underground bars

The top 10 underground bars in Toronto

Underground bars in Toronto are some of our city’s worst kept secrets. Running the gamut from dives to music venues to cocktail bars, here are some places to hide out from the world, tuck into some tasty drink choices, and maybe even enjoy a little unexpected entertainment.

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

Drake Underground

This music venue beneath the drake hotel on West Queen West has regular events. You’ll shell out a lot for even a beer these days, but the programming is still top notch.

The Libertine

This bar on Dundas West is marked only by a palm reading sign and clumps of people gathered outside on weekends, and once you get downstairs you might actually a get a tarot reading.

Bistro 422

A rite of passage familiar to many in Toronto, you can still get the cheapest cocktail pitchers at this dive named for its address in Little Italy. 

Junction City Music Hall

This music venue with shows several nights a week located in the Junction neighbourhood it’s named for brings the intimate folksy vibes in a darkened room down a set of stairs.

Unlovable 

This charming dive serving beer and bourbon tucked away down a set of steps on the Dundas West strip somewhat secretly often hosts a live DJ. No requests, though.

Track & Field 

Underground is the last place you’d expect to be playing lawn games, but that’s exactly what goes down at this bar in Little Italy.

Dakota Tavern

This reputable country bar at Dundas and Ossington always has an incredible honky-tonk dive atmosphere thanks to its below-ground digs and folksy live acts.

Pong Bar

The sound of click-clacking ping pong balls echoes from a set of stairs inside Walrus Pub in the Financial District, as there’s actually a full-on ping pong bar under the restaurant. It even connects directly to the PATH.

The Cavern Bar

It feels like you’re drinking in a brick-walled catacomb at this bar underground at Church and Adelaide, and even though the space is tight there’s actually frequent live music here.

Bambi’s

This hotspot with a lively dancefloor and a DJ booth right next to the bar lurks moodily underground at the corner of Dundas and Dovercourt.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Dakota Tavern


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