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Best of Toronto

The Best Hotel Bars in Toronto

Posted by Jen Hunter / April 10, 2015

hotel bars torontoThe best hotel bars in Toronto used to be one of the few places you could go to get a decent cocktail, with bartenders who had years of experience, plush surroundings, and the budget to splash on the really good bottles of scotch and cognac. While that's no longer the case, there's still something really enjoyable about sweeping through the lobby of a grand hotel to grab a drink.

These are the best hotel bars in Toronto.

See also:

The best hotels in Toronto
The best cocktails in Toronto
The best martinis in Toronto

Photos by Jesse Milns and Rick McGinnis.

Royal York Library Bar

Royal York Library Bar

The Library Bar is a hotel bar in the most traditional sense - decor is opulent, if a little dated. There might still be carpeting on the floor, but the whisky list (with modern drams from unusal spots like India) shows that they're keeping up with the times in other ways. Still, the real reason to go is for the afternoon tea on the weekends - although tea is served, it often becomes a boozy, cocktail laden affair. If you're attending in the summer, they'll even include a tour of the rooftop garden and bee apiary as part of the experience. More »

Park Hyatt Roof Lounge

Park Hyatt Roof Lounge

The Roof Lounge is a fairly small space, seating no more than around 30 people, and about dozen or so on its patio. However, travelling up the elevator at the Hyatt to this little oasis is a journey in itself, and serves to remove you entirely from the woes of the city, leaving you with breathtaking views and luxe furnishings. Resident bartender Joe Gomes has been pouring cocktails there since 1962, and has a wealth of stories to tell, as well as one of the most well-practised martinis in the game. More »

The Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel

For the hip set, there's no hotel bar worth mentioning above the Drake, which actually comprises two bars. The lounge downstairs is huge, and plays host to live music and other events. In the summer, the fun extends up to the Sky Yard, a huge rooftop space that might not match the views of the Hyatt, but creates a more casual party vibe in which you'll feel at home in jeans and a t-shirt. The cocktail program is also one of the best in the city, with many of Toronto's finest bartenders either having cut their teeth here before making a name in the restaurant scene, or are still working the wood to this day. More »

Thompson Hotel Roof Lounge

Thompson Hotel Roof Lounge

One of the newer players in the Toronto hotel game, the Roof Lounge is an exclusive experience reserved almost entirely for guests and residents of the Thompson. Decked out with an infinity pool, cabanas, and a fantastic view of the city, it's worth the effort to get in and rub shoulders with the King West glitterati. Offering bottle service and demanding smart evening wear turn this place from a mere bar into something more akin to a private club, and come TIFF season, it's a club everybody wants to be in. More »

The Gladstone Melody Bar

The Gladstone Melody Bar

A few blocks west of the Drake is the Melody Bar. Like the Drake, it also plays host to a range of live music, inexpensive snacks, and cocktails, but it's a slightly more cosy affair (though the bar can accommodate over a hundred), with trivia nights and more than the occasional event of interest happening, like the annual Come Up To My Room art takeover of the whole hotel, which converts the space into a gigantic house party. More »

Beverly Hotel Rooftop Bar

Beverly Hotel Rooftop Bar

The newest (and smallest) entry on this list, this tiny boutique hotel in the heart of Queen West's shopping district boasts only 18 guest rooms, but a gorgeous little patio on the roof that makes for an escape from the bag-laden throngs that bustle below. Signature cocktails are well-crafted, and the view to the street is worth the trip alone. In less forgiving climes, the bar downstairs is also a snazzy affair. More »

Ritz Carlton DEQ

Ritz Carlton DEQ

The sprawling patio at the back of the Ritz is lit dramatically with chic modern firepits, creating a brooding and stylish space that looks better and better as the sun sets. DEQ also offers an afternoon tea service with sandwiches and litre pots of tea. However, as mentioned, it's better to enjoy DEQ in the late evening, once the post-work rush has settled down and the servers can give you a bit more attention. More »

Four Seasons D Bar

Four Seasons D Bar

Probably the most sumptuous room on this list, this brand new space is all light wooden accents and leather furniture, making for the kind of space you'd take someone you really want to impress. Although the cocktails at the relocated Four Seasons bar are a step-up in terms of price ($18), it's all offset by the complimentary nuts and snacks as you imbibe. If you are still hankering for something more substantial, the bar menu is overseen by celebrated chef Daniel Boulud, whose restaurant is adjacent. More »

Royal York Station

Royal York Station

Back to the Royal York for the last space on our list, York Station. An odd little space that's not even featured on the Royal York's website, this tiny bar feels like a time machine into the 1970's, and is only open during the day (until 7pm). It's modeled after a railway car, and even features a model train running around the ceiling. Since the closure of the commuter bar in Union station, this is the last of Toronto's bar catering to those about to jump on a train, and is well worth a visit if you find yourself on the receiving end of a delayed journey. More »

Discussion

7 Comments

Rob / April 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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If you like Mad Men, I think you'll like the Library Bar. I love it. It's a great place to have a drink.
Greg / April 10, 2015 at 01:08 pm
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Love York Station - great little bar!
old school? replying to a comment from YEahH!! Old school for a change / April 11, 2015 at 08:50 am
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"over-flavoured". Do you need a vodka soda and a little rest after that rant?
Sean / April 11, 2015 at 09:39 am
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I agree with old school nice to see this for a change.
AL / April 11, 2015 at 09:46 am
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You can't fake the skills of a real experienced bar tender by dressing up in paper boy costume prenteding you've got 100 years of service and ignoring and pissing on how to make a classic drink that you need to reference in a book so you can memorize your own shitty mixologist passion fruit concoctions!!
Josh / April 11, 2015 at 09:52 am
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Hotel guests deserve the best so the bar tenders are usually exceptional and knowledgeable without a pretentious bullshit.
The Drake / April 12, 2015 at 10:04 pm
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I went there for a drink with friends after finishing dinner elsewhere and decided to have a "mans drink" can't remember the name of the drink but it tasted like everyone from the night before diffused their cigarette butts and cigars into my drink, the smell alone was like poison gave me a gag reflex and instant headache. I went ahead to take a sip which literally was dipping the tip of my tongue in the glass, to instantly have to suck on my friends ice cubes in his drink to get the taste out of my mouth! Never.....ever have I had such a horrible drink,my stomach for at least five days was not right from just a dip of the tongue!! Who the hell puts a drink like that on a menu???

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