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Best Places to Drink in Toronto

December 6, 2018

By Dick Snyder | Journalist and Co-founder of Drink Toronto

Toronto is an ever-growing city with awesome new hotels, a killer food scene and no end of activities to do downtown, from shopping to escape rooms, bowling to ping pong… or our favourite... just eating and drinking. It is also quickly earning a top-notch reputation as a destination with a fantastic cocktail culture (move over Vancouver and Montreal!).

Whether you’re looking for a casual afternoon drink, or an entertaining evening sipping cocktails with friends, Toronto offers a great selection of places to drink, with a wide variety of atmospheres from posh to funky and back again.

When determining what the best places to drink in Toronto are, it’s not always just about the cocktails — decor, atmosphere, live music, location and the food offerings can really make a place stand out.

With so many spots to choose from, deciding where to go can be tough. That’s where we — the experts — come in.

cheers - best places to drink in Toronto

We’ve narrowed them down and created this list of the best places to drink in Toronto. We’ve spent many years researching so we can guarantee you’ll love these spots! Trust us… we drink for a living.

Launched earlier this year, the Winebar at the venerable Senator turns the second floor of this historic 1860s building into an authentic Parisienne-styled bistro appointed brilliantly with period decor items, including a Prohibition-era bar from Cleveland. A wide-ranging offering of classic cocktails matches nicely with late night snacks — try the Spanish tortilla with sundried tomato tapenade.

Drink: Sure it’s a wine bar, but the cocktails are top notch. The Senator 75 ($16) is a riff on the classic French 75, with London Dry Gin, Dubonnet Rouge, strawberry, fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lemon juice, honey, orange blossom water and champagne.
Tip: Nightly musical entertainment is intriguingly curated by Juno-award winning blues pianist Julian Fauth. Stay late, enjoy delicious snacks and cocktails, and imagine your hanging out in Montparnasse.

Newly renovated, Momofuku Kojin offers fab views of the city through the floor to ceiling windows. Featuring a fantastic new menu with an emphasis on beautiful beef, seafood and delicious flatbreads. It also serves the best hot sauce in town! Serving boozy cocktails, Momofuku Kojin is perfect for hunkering down from a winter wonderland.

Drink: The Dress Flannel ($20) featuring Zacapa rum, smoked maple syrup and grapefruit bitters.
Tip: The corn flatbreads ($7 to $17) are killer value and are available in a variety of ingredient configurations. Each is a generous sharing dish in its own right. We love the Niagara ham ($17) with pickled cherries.
smoked old fashion - best places to drink in Toronto

Northern Maverick

Sure it’s technically a brewpub but Northern Maverick’s intense focus on cocktails and wines makes it an all-around star for all sorts of quality imbibing. If you’re hoping to catch the game while quenching your thirst, Northern Maverick offers screens for sports that aren’t too intrusive in case that’s not your bag.

Drink: The Smoked Old fashioned ($15) is amazing! Featuring Buffalo Trace Bourbon, housemade spiced maple syrup and Angostura bitters.
Tip: Go for Hoppy Hour, Monday to Friday, 4 to 6 pm to enjoy $5 drinks and $5 snacks (see the menu here).

General Assembly opened one year ago with a mission to bring authentic Neopolitan-style pizza to downtown’s hungry masses, and it has succeeded masterfully. This casual cafeteria — it’s all counter service and help-yourself — is chock full of Millennial-era tech and media workers enjoying Ontario VQA wines, craft beers and a few carefully chosen cocktails — all on tap and all superbly priced.

Drink: Cocktail options include all the essentials. That is if your essentials are a choice between a Moscow Mule or a Negroni ($9).
Tip: The warm olives ($6) are just about the best in town.

The Chef’s Assembly Hall is a foodies’ paradise! Featuring multiple restaurants in one location, a Beer Hall and a variety of bars it offers great people watching, a great scene, and a downtown location which is perfect for taking a break from Christmas shopping.

Drink: The Tromba Margaritas on tap are top notch! These are a classically prepared margarita with 1.5 oz of TROMBA Blanco, 0.5 oz Triple Sec, agave syrup, lime juice and finished with a salt-rim and lime wedge. These are served every day for $11.06 and for only $9.07 all day on Mondays for their 'Recovery Mondays' specials.
Tip: Lunch can be crazy busy; get there in off hours and kick back and relax. Weekends are also a great time to visit. Grab a wicked coffee from Bulldog, with a fresh pastry too, and you’ll be fully recharged!


Two words: Mexican vegan. Yes, Mexican vegan! The food at Rosalinda is the best food you’ve never had before. The beautiful airy space is a foliage-laden respite from the frosty cold outside. The great downtown core location is perfect for Christmas shopping. Open all day for snacks and drinks.

Drink: POCO LOCO (2oz for $15) featuring Goslings Rum, Los Arcos, lemon and MYLKO Horchata.
Tip: The jackfruit taco is life changing!

Bar Sybanne

Bar Sybanne is a cozy and warm gem on the bustling Ossington strip. A perfect combination of modern style, warm hospitality and flavourful dishes.

The Mediterranean snacks are healthy, fortifying, and perfect to keep you fueled up and warm. The drinks are seasonal and stellar.

Drink: Try the Eastern Promise ($16) featuring Bodegas Tradicion Fino, Cazadores Reposado, Campari, lemon juice, sugar, egg white and sumac.
Tip: The lamb kofta ($13) with pomegranate molasses and tzatziki … transforming! It’s the perfect salty and spicy bar snack.
Eastern Promise - Best Places to Drink in Toronto

One of the original watering holes to lead the Ossington renaissance, Painted Lady is just bags of fun no matter what’s going. This could include burlesque dancing on the bar, one of the city’s top DJs, or live music of any flavour from Euro-metal to roots and blues. Cocktails are taken very seriously here, even though the vibe is wickedly chill. Painted Lady also offers a great list of authentic absinthes.

Drink: Cucumber Margarita — made with Altos Tequila and freshly muddled cucumber.
Tip: 10 years running, Open Mic Mondays are a classic at Painted Lady! Performers get to do 2 songs (or 2 of whatever). All genres and all performers welcome  — it’s about as inclusive as it gets!

Deep within Union Station, Union Chicken offers the city’s best fried chicken. It’s easily accessible on the PATH so you don’t even have to go outside! Union chicken also has an excellent cocktail list, with drinks reasonably priced at $11.95.

Drink: The Paper Train ($9.95). Think of your classic Paper Plane plus a 'secret ingredient'!  This version is based with Pike Creek Whiskey with Amaro Montenegro, Aperol, ginger beer and lemon juice added.
Tip: A side of shishito peppers ($8.95) are the perfect slightly spicy match to a brace of cocktails.
STK cocktail - Best Places to Drink in Toronto


When in Yorkville, there’s no better perch than the bar at STK. The perfect balance between a modern steakhouse and chic cocktail lounge, STK offers a menu of boozy cocktails and a variety of high-protein beefy snacks.

Drink: Not Your Daddy’s Manhattan ($17) featuring Bulleit bourbon, zinfandel port, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth and bitters is a play on the STK original tagline “Not Your Daddy’s Steakhouse”. Not Your Daddy’s Manhattan has a subtle sweetness of zinfandel port which will cut through the strength of a traditional Manhattan.
Tip: Open all day, but the post-lunch slow-down is the time to hit it.

Chantecler is Parkdale’s original destination for fine French bistro fare. This spot offers interesting wines and great cocktails. With a moto like theirs  — “Succulence. Elegance. Excellence. — you know you’re in for a real treat.

Drink: On the menu for over 6 years, the Signature ($8) is a simple yet amazingly delicious gin and grapefruit tonic. Featuring Beefeater gin, line, house tonic and grapefruit.
Tip: You'll want to try the French onion soup ($6 for small or $12 for large). It'll change your life. Or the steak tartare. Or why not both?

Want us to show you some other great spots?

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