Tiki Bar Toronto

The top 5 tiki bars in Toronto

Tiki bars and more generally tiki culture originated in the 1930s, with the opening of legendary California bar Don the Beachcomber, followed a few years later by rival spot Trader Vic's.

Both bars were trying to recreate Polynesian culture for the many service men, who, upon returning from duty in the South Pacific, had a hankering for something different.

The exotic flavours and syrups associated with tiki cocktails fit the bill perfectly, and Donn and Vic waged war as they attempted to best each other's creations, each new drink becoming stronger and more elaborate.

Tiki bars fast became a popular tropical retreat, providing an elaborate and fun way to experience a different culture that many were not familiar with.

After going out of fashion in the 70s, tiki was once again brought back in the 90s, when kitsch vintage products and lifestyles were once again popular.

Toronto was no exception, and a number of spots, like the now defunct Sutra clad themselves in bamboo to celebrate the culture. 

In more recent years, a number of proper tiki bars have opened in Toronto along with some patio offshoots.

Here are my picks for the top tiki bars in Toronto.

Shameful Tiki Room

This Parkdale favourite goes the distance with its tiki theme with bamboo fixtures, pufferfish lamps and a long list of drinks with names like the Jungle Bird, Chi-Chi and the mammoth Mystery Bowl with multiple straws so you can share with all your friends. 

The Shore Leave

This Danforth East destination wins overs locals with its tiki-inspired cocktails, Jungle Juice punch bowl and drinks served in frozen pineapples. 

Miss Things

This Polynesian-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar in Parkdale is a far cry aesthetically from Shameful Tiki across the street but fried rice and jackfruit gets plated in a pineapple and the bar serves daiquiris in coconut shells.

Bovine Sex Club

Toronto's original rock, punk and metal club on Queen West transforms its seasonal rooftop patio into a tiki bar where rum based drinks are vice of choice.

Chula Taberna Mexicana

This Leslieville Mexican restaurant near the corner of Gerrard and Jones sports an outdoor tiki bar in the warmer months where you can sip tequila, sangria and margaritas.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns at Shameful Tiki Room. With contributions from Jen Hunter.

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