The Best New Bars in Toronto, 2014
The best new bars in Toronto for 2014 came in all shapes and sizes, each of them bringing something new to Toronto's drinking scene. While some of the usual neighbourhoods saw new additions, it was a pleasant surprise to see many of the city's best bars opening up further away from the downtown core. It's all a good sign that the city is spreading out and becoming bigger.
Here are the best new bars in Toronto that opened in 2014.
See also: The top 10 new pubs in Toronto for 2014
Opening last spring at Bloor and Symington, this cozy spot from Megan Jones and Tim Pritchard is the kind of local you’re happy to spend all night in. Cocktails are downplayed (though they’re also fantastic) in favour of craft beers and wine. Garth Legree’s menu of comforting snacks and plates suits the inviting atmosphere perfectly, but the real reason to stay is the hospitality - you'll feel like a personal guest of Megan and Tim. It’s enough to make you feel all fuzzy inside.
This new music venue has been attracting the Junction’s hippest. Ben and Jack Wilkinson, of Hole in The Wall, have filled an obscure subterranean box with pinball tables and vintage curios, eclectic live music, craft beer, and movie nights with matching dinners. Bringing together elements from many of the city’s best bars looks like a recipe for success so obvious it shouldn’t work — but naturally, it does.
When the guys behind the relentlessly popular 416 Snack Bar announced they were opening a second location in Chinatown, expectations were high - and People’s Eatery hasn’t disappointed. With Jewish deli classics and east Asian comfort snacks nestling side-by-side together on the menu,hip hop blaring through the speakers, and an upstairs tasting menu-focused dining room, you’d be forgiven for thinking this place was more of a trendy restaurant than a bar - but you won't draw a second glance by treating this place as a straight-up watering hole.
The brainchild of Chantecler’s Jonathan Poon, Bar Fancy has fit very comfortably into any self-respecting West Queen West bar crawl’s repertoire. With snacks straight out of the 70s, like Devils on Horseback or artichoke dip with Ritz crackers, and a short but well-picked list of beers and wines, there’s a sort of snappy and slick element to Bar Fancy. (Just remember that the door is around back.)
Cocktail aficionados rejoice! This mixologist’s dream performs just about every bartending trick one could stuff up their sleeves - from centrifuges and evaporators to ice machines that gently vibrate the bubbles out for crystal-clear cubes, they’ve got it all. Drinks are, as one might expect, absolutely amazing, but the service leaves any pretension firmly at the door.
At Bloor and Dovercourt, this craft beer emporium from Tamara Wise (Bellwoods Brewery) also stocks a mean selection of cheeses and sodas. The place plays host to monthly fiction readings and ‘post-a-letter’ writing nights, among other community-oriented events. It’s a lovely addition to the burgeoning Bloorcourt scene.
Leslieville has seen an explosion of great bars and restaurants in the last couple of years, and this tiny spot at Queen and Carlaw can add to that list. Adorned with vinyl (both covers and records), and embracing a rock’n’roll / tiki ethos, it feels almost like an east-end Sweaty Betty’s. The drinks are dirt cheap too, which never hurts. Oh, and they serve up peameal sandwiches from Rashers.
The Gaslight aside, there’s not many spots on this list with a patio. Thankfully, this east end cafe/bar hybrid has a gorgeous one, and it’ll be tough to get a seat on it once the warm weather returns. Serving pastries and coffee during the day, the bar side comes out at night, with stacked-up Caesars and classic cocktails galore. Food is kept simple, with pickles, charcuterie, and dip platters to keep snackers
Nick, Cole, and David — the three guys who made ordering a cocktail so much fun at Salt have a place to call their own, and it’s a doozy. Adopting a Casablanca design ethic, they’ve built an elegant and stylish room, and given themselves enough space behind the bar to get really playful with the drinks. Forgotten classics are unearthed, Tiki madness is embraced, and charcuterie is sliced. Bloor and Ossington is lucky to have them.
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