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Best of Toronto

The Best Whisky Bars in Toronto

Posted by Jen Hunter / September 18, 2015

whisky bars torontoThe best whisky bars in Toronto have been something of an unfashionable bunch recently, what with the resurgence in rum and the bourbon trend taking all the brown spirit headlines for the last couple of years. It doesn't help that Scotch whisky is one of the most expensive spirits in the world. That said, nothing really matches Scotch for complexity, so get thee to a whisky bar.

Here are the best whisky bars in Toronto.

The Feathers Pub

The Feathers Pub

This Upper Beaches pub is the closest you'll get to the real deal, at least without flying across the Atlantic. Since 1981 this brass and red velvet-clad gem has been pouring from a huge selection of drams to its thirsty regulars. With over 400 whiskies from over 100 distilleries, there's plenty to choose from, but if you get a bit lost navigating their massive list, they have specially designed 'whisky tour' flights to give you an overview of the main regions. More »

Via Allegro

Via Allegro

It's hard to discuss Scotch without referring to the unbelievable selection at this institution on the Queensway. Via Allegro not only has one of the best wine cellars in Toronto, but easily the largest whisky selection in the GTA, with over 1000 bottles, including an outrageous Macallan vertical dating back to 1937. Winner of countless awards, including Whisky Magazine's 'Best Scotch List in the World', if Via Allegro don't have it, then I have no idea who does. More »

The Caledonian

The Caledonian

Undoubtedly the best Scottish bar in the city, The Caledonian's reputation isn't solely down to its impeccable whisky list and tasting nights. Proprietor Donna Wolff is the consummate host, making guests feel like a million bucks first, and worrying about the whisky later. With over 200 bottles on hand, they also provide tasting notes to make the experience a bit more accessible. It's also the best place for women who love whisky, hosting regular all-girl sampling nights. More »

SpiritHouse

SpiritHouse

Sadly, the Montreal outpost of this bartender's playground didn't last long, but the Toronto spot is still going strong. It might not have the largest whisky list mentioned here, but SpiritHouse does service right, with 2oz pours, and an excellent range of international and Canadian whiskies. Affiliated with the Toronto Institute of Bartending, the staff are all enthusiastic and knowledgeable as well. More »

The Emmet Ray

The Emmet Ray

A little further up the street from the Caledonian on College is this outstanding jazz hole, run by avid whisky enthusiast Andrew Kaiser. There's over 75 scotch whiskies to choose from out of a huge list of over 240 whiskies altogether, and few would argue that they are the most reasonably priced anywhere in town. If you like a little live music with your dram, this is your spot. More »

Allen's

Allen's

Open since 1987, Allen's has been synonymous with excellent food and whisky on the Danforth, although it's actually a part of Joe Allen's original New York watering hole. There's well over 100 Scotch whiskies to choose from, and one of the best burgers in the city if you need something to fill your belly as you navigate the bottles. More »

CC Lounge

CC Lounge

Located on Front Street near St. Lawrence Market, CC Lounge is the flashiest spot on this list by some distance, with go-go dancers in cages to keep you entertained while you sip, if that's your thing. CC Lounge is, in actual fact, more of a Canadian whisky bar than a single malt joint, with the Scottish stuff relegated to 'International' towards the back of the menu. That said, they have bottle service if you have the pockets for it. More »

The Library Bar

The Library Bar

Tucked deep in the bowels of the Royal York, the Library Bar has a fantastic whisky service to complement its old school charm. Service is spotless, glassware is gorgeous, and the short but sweet list is well-picked, with whiskies divided by flavour profile rather than region. The kicker? You can buy a bottle and keep it behind the bar here, so there's a dram waiting for you whenever you need it. More »

Char No 5

Char No 5

Named for the sweet-spot in the seven point char scale for toasting the inside of whiskey barrels (they age best this way), this new bar located in the Delta Hotel on Simcoe is actually a Canadian Whisky bar, with a Canadian theme coursing through its veins. It's fitting that a post that began with lamenting the waning popularity in Scotch would finish with a bar entirely dedicated to a different spirit altogether. More »

Discussion

15 Comments

LV / September 18, 2015 at 02:13 pm
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Why is Habit's missing form this list? They have the best selection of whiskey and scotch in the city!
Ian / September 18, 2015 at 04:48 pm
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Wait, is this best Whisky bars, or best Scotch Whisky bars?

Plenty of other types of whisk(e)ys out there.
v79 / September 18, 2015 at 06:11 pm
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I had heard good things about the Emmet Ray, and it was rather reasonable price wise, but the bartenders didn't seem to be knowledgeable enough to recommend anything out of the ordinary or special, and the atmosphere was just about the dullest I've ever seen in a Toronto bar.
Johnny / September 18, 2015 at 09:38 pm
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Bourbon is whiskey. What?
Gonzo / September 19, 2015 at 08:52 am
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Until bars in Toronto are allowed to free pour, the whisky experience at bars will suck.

Who wants to pay $12 for dick dribbles that amount to two good sips at best?
Bourbon / September 19, 2015 at 08:56 am
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Is the devils drink..... ya, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Nothing good happens after dipping into bourbon.
Jizanthapuss / September 19, 2015 at 09:17 am
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Via Allegro is really more like one of the best Whisky *Museums* in Toronto. No one I know could afford a pour from 990 of those 1000 bottles. The 60 year Macallan vertical is great in theory, but It would cost you an entire paycheck for 4 one ounce samples. The last time I was at SpiriHouse, there was a paltry selection of LCBO curated whiskies, mostly from Diageo. A mere shadow of the promising selection it had on its opening night. The Feathers is the only real deal here, complete with a rotating cask ale. Like every good British pub, the food is horrible.
rob / September 25, 2015 at 02:11 am
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Why isn't habits on this list? They got the 2nd largest whickey selection in thecity! U new age food "critics" are lost!
jroc / September 25, 2015 at 05:28 pm
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these comments make me hate the internet and never want to go to bars.
Whiskychick / September 27, 2015 at 01:31 am
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Habits has nearly 400 bottles - why isn't it on this list?
yes replying to a comment from Gonzo / October 1, 2015 at 08:51 am
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^This!^
Black Bear Hartford / November 5, 2015 at 12:14 am
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Sports bar, restaurant Black Bear Hartford is beer offer daily new in party bar.
Alejandro / November 24, 2015 at 01:22 am
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The bar that I like is Via Allegro , for they are many very pretty and single girls .
izmit escort / January 19, 2016 at 06:49 pm
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I can not drink this drink sounds too heavy
Pat bolduc / February 26, 2016 at 09:23 pm
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Check the whiskey list at the nee Barhop on peter st. Hell of a selection and cheapest in town for top shelf.
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