You want to leave Toronto with stories, and not the kind that everyone else has. That means foregoing the popular spots and instead venturing off the beaten path towards some of the more unique bars in Toronto. A big benefit of being a multicultural and highly creative city are the bar/resto concepts. And you have a ton of choice here.
Vatican Got Shop — A Religious Experience
The trip from the Anndore to Leslieville’s a bit of a long one, but so worth it for the experience at the Vatican Gift Shop. The décor has a distinct religious feel, the cocktails are fun and interesting, and the pizza is godly in its goodness. They do live music from time to time and always recommend starting off with a Hail Mary, which in this case is a shot of Cappo Cappo and Fernet Menta.
Mahjong — A Portal to Asia
If you saw Crazy Rich Asians, you know the cultural affinity to Mahjong. This out-of-the-way spot in DuWest takes the spirit of that game and translates it into a drinking and eating experience. The nibbles are authentically Chinese, the drinks are authentically delicious and the place is dripping with high style.
Roywoods — The Tunnel to Fun
Behind the famous Ossington Avenue dinner spot is a little hallway. At the end of that hallway is a little door. Behind that door is a little bar that has yet to be over-commercialized by the crowds that descend on the strip every weekend. If you’re going for a bit of quiet on an otherwise raucous evening, this is the place.
Bar Batavia — North Toronto’s Little Secret
From the Anndore, Yonge and Eglinton’s about as far north as you’d want to venture for a drink. But if you’re going to head up that way, stop in at this little gem on the strip next to Little Sister. The food selection is limited, but it’s perfect for priming before dinner.
Cold Tea — The Secret Word
“Cold Tea” is what you order in Toronto’s Chinatown if you want a beer at three in the morning. This out-of-the-way spot takes its name from that uniquely Toronto phrase, but here you can order whatever you want. Alternatively, you can ask the bartenders to whip you up something unique. They’re known for their creativity.
Escobar — Password Protected
Most of the trendy people in town know Baro as the place to eat on King Street West. But they probably don’t know about Escobar, the haunt upstairs. You actually need a password to get in, but once you’re in, you’re in for a treat. Be sure to take a few pics of the “Pablo Loves You” sign to prove you were there.
LoPan — Late Night Action
Quaint but classy, this little bar is above Dailo, one of Toronto’s best Asian restaurants. LoPan’s sophisticated décor is a favourite for the city’s tastemakers. You’re bound to run into many of the top chefs here.
SP184 — Truly A Hidden Gem
Tucked away in an alley off Ossington Avenue, this inconspicuous joint has barely a marking on the door and barely an ounce of design inside. But that’s the point, because the food and booze are the stars of the show.
The Cloak — Bar in a Bar
Marben on Wellington is where the trendiest of trendy go, but even many of them don’t know about this speakeasy. You’ll feel super smart as you walk past the “insiders” on your way to the ultimate hidden downtown bar.