice that comes from the cherry jar." In other words, no soup for you!
Pit-Fired Old Fashioned
The Carbon BarAddress and Info
Hidde Zomer’s kitchen revolves around a wood fire pit that smokes the usual BBQ standards (brisket, sausage, pulled pork) and adds a new dimension of flavour to certain cocktails. One example is Carbon’s Pit-Fired Old Fashioned ($14) -- a rustic smoke ‘n’ oak adaptation made with smoked Pike Creek rye, Sortilege liqueur, orange, sugar, and Angostura bitters.
Civil Liberties BarAddress and Info
Co-owners Nick Kennedy, Cole Stanford, and David Huynh built Civil Liberties from the ground up (literally), and it’s partially why the atmosphere hones in comfort. The "pineapple bar" treats all drinks equally, as there isn’t a physical cocktail list, but it’s just more incentive to have one of the intuitive bartenders analyze your needs.
The Rural Road
Hunters LandingAddress and Info
Wiser's Canadian whiskey? Check. Grade-A Ontario maple syrup? Check. A cinnamon stick for garnish? Double check. The Rural Road should be a dessert cocktail, but it’s more of a starter to help you take on Hunters' signature fish tacos, breakfast board, and general brunch fare.
NightowlAddress and Info
Nightowl has gained notoriety for its cheap eats, boozy floats, and nostalgic foosball table, but the real attraction is the cocktail list. Drinks are named after different areas in Toronto (ie. Spadina, Augusta, Sugar Beach), and one popular must-try is the Eglinton West -- a "Little Jamaica"-approved nightcap that’s a potent blend of rum and mango with a hint of lime.
New Orleans Frappé
The Cloak BarAddress and Info
The Cloak is mostly hidden underneath Marben, but it’s no secret that its collection of spirits and liqueurs is top-notch. The bartenders will punch up anything, and the New Orleans Frappé, an inviting blend of cocoa butter-washed anisette, orgeat, and cream, is proof.
The Harbord RoomAddress and Info
A trip to The Harbord Room usually leads to a ravenous round of burgers, charred sides, and albacore tuna crudo, but there’s also nothing wrong with going for a drink or two, especially when it’s patio season. The Lady Sniper ($16) and Endless English Summers ($12) are worth a sip, but don’t overlook this traditional Scottish concoction ($13) that uses Auchentoshan 12-Year Scotch, honey, frothed cream, and shaved nutmeg, and dates all the way back to the 1400s.
The Joe Carter
Home Of The BraveAddress and Info
Home Of The Brave’s latest is a grand slam of Marketing 101, but it also happens to be one of the city’s tastiest frozen cocktails. At its core, The Joe Carter is a fun combo of the Blue Bird Slushie (vodka, blue caracao, lemon) and Smasharita Slushie (Tromba, Cointreau, lime juice). And on game day, it hits like a walk-off blast down the left field line.
The Black Hoof Cocktail BarAddress and Info
To keep it simple: the Cocktail Bar at the Black Hoof knows its cocktails. The Jen Agg establishment pours a bunch of classics (Hoof Manhattan, Corpse Reviver #2) and seasonal libations (Griddler, Absinthe Whip), but here, it’s all about the wildcards. The Gold Fashioned is one drink that goes outside the norm: an unprecedented mix of buttered-popcorn brandy, yellow chartreuse, bitters, and Cherry Coke.
Choose your own adventure
Cold TeaAddress and Info
Cold Tea is tucked away in a nondescript part of Kensington, but even so, the bar has turned into a late-night hot spot for dim sum, barbecue pork buns, and hip-hop classics. There’s no shame in asking for a specific drink, but the bartenders throw the rulebook out the window -- be a risk taker.
Kentucky County Punch
The County GeneralAddress and Info
Southern libations are a thing here, and there’s nothing more twangy than the signature punch, made with Wild Turkey, Benedictine, pear brandy, pear bitters, and seasonal fruits.
The Drake HotelAddress and Info
West Queen West
Do yourself a favour and befriend one of The Drake’s resident bartenders. The Maharaja, Sandy De Almeida’s custom treat, is a blend of Havana Club 7-Year rum, pineapple, falernum, and ginger beer. It'll be a smooth revelation in the middle of July.
D.W. Alexander BarAddress and Info
If your yoga urges are turning into an addiction, visit D.W. Alexander. This lounge has made a name for itself as a post-work retreat, and its success can be attributed to its gin-based spin-offs, like the Yoga Mat, shaken with seasonal mixed berry preserves, mint, and lemon juice, and topped with a splash of prosecco.
FIGOAddress and Info
Figo is the type of place where you'll stay for the panna cotta or another helping of wild boar ragu, but it doesn’t do "basic" when it comes to signature cocktails. The Italian restaurant boasts an untraditional list, and at the top is its famous Punch Americano -- a smooth blend of Cocchi Americano, Cocchi Rosa, Bacardi Superior, white wine, white cranberry, and fresh lemon, in a glass ($15) or a decanter ($60) for a party of four.
"Burnt" Pineapple Pisco Sour
Little SisterAddress and Info
Yonge & Eglinton
The Davisville food bar has built a reputation on small plates and Indonesian-Dutch cuisine, but Little Sister's cocktails add a whole new layer to its winning combination. The best drink is the “Burnt” Pineapple Pisco Sour, an Angostura-scorched mix of El Gobernador, Domaine de Canton, egg whites, and charred pineapple honey puree. It has a bit of a kick, so pair it with an order of rendang tacos or Balinese spiced chicken.
The Lockhart Caesar
The LockhartAddress and Info
Caesars? At a Harry Potter-themed bar? It’s true, and you should definitely believe the hype. The Little Portugal spot offers a mean brunch menu and an array of boozy fan fiction (Big Bad Wolf, The Captain Picard), but the signature Caesar stands out: how could you deny a drink made with a mysterious yet not-so-secret ingredient called "death potion"?
The Shore LeaveAddress and Info
Kon Tiki, Julian Altrows and Zach Littlejohn’s boozy island delight, is a mix of Zombie rum, passion-pineapple, absinthe, agave, and coconut foam that’s basically served in a frozen pineapple. Serious question: is it summer yet?
NorthwoodAddress and Info
The Northwood team recently took it upon themselves to make a "boozy but summery bourbon drink" which resulted in the Royal Oak ($13). The spirit-driven original is a 2.75oz mix of Elijah Craig 12-Year, Cocchi Americano, Amaro Nonino, and grapefruit.
Odd Thomas BarAddress and Info
For what it's worth, Odd Thomas is most certainly odd. The beer bar/nightclub space inhabits the second floor of the Mascot Brewery and Beer Garden Complex, and it's all about "getting weird" with adventurous craft brews ($8) and Frisco Sours ($13). Its take on a Quiet Storm ($13) is the perfect late-night chum as Bacardi 8 and red bush vermouth mingle with lemon & ginger syrup.
The One EightyAddress and Info
Cocktails on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre? Why not? The #VIEWS are worth it, and so is the Snow Bunny -- a bourbon-lover's cocktail with bourbon, apple cider, ginger beer, and candied ginger.
PatoisAddress and Info
Patois' cocktail list is full of summer sippers. The Dutty Wine ($14) blends red or white wine with white rum, pineapple juice, lime, and ginger ale, and like other Patois selects, it can be upsized to a teapot "pitcher" ($52).
The Loveless CafeAddress and Info
Named after a My Bloody Valentine album, Loveless specializes in espressos, snacks, and cocktails (with an emphasis on cocktails). One particular standout is the Corvette Summer ($11) -- a tequila-based drink spiked with grapefruit, lime, tonic syrup, and soda.
Kremlin Lemon Breeze
Pravda Vodka BarAddress and Info
Rumen Dimitroff’s Russian-themed vodka house knows a thing or two about vodka (obviously), and this refresher spikes the citron variety with limoncello, prosecco, and fresh lemon juice.
Raca Café & BarAddress and Info
Ivana Raca's Queensway haunt is worth the trip, as its fully outfitted with Bali-inspired decor, an intimate back patio, and dishes that scream French and Italian cuisine. Then there’s Ed Grim’s cocktail menu, which includes juleps that let bourbon and passion fruit puree go on their own little honeymoon.
Parts & LabourAddress and Info
The Dark Bourbon Manhattan ($14), Canadian Tuxedo ($14), and Barrel Aged “Tegroni” ($19) are all hits at Matty Matheson's spot. But go with the dealer’s choice.
Real Sports Bar & GrillAddress and Info
Real Sports is home to all things Jays, Leafs, and Raptors, and so it's only fitting that the drink list is anchored by infamous sports figures. The Puck Bunny is a mix of raspberry vodka, cassis, pomegranate juice, lemonade, and soda, and on a bad night, it can pair well with defeat.
Rhum CornerAddress and Info
Jen Agg is still hell-bent on dismantling the villainous evil empire known as "vodka," but there’s no denying her craft. Rhum Corner is a Caribbean haven that pushes classic Mai Tais ($12) and daiquiris ($13) with the odd piña colada slushie ($8). The Rumhattan ($11) is a favorite, blending up rum, Antica, maraschino, and house bitters.
Hong Kong Martini
Roll Play Bar & LoungeAddress and Info
Roll Play’s Hong Kong Martini ($12) is a creative variation of the Yuanyang/Kopi Cham, and the jolt is real, pairing house-made Earl Grey gin with doses of espresso and evaporated milk. It’s sweeter than sweet, but it’s the perfect pick-me-up for Downtown dwellers that rely on chai tea lattes.
The Shameful Tiki RoomAddress and Info
West Queen West
Rod Moore and Alana Noduega’s Tiki hideout is decked out in bamboo, pufferfish lamps, and a snapshot of South Pacific culture, but the only things that matter are the Bowls. They come in three different varieties -- the Mystery Bowl ($23), the Voodoo Bowl ($50), and the Volcano Bowl ($40) -- and they’re pumped with secret spices, juices, rums, and syrups.
Netflix And Chill
SpiritHouseAddress and Info
Secretly created by the folks behind the Toronto Institute of Bartending, SpiritHouse's version of Netflix And Chill ($14) pairs brown butter and popcorn-infused bourbon with amaro, apple cider, orange reduction, egg white, black walnut bitters, fresh lemon, and house popcorn.
Roses Are Red
Skin + BonesAddress and Info
Skin + Bones banks on group dining and aromatic cocktails such as Roses Are Red, which romances with Cocchi Americano Rosa, gin, and rose liqueur.
Track & FieldAddress and Info
Toronto’s first-ever lawn games bar will make you get the gang together for some shuffleboard, but stay for this nip which supports "Lonerism" with a trio of tequila, ginger beer, and chai tea.
Toronto Temperance SocietyAddress and Info
The Toronto Temperance Society is currently accepting new applications to practice "the art of drinking well," and while new members can attend seminars and tastings, they’ll also be able to indulge in TTS’ exquisite drink list. One definitive gem is Liquid Wisdom -- a fancy house cocktail that intertwines chamomile-infused Scotch with sweet pear liqueur, honey, lemon, egg white, bitters, and absinthe wash.
Apple Pie Sour
The Wickson SocialAddress and Info
To wash down all the snacks at The Wickson, there’s the Apple Pie Sour ($14), which stirs together bisongrass vodka, Calvados, lemon, apple, egg white, and house-made allspice syrup.
The Whippoorwill Restaurant & TavernAddress and Info
The infamous Whippoorwill burger has a way of bringing time to a standstill, but thankfully the Bloordale Village spot has a $12 sidekick called The Swashbuckler. It’s a heady mix of Brugal Anejo rum, Lustau Amontillado sherry, Bowmore 12-Year Scotch, and house-made hazelnut falernum; exotic and smooth.
The WrenAddress and Info
Dennis and Rhonda Kimeda’s Southern-style plates will slow you down, but the Brazilian staple, the Blackberry Caipirinha, will pick you right back up with its nectarous blend of white rum, lime, sugar, and blackberries.
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1. BarChef472 Queen St W, Toronto
2. Bar Begonia252 Dupont St, Toronto
3. Archive 909909 Dundas St West, Toronto
4. The Lowdown276 Augusta Ave, Toronto
5. Bar Isabel797 College St, Toronto
6. The Addisons Residence456 wellington st w, Toronto
7. Macho Tex Mex Radio Bar92 Fort York, Toronto
8. Bar Raval505 College St, Toronto
9. 1034 Queen W. Apt. 2001034 Queen St w,
10. Maple Leaf Tavern955 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
11. Miss Thing's1279 Queen Street West, Toronto
12. Boutique Bar506 Church St, Toronto
13. Library Bar100 Front St W, Toronto
14. Momofuku Nikai190 University Ave, Toronto
15. Montauk765 Dundas St. W., Toronto
16. The Carbon Bar99 Queen St E, Toronto
17. Civil Liberties878 Bloor St W, Toronto
18. Hunter's Landing82 Fort York Blvd., Toronto
19. Nightowl Toronto647 College Street, Toronto
20. The Cloak488 Wellington St W, Toronto
21. Harbord Room89 Harbord St, Toronto
22. Home Of The Brave589 King St W, Toronto
23. Black Hoof Cocktail Bar923 Dundas St W, Toronto
24. Cold Tea60 Kensington Ave, Toronto
25. County General Riverside798 Queen St E, Toronto
26. Drake Hotel1150 Queen St. W., Toronto
27. D.W. Alexander19 Church St, Toronto
28. Figo Toronto295 Adelaide St W, Toronto
29. Little Sister2031 Yonge St, Toronto
30. The Lockhart1479 Dundas st West, Toronto
31. The Shore Leave1775 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
32. Northwood815 Bloor Street W., Toronto
33. Odd Thomas31 Mercer Street, Toronto
34. The One Eighty55 Bloor St. West, 51st Floor, Toronto
35. Patois Toronto794 Dundas Street West, Toronto
36. The Loveless Cafe1430 Dundas St. West, Toronto
37. Pravda Vodka Bar44 Wellington St E, Toronto
38. Raca Cafe Bar & Grill1704 Queen St W, Toronto
39. Parts & Labour1566 Queen St W, Toronto
40. Real Sports Bar & Grill15 York St, Toronto
41. Rhum Corner926 Dundas Street West, Toronto
42. Roll Play10A Edward St, Toronto
43. Shameful Tiki Room1378 Queen Street W, Toronto
44. Spirithouse487 Adelaide St., Toronto
45. Skin + Bones980 Queen St E, Toronto
46. Track & Field860 College St, Toronto
47. Toronto Temperance Society577 College St., Toronto
48. Wickson Social5 St. Joseph St, Toronto
49. Whippoorwill1285 Bloor St., Toronto
50. The Wren1382 Danforth Ave., Toronto
This Queen Street West bar feels like a cocktail laboratory thanks to the jars of bitters and herbs that line the walls. The menu is divided into different categories based on flavor and mood, like sweet & sour, sipping, and modernist. The sultry space is dimly-lit and geared towards the classy cocktail enthusiast.
This stylish lounge in The Annex serves up French comfort food offered with a grazing mentality. Patrons are invited to stop by for a fried egg at breakfast or linger over a cheese board by the bar in the late afternoon before moving to a table for the more substantial dinner menu. Classic and house cocktails are served alongside an excellent French wine menu. Marble-topped tables and a horseshoe oak bar give the place a distinctly Parisian feel, especially when patio seating becomes available in the warmer months.
Joel and Josh Corea, the team behind Ortolan and Pizzeria Libretto, took a Dundas West vintage store and turning it into Archive 909 wine bar, a home for vintages of a different kind. Wine geeks make up the staff, which is good because they happily guide you through the Ontrario bottles on offer, hailing from Beamsville, Jordan and Prince Edward County. In the stark space, all exposed brick and lightly stained wood, the wine stands out all the more. A simple menu of cicchetti (Italian tapas, essentially) further keep the focus on the wine, serving more as a means of filling up to help you drink more than a reason to stop in for a meal.
The Lowdown is a 21st Century speakeasy that can literally be found low down below Torito Tapas Bar. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with ingenuity. The space serves up a smorgasbord of snacks from the restaurant upstairs, including Spanish olives and ham and cheese boards, and the drinks aren’t afraid to get a little artsy. Owned and operated by author Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall, The Lowdown has a menu of seasonal cocktails that pay homage to pulp fiction novels both in name and boozy strength. This little space only has enough room for 35 people, but with live music, stand-up shows, and trivia on tap, it feels as big as any other bar on Augusta.
This Trinity-Bellwoods establishment features a bar menu loaded with unique cocktails and craft beers, and the restaurant portion is serving small plates with Spanish influence. The decor maintains equal European inspiration, from red ambient lighting to wooden support arches and mosaic tile floors. The restaurant accepts reservations for half of their nightly seating, leaving opportunity for spontaneous passersby. The kitchen stays open until 2am, serving a late-night menu that changes daily.
The Addisons Residence is another lounge-meets-club attraction that’s divided into a kitchen, a living room, and a rec room, but the real adventure lies within the hands of mixologists who take their art form very seriously and whip up concoctions like the Zona Rosa, which offsets 1.5oz of tequila blanco with Briottet Triple Sec liqueur, hibiscus agave, and a calculated splash of fresh lime juice.
The Tex-Mex joint in City Place occupies the space that was once Citta, and thanks to design firm Studio Munge, it’s fully decked out in neon lights and arcade classics such as Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man. The main attraction, however, is the enclosed patio and how it goes hand-in-hand with the alcoholic agua frescas (spike 'em with tequila, vodka, gin, white rum, whiskey, or bourbon). If you’re with friends, you may as well order a giant pitcher of the stuff.
There are wine bars you expect, and then there are wine bars that look ripped from one of Antoni Gadui's sketchbooks, and Basque-inflected Bar Raval in Little Italy is of the latter category. The actual bar itself qualifies as a work of art: its curving, sculptural wood undulates and climbs up the walls to form an alien canopy above drinkers' heads. A pinxto menu provides all the toothpicked snacks you could hope for, from salt-cured tuna loin to petit mushroom towers. A thoughtful selection of Spanish wines go down smoothly, but do take care to order one of the specialty sherry pours, complete with background on the bottle history from knowledgable bartenders.
This Montreal transplant is fully outfitted with couches, pool tables, and NBA Jam, but at heart, it’s a club/lounge hybrid that likes to party with specialty cocktails. One popular request is the Cosmo TO, made with hibiscus-infused vodka, thyme-infused Cointreau, lime, and cranberry juice, and is best enjoyed at the equally posh living room table.
Around since 1910, this wood-heavy space has seen many reincarnations, finally getting elevated from its dive bar reputation into a respectable gastropub. The Tavern’s cocktail program was developed by New York barguy/writer Naren Young, so you know the drink listed has been thoughtfully developed. Grab a seat at the bar to sip and relax or enjoy dinner at one of the tables or booths in the dining room.
There are two kinds of tiki bars outside of Hawaii: the divey ones with plastic palm trees and the upscale ones with drinks classier than the standard Mai Tai. Miss Thing's, a bar and restaurant in Parkdale, falls into the latter group. Designed to look like a 1950s hotel lobby in Hawaii, the restaurant serves pan-Asian food like dumplings and pineapple fried rice, plus plenty of rum cocktails infused with hibiscus, coconut, and other tropical flavors.
This high-end cocktail bar offers a diverse and eclectic variety of drinks alongside a curated menu of bar snacks. The venue itself is chic and modern, with intimate lighting and cozy tables. The music is controlled by an in-house DJ and is kept at a volume where conversations don't have to be yelled. If you want some fresh air, take things out front to the spacious patio where you can observe the nighttime energy of Church Street.
Martini bars in hotels is sort of the trend in Toronto. Located in one of city’s most prestigious hotels, the Fairmont Royal York, this library bar has the upscale bar thing down to a science, pouring a wide variety of handcrafted cocktails. When you're done imbibing, you can take a trip to their health club and spa, or dine in one of the hotel's five in-house restaurants.
On the second floor of Momofuku in the Entertainment District, this modern lounge caters to more of a drinking crowd. Inventive cocktails are served in a trendy space with comfortable bar seating and booths by floor-to-ceiling windows. Should you want something to eat, you can order from a menu curated by both the Noodle Bar and Daisho kitchens.
Dustin Keating’s hangout can be a major cocktail tease thanks to its city-wide collabs, guest bartenders, and ever rotating list of features. This warmly lit, modern space in Little Italy has enough industrial hanging bulbs to make the ceiling feel starlit, and a small stage invites live bands and DJs to perform. There is no kitchen, but light bar snacks are available, admittedly outshone by the absolutely spectacular cocktails.
Think of The Carbon Bar in Corktown as a barbecue brasserie. The kitchen revolves around a wood-fire pit that smokes up Southern comfort fare and the usual BBQ standards (brisket, sausage, pulled pork) plus totally unrelated small plates like Korean fried cauliflower, ceviche, and oysters. Located in a former nightclub, the huge space is filled with booth seating and details that nod to its discotheque past, like mixing boards hanging on a wall by the bathroom.
This speakeasy-like bar in Christie Pits has two names -- officially, it's called Civil Liberties, but it's also referred to as The Pineapple Bar, thanks to the pineapple on its outdoor facade. No matter what you call it, the antique-laden bar is a unfussy and welcoming. It doesn't have drinks or menus, instead, you leave your order up to the bartender.
Right near the Rogers Centre, Hunter's Landing is a boho chic sports restaurant that's a reliable choice for pre- or post-game dinner. On the menu is a varied selection of upscale American bar food, including burgers, individual pizzas, flatiron steak, and appetizers like fried calamari and poutine. The two-floor space features floor-to-ceiling windows, wood-paneled walls, and patio seating.
You know when you're looking for a bar that's low-key without being divey, lively without being fratty, and cocktail-oriented without being snobby? Enter Nightowl. The Little Italy bar has a killer cocktail list with drinks named after different neighborhoods in Toronto, and it serves up food that's way better than basic bar cuisine. Expect gourmet grilled cheeses, sliders, and vodka-spiked root beer floats. The space features artwork from local artists, a foosball table and old-school arcade games, and a stage for open mic nights and the like.
The Cloak at Wellington Place is mostly hidden underneath Marben, but it’s no secret that its collection of spirits and liqueurs are top notch. There are both house and classic cocktails in addition to large bottled cocktails and punch bowls for bigger groups. A snack menu of comfort food is available until 2am, when you'll likely still find the bar bustling.
Cocktails and their expert mixologists have carved out a scene in Toronto, with restaurants manned by seriously in-the-know bartenders, and equipped with good cocktails lists to match, supporting the renaissance. This pretty, pink-walled, Harbord Street restaurant might be pretty well-known for its burgers for one, but you can't look past the dessert-like cocktail offerings, like the pineapple cocktail served in shareable portions. And don't forget the dessert options themselves, which include Silicina-style donuts made fresh with ricotta batter and orange zest.
Home Of The Brave dishes up creative twists on American classics, like chicken & waffles served up with spicy maple, or a kentucky fried chicken sandwich served in "fried handshake" form. On par with the trendy menu items, music is played loud and the space is designed in contemporary fashion, complete with a marble bar and "Join or Die" signage. The restaurant also happens to serve one of the city’s tastiest frozen cocktails. At its core, The Joe Carter is a fun combo of the Blue Bird Slushie (vodka, blue caracao, lemon) and Smasharita Slushie (tromba, Cointreau, lime juice), and on game day, it hits like a walk-off blast down the left field line.
To put it simply, this boutique-y bar in Trinity Bellwoods has got you covered when it comes to cocktails. Serving up both classic libations and new twists on old favorites, this cocktail bar and resto is all about attention to detail, whether you're talking about their small plate offerings (charcuterie, bread, pickles, etc.), or their numerous craft cocktails. We like the playful and punny "Gold Fashioned:"its an unprecedented mix of buttered-popcorn brandy, yellow chartreuse, bitters, and cherry coke.
While its location may be a bit off the beaten path (tucked away deep within an urban shopping center), Cold Tea's drinks good enough to turn you into the mallrat you were in middle school. Cut through the commerce and head straight to the cocktails-- if you're feeling gutsy, "choose your adventure" and let the bartender mix you a unique drink from scratch. Cold Tea also scores bonus points for its in-house food option, its very own dim sum cart.
It's a toss up what's better at this South Riverdale establishment: the cocktails or the food. Stop in for a tasty brunch featuring pineapple mimosas and a croque madam, French toast with fried chicken, or a glass of the Southern-inspired Kentucky County Punch (Wild Turkey, Benedictine, pear brandy, pear bitters, and seasonal fruits). Or, just explore the menu any time of day and find a tasty, homestyle original that has your name on it.
Since opening in 1890 as a modest hotel, the Drake has since transformed into a boutique eat, drink, and stay destination. The entire space is designed to symmetrical perfection, with each venue within exuding its own style and attracting a different clientele to the mix, while seamlessly complementing the rest of the hotel. Diners can choose from menus at the Dining Room, Raw Bar, Lounge, Cafe, and Sky Yard, or join the night crowd in the Underground. The Drake is a mecca for culture -- for tourists, West Queen West locals (where the venue is located), and Toronto residents from beyond -- and a good pick for any mood, any day of the week.
Crafted like a gentleman’s study full of leather bound banquettes, stocked walnut bookcases, and bar shelves, this library bar takes every opportunity to pay homage to the 19th-century building’s original tenant: D.W. Alexander, a leather and hides tradesman. Find classic cocktails alongside house creations, including a gin-based D.W. Negroni that’s available by the glass or bottle.
Figo is the type of place that you'll stay for the panna cotta or another helping of wild boar ragu, but it doesn’t do "basic" when it comes to signature cocktails. The sleek Italian restaurant boasts an untraditional beverage list, whose trendiness goes well with the pretty, pastel-colored space marked by royal high ceilings and an open kitchen.
Little Sister is Toronto’s only Indonesian restaurant and the Uptown spot is where to go to fill up on traditional Indonesian eats (or pretend you’re on vacation in Bali). Flavours are bold, cocktails inventive, and the décor is decidedly more Downtown than Uptown. The dinner options are colorfully plated, spice-crusted, and well-paired with one of the restaurant's specialty cocktails -- it's no wonder the space is consistently packed with a trendy crowd.
A Harry Potter-themed bar that’s anything but kitschy, The Lockhart is a haven in Little Portugal for Hogwarts buffs and cocktail nerds alike. The drink menu is organized by spirit, and the magicians manning the bar whip up craft cocktails with thematic names like The Gin Weasley and The Dementor’s Kiss. The food is small bites-oriented, and the cozy brick-walled interior is lined with Mason jars full of potions...or cocktail bitters.
This Danforth East spot is like a tropical getaway, with kitschy tiki decor and a bevy of sunny cocktails. The bar is lined with bamboo, there's at least one fake palm tree, and drinks come adorned with fruity accouterments and the occasional umbrella. The two owners worked together at the beer-centric Only Cafe before opening The Shore Leave, so the menu features local craft beer as much as it does rum punch and daiquiris.
Toronto's Northwood is the kind of place you could spend all day in—sipping their signature cold brew iced coffee in the morning, snacking on sandwiches or charcuterie for lunch, and transitioning to craft cocktails and local beers at night. Its friendly atmosphere invites customers to stay as long as they need, be it for studying, hanging out with friends, or partying (depending on the time of day). The cocktails list is always seasonal and inventive, often utilizing housemade infused spirits and local mixers. An outdoor patio expands the seating area in the warmer months, adding a breezy summer vibe to this casual, cool neighborhood hangout.
For what it's worth, Odd Thomas is most certainly odd. The beer bar/nightclub space inhabits the second floor of the Mascot Brewery and Beergarden Complex, and it's all about "getting weird" with adventurous craft brews ($8) and Frisco Sours ($13). Its take on a Quiet Storm ($13) is the perfect late-night chum as Barcardi 8 and red bush vermouth mingle with lemon and ginger syrup.
Cocktails on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre with amazing views of both the north and south end of the city? Why not? The picturesque sights are worth it and so is the Snow Bunny -- a bourbon’s bourbon with apple cider, ginger beer, and candied ginger. The rest of the aromatic beverage menu is just as inventive, and pairs well with tapas-style appetizers and seasonal mains and desserts.
Located in Trinity Bellwoods, Patois is a true fusion spot that lives up to its name: heavily influenced by Toronto's lively West Indian culture, Patois takes Caribbean flavors and merges them with chef and owner Craig Wong's favorite aspects of Chinese and French fare. The space is fun, with inflatable pool toys lining the ceiling and pops of black, yellow and green alluding to the Jamaican flag. The cocktails are all brimming with topical panache, with fruity flavors and strong liquors.
The Loveless Cafe is one of those effortlessly cool places that serves up the best in beverages, both coffee- and alcohol-based. Named after My Bloody Valentine's seminal album Loveless, the cafe is a meeting spot for in-the-know artistic types who like to linger over lattes and pastries. In the evenings, the Loveless transitions to a bar with a full menu of local beers and specialty cocktails, with weekly specials and featured breweries. A sidewalk patio expands the cafe's seating area in the warm months and is both sunny and dog friendly.
It would be a crime against humanity to come to a Russian themed cocktail bar and and order a drink without vodka in it. Go for a handcrafted mixed cocktail, or opt for a flight of frozen vodkas and pick your poison from there. We especially like the Kremlin Lemon Breeze, a refreshing summertime cooler spiked with limoncello, Prosecco, and fresh lemon juice.
Ivana Raca's Queensway haunt is worth the trip: fully outfitted with Bali-inspired decor, an intimate back patio, and dishes that scream French and Italian cuisine. Then there’s Ed Grim’s cocktail menu, which includes juleps that let bourbon and passionfruit puree go on their own little honeymoon.
Parts & Labor may well be Toronto's hippest gastropub, bringing communal tables, small plates, and tattooed bartenders to the denizens of Queen street. Veteran chef Matty Matheson keeps his food local and seasonal, growing many of his own vegetables and herbs on a rooftop garden above the pub itself. The cocktails are ever-changing as well, with a choice of brand-new signature drinks or updated twists on classics like the Manhattan and Negroni (made here with tequila and renamed a "Tegroni"). You also have the option of asking the bartender to give you the Dealer's Choice: something made especially to your taste.
A haven for all things Jays, Leafs, and Raptors, this Entertainment District sports bar has you covered with classic bar bites -- such as the popular foot-long hot dog wrapped in bacon -- a 39-foot HD big screen, and over 126 draught taps. A list of cocktails is also available, but we suggest the Puck Bunny -- a mix of raspberry vodka, cassis, pomegranate juice, lemonade, and soda.
Rhum Corner is a Caribbean haven that pushes classic Mai Tais and daiquiris with the odd piña colada slushie. The Rumhattan is a favorite, blending up rum, Antica, maraschino, and house bitters, though you're sure to find something to your hankering at this bar's rum list of your dreams. The space is dimly lit, and lined with a Haitian wall mural, with eats like fried plantains and legumes and goat that really drive the tiki bar vibe home.
This board game cafe-turned-high-end bar on Edward Street serves up Hong Kong-inspired cocktails, craft beer, and bar grub in a trendy, red-hued space. The location is semi-hidden, with an entrance positioned on top of a long staircase on the second floor of a building, but the journey is made worth it with indulgent beverages like lychee martinis and the melon liquor-infused cucumber vodka "Geisha."
A tiki bar dedicated to reviving the first wave of tiki popularity from the '30s and '40s, The Shameful Tiki Room is a decidedly un-modern venue (except for their cocktails). No TVs, loud music, or even a telephone distract customers from the flavorful food and signature cocktails. Shameful offers a full list of Polynesian-inspired cocktails, mostly rum-based, but what keeps people coming back are the Bowls, three distinct mystery cocktails that pack a seriously boozy punch in their made-for-sharing ceramic vessels.
This comfortable, dimly lit space has a vintage vibe, with plush black leather furniture and tchotchkes like old globes and black and white photographs. It was secretly created by the folks behind the Toronto Institute of Bartending, so you know the cocktails are fantastic. After all, that's what you're here for.
This industrial Leslieville spot is cavernous and moody with deep colors and enormous art prints. The wine program is the central concept of the restaurant, and in addition to an extensive by-the-bottle selection there are also plenty of options by the glass. The waitstaff has routine training by a sommelier, so you know they're making informed suggestions when recommending food and drink pairings.
Toronto’s first-ever lawn games bar will make you get the gang together for some shuffleboard and makes for a good interactive date-night spot. In addition to the availability of alcohol, here you’ll find two lanes of bocce ball and two lanes of deck shuffleboard that are free for walk-in patrons. Decently priced booze, including cocktails on tap, make this a pocket-friendly night out.
This members-only cocktail lounge hidden above Sidecar Restaurant boasts one of the best selections of liquors in Toronto with an extensive cocktail program that focuses on recipes that date back a century or more, with some newer concoctions thrown in. The look and feel here is old-fashioned, kind of like an upscale speakeasy. And there are house rules to follow, like no phone calls at the bar, no talking to a lady until spoken to, and our favorite: “Do not ever attempt to order a cosmopolitan. You will be asked, politely, to leave.”
From veteran restauranteurs Andrew Carter & Jamieson Kerr comes The Wickson Social, a bright, open dining room serving updated bar classics and impeccable seasonal cocktails. A 26-foot-long walnut bar anchors the room and houses the bartenders, who push out a full menu of drinks based on fresh-squeezed juices, high-end liquors, and house-made syrups. Crunchy, sharable bar snacks highlight the menu, which draws on pub traditions but keeps the food local, changing seasonally based on what's available. A rotating cast of local breweries populate the draft list, and the small-but-powerful wine list is curated specifically to pair well with the gastropub's cuisine.
Though this Bloordale Village spot is most renowned for its brunch menu, glossy red diner booths, whimsical Christmas lights, tasty cocktails, and a late night menu pretty much make this spot a cozy, all-day destination. Everything here is made in-house, from the house-cured bacon to the sausage, to the unique Swashbuckler drink: a heady mix of Brugal Anejo rum, Lustau Amontillado sherry, Bowmore 12-Year Scotch, and house-made hazelnut falernum.
This saloon-style pub on Danforth serves up southwestern style food and cocktails in a western-themed space decked out with wooden floors, barnwood banquet tables, and a wagon wheel chandelier hanging above the bar. Though Dennis and Rhonda Kimeda’s Southern-style plates will slow you down, the Brazilian staple, the Blackberry Caipirinha, will pick you right back up with its nectarous blend of white rum, lime, sugar, and blackberries.