The top 27 bars in Toronto by neighbourhood
Toronto has no shortage of great bars. Whether filled with pinball machines, brewing equipment, retro toys, exotic ingredients, VHS tapes or just some of the happiest drinkers in the city, everything about these bars screams Toronto fun.
Here are my picks for the top bars in Toronto by neighbourhood.
The flashing lights and careening sounds of retro arcade games, some several decades old, draw huge crowds into pub/gaming hall Tilt on weekend nights. Sometimes it’s so busy you have to forgo your chance at playing at all, but you can console yourself with simple beers and bar food with a surprising number of vegetarian options.
At mysterious watering hole Civil Liberties, often known to locals as “pineapple bar” for the pineapple emblem outside in place of any sort of real sign save an awning that reads “this must be the place,” unique ingredients from an apothecary-like bar can be turned into a custom concoction to suit almost any mood.
Popular bar 3 Speed has a cute patio, serves brunch and a bar menu of charcuterie and tasteful but still reasonably priced mains, all in a cushy, intimate atmosphere.
Woody's is a lively bar that may be a little NSFW, but it's a welcome break at the end of the work day if a little explicit video playing in the background of your cocktail hour is your cup of tea.
The cozy yet accommodating The Only Cafe with colourful signage is known for their craft beer selection and the live shows thrown here regularly. You can also get coffee here if caffeine is more your style of buzz.
From local celeb chef Jen Agg comes Cocktail Bar, right across from her spot Black Hoof. Small snacks and upscale tipples can be found here. The only thing this eccentric bar doesn’t serve is vodka.
Farside is a quirky collection of all the favourite things of the owners behind Handlebar in Kensington, designed to be an artists’ hangout that looks kinda like their own living room. Take in DJ sets or VHS film parties as you sip on quirkily named cocktails and munch on kimchi or “birthday cakes.”
Laidback spot Bar with No Name appears to have one of the most obscure hip names ever, but it takes on a Tolkien edge once you realize they host Magic the Gathering tournaments.
Hole in the Wall really earns its name with barely enough room to squeeze between patrons in the ultra-narrow, high-ceilinged space, and has a huge menu of brown liquors, rotating taps featuring local beers, killer bar food like Asian calamari, and brunch.
The Gaslight is great place to be a regular, slinging local craft beer, fun seasonal cocktails, and creative bar snacks like broccoli poutine, homemade chips and dip, as well as charcuterie and curries. There’s a lovely back patio hidden behind here.
Cold Tea is hidden in Kensington’s weird mall, named for the Toronto adolescent tradition of ordering teapots of beer late at night in adjacent Chinatown.
The Addisons Residence is meant to evoke the feeling of a house party at your rich friend’s place while their parents are on vacay, oozing luxury, calm, wealth, and pure entertainment. The “backyard” features cabanas, and four-dollar drink specials reign throughout the week.
Clinton’s, a Bloor stalwart, is perhaps best known as being the host of Choir! Choir! Choir! events. They have regular DJ nights too, and serve typical pub fare like burgers, onion rings and poutine with plenty of vegetarian versions.
There’s a bar on Queen East named for the bartender from The Shining: Lloyd’s. Not nearly as creepy as the bar in the movie, this warm space serves small snacks like hot dogs and patty sandwiches along with their affordable drinks.
Eulalie’s may have a difficult to pronounce name but it’s a standby in this neighbourhood open til two, serving constantly rotating draft beer, local cans and bottles, and great snacks like lamb fries.
Subterranean bar Track & Field is the unlikely place where you’ll find unique lawn games in this part of the city. Do something fun and physical while you’re downing beers and you’re sure to have a night to remember.
Tiny bar Sweaty Betty’s is well known for being crowded with more enthusiastic imbibers than it almost can handle. Beer is the order of the day in this spot which is steps from both bus and streetcar stops making it ideal for end-of-night transpo.
Dried flower garnishes and delicious vermouth in the back, teeny mezcaleria in the front: Pretty Ugly is two-faced in the best way possible, Gremlins figurines poking out from nooks of this darkened room.
BarChef brags that they have 5000 ounces of bitters behind their bar. This dim spot is the perfect place to while away the night over drinks in this trendy area.
After-dinner drinks can be had at Hi-Lo Bar in this neighbourhood, where they serve craft beer, and also have movie screenings and restaurant pop-ups.
Brewing their own beer in a hip space lush with hanging plants, clean light wood and white paint, Bandit Brewery is serving flights and pints of their own suds along with snacks like deep fried cheese curds.
Clocktower Bar befits this classy neighbourhood, an upscale cocktail bar offering from the people behind chic cafe/bar Boxcar Social.
Newcomer to the brewery scene Shacklands took up residence near Rainhard in an industrial area, and not only is jam packed with great Belgian-style beer but also a piano, pinball machine and tons of retro toys.
From the moment you hear the name Apt 200, you feel like you’re being invited to an exclusive house party in Montreal, and that’s the vibe this bar exudes.
Located under La Carnita, Good Fortune has a speakeasy vibe and a buzzing atmosphere, serving food until midnight.
Raiders is an eSports bar: that means that instead of getting shoved by overzealous sports fans, here you can zone out with a brew and some pub snacks and be your own virtual quarterback.
The more energetic crowd are proud to call the multiple-storey bar The Pilot home on busy nights, ordering buckets of Corona and shots of tequila on the spacious rooftop patio with plenty of seating.
Jesse Milns at Eulalie's Corner
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