The top 5 new cocktail bars in Toronto
This year has seen some great additions to Toronto's cocktail bar scene. Not only did the city witness the rise of a new crop of Tiki bars, but the scene diversified to include restaurant-bar combinations and must-hit spots north of Bloor.
Here are my picks for the top new cocktail bars in Toronto.
Operating as a holding bar for Patrick Kriss' highly celebrated new fine-dining restaurant, the bar at Alo merits a visit in its own right, largely due to the fantastic bar team led by John Bunner (Byblos). The short list isn't afraid to play with top shelf ingredients. If you're after an Armagnac Old Fashioned, this is your place.
Shameful Tiki Room
Rod Moore's Vancouver import is a cocktail history buff's dream. Perfectly recreating the post-war glory years of Tiki is no mean feat, requiring serious attention to detail and a slavish commitment to obscure recipes. Thankfully, Rod's found a dedicated partner in Alana Noduega (Harbord Room) to ensure his West coast success isn't lost in translation.
Track & Field
The guys behind this College Street spot have a legitimate sensation on their hands: a lawn games cocktail bar that offers Bocce Ball alongside Jesse Borg's excellent (and cheekily-named) libations. It's a pretention-free party spot, so you'll feel just as much at home tossing back a tallboy as sipping from a vintage coupe.
Finally, a cocktail bar that places Toronto on the world stage. Grant van Gameren's pinxto sequel to Bar Isabel was always going to be the talk of the town, but his partnership with bartenders Mike Webster and Robin Goodfellow has been a revelation. There's even a commitment to offering lower booze cocktails for those who'd like to imbibe before 5pm, but can't get too buzzed.
Occupying the space above Davisville's Indonesian snack bar Little Sister, Bar Batavia has already established itself as one of the city's top spots north of St Clair. Serving up Dutch-Indo snack fare alongside Jeremy Walker's refined cocktails featuring the spirit du jour in the form of rum, it's a fabulous addition that hopefully helps break up the West end monopoly on cocktail venues.
Photo of Alo by Jesse Milns.
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