east end nightlife toronto

A guide to nightlife in Toronto's east end

The east end has notoriously been overshadowed by the west in terms of nightlife. With the west holding currently popular restaurants, bars and venues, the east tends to get the short end of the stick most are considering their weekend plans.

However, the east has its gems, and we've compiled a guide capturing what exciting experiences the east end offers. From cocktail bars to pubs, the east end thrives in its nightlife.

The east end can be broken down into three major streets where nightlife thrives: The Danforth, Gerrard St. and Queen St. E.

Here's a breakdown of the best places to hit up on the east end.

The Danforth

Dominated by pubs, retrp and grill bars from Mom's Basement to The Wren, the strip offers a taste of legacy establishments. If you're looking for a night filled with pitchers of Labatt 50 or Moosehead, with a few sliders, the Danforth is the place to be. 

east end nightlife toronto

Photo by Jesse Milns at The Wren.

At Eva's Bar and Restaurant, they break the conventional pub experience with Chinese and Greek food served alongside traditional diner foods. Up the street at Linsmore Tavern, you can order cocktails and beers from their set-list-inspired menu, while listening to live music. 

Much like the west, this part of the east holds many pool bars that cater to a laid-back and intimate night with friends. The Rusty Nail Pub, Rails and Ales and Moonlight Pub are just three of the pool bars on the strip.

Prices for pool range from free to $3.50 a round. 

Gerrard St. E. 

If you find yourself on Gerrard St. E, you're going to experience an abundance of new flavours and tastes. Dominated by cocktails, Gerrard has evolved over the years and is slowly becoming a popular weekend strip to explore. 

Starting at Poor Romeo, located at 1029 Gerrard St. E, and sip on their tangy and sour Gin Lizzy ($13), composed of Beefeater gin, chartreuse and egg whites. If you want a deeper and sweeter flavour, Raspberry Beret ($14) is infused with bourbon, fresh raspberries and lime. 

Poor Romeo also has an extensive selection of beers from their fizzy and sweet Left Field Black Cherry ($7) to their classic Blood Light Pale ($7).

east end nightlife toronto

Photo by Hector Vasquez at Poor Romeo.

The bar also gives you their take on what Ruby Soho ($14) - a bar located on King St. W. - would taste like if it were a drink. It's made from Lot 40 mixed with Port-Absinthe and angostura bitters and tastes exactly like what the bar feels like: to be out of your comfort zone yet still ordering a second round.

Gerrard also houses bars such as The Dive Shop, East End Vine and Bar Habana. The Dive Shop offers a grand selection of cocktails, from their signature Delilah's Moon ($14) with hints of hibiscus tea and lemon to their classic Sangria surf ($14), their take on sangria with the addition of vodka. 

Queen St. E.

Last but not least, Queen East. While Queen West has spent its post-lockdown months thriving with patio season and the popularity of the Ossington strip, the east hasn't performed as well.

But the east end has a plethora of gems that shouldn't be missed. 

The Comrade holds its place on Queen East as an iconic spot to spend your weekend. The bar itself takes you out of Toronto and throws you into the heart of a rustic tavern from the 18th century, mixed with love for oysters. 

The Comrade bar

Photo by Hector Vasquez at The Comrade.

Pair your half dozen oysters ($18) with their Hunter's Choice ($16), a cocktail that infuses Cynar and Cocchi Americano. Be sure to make it before 7 p.m. to get their happy hour specials and half-off on oysters.

Queen East has a theme of dimly lit rustic bars that give off a Prohibition-era look. From Goods and Provisions, known for their unpretentious cocktail selection to Aura with its theatrical drinks and snack plates.

If you're looking for a space that offers a unique selection of cocktails and wine, Chez Nous is the spot to be. The wine bar offers a selection of Ontario wine, from a Meldville sauvignon blanc ($67/bottle) to Ravine cab franc ($55/bottle).

For its cocktails, there's everything from the Kir Royale ($15), a sweet mix of champagne and sparkling wine to Limewire ($17), a jalapeno-infused tequila with hibiscus syrup. The latter is sure to test your taste buds in the best way possible.

The east end isn't dead and deserves to be put on a pedestal much like the west. As time progresses, the city is sure to reclaim the east and mark it as a centre for nightlife.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Poor Romeo. 

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