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Mahjong Bar, Toronto
Photograph: Mahjong Bar

The 15 best bars in Toronto

Looking for cocktail bars, fun bars and bars that will make you want to dance all night? We've got you covered.

Edited by
Ella Doyle
Written by
Andrea Yu
&
Sandra Osojnik
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Toronto is a city that’s full of life, from its glorious culture offerings to its innovative food scene. Every corner of the city is buzzing with something, be it loud food markets or impressive art galleries, but if you’re looking for a good time, you’ve got to check out one of Toronto’s best bars. 

Here, you’ll find everything from trendy craft breweries with 40+ beers on tap to cocktail bars to live music spots where you can boogie the night away. In fact, there’s so many good’uns to be found in Toronto, you could spend most of your time hopping between bars, if you’ve got the stamina. Cocktail bars, wineries and sheltered patios await you in this brilliant city. Read on for the best things to do in Toronto. 

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🍻 The best Toronto breweries
📍 The best things to do in Toronto
🍽️ The best restaurants in Toronto
🧖‍♀️ The best spas in Toronto
🎨 The best museums in Toronto
🥑 The best brunch in Toronto
🏛️ The best attractions in Toronto

Best bars in Toronto

Good Fortune Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/S.B.

1. Good Fortune Bar

What is it: A very cool, very loud Miami beach-style bar serving up delicious cocktails and a huge beer list in its “secret” basement. Drink while surrounded by flashy decor, neon signs and orange-tiled walls. 

Why go: Unlike the name suggests, you don’t actually inherit good fortune as soon as you walk into this place. But you will be served some very tasty drinks in a seriously cool spot (Good Fortune Bar is actually right underneath taco place La Carnita). 

C’est What
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Fermin R.

2. C’est What

What is it: A bar in St Lawrence Market that is kind of more like a pub, but that’s kept its sleekness. There are warm, cosy fireplaces, pool tables and live music on weekends, but they still serve up cocktails, posh wines and more. 

Why go: Whether you’re off on a night out or cosying up on a Sunday, C’est What will satisfy your needs. There’s around 50 beers on tap, as well as some seriously good bar food. Think bison burgers, fries with jalapeño mayo and spicy tostidos. 

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Birreria Volo
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jeff S.

3. Birreria Volo

What is it: Find one of the city’s best selections of beer on tap at this narrow Little Italy beer bar. Expect a heavy focus on funkier brews like sours, lambics and wild yeast beers, along with rare, shareable bottles aged in the Cantina cellar.

Why go: Birreria Volo serves beer in wine glasses, encouraging you to sip, not chug, your beverages. The communal table setup begs neighbouring patrons to strike up conversations while the rear patio boasts a beer hall-like setup.

Bar Raval
Photograph: Courtesy Flick/cc/Alexa Fernando

4. Bar Raval

What is it: You’ll hear the bustling crowds of this slick Spanish-inspired bar before you see them. Bar Raval’s covered patio is often filled with patrons standing elbow-to-elbow while sipping on sophisticated cocktails, leaving a hand free to pick at pintxos, tapas and canned seafood conservas (foods preserved in cans and jars).

Why go: Transport yourself to Spain without leaving Toronto. Bar Raval’s Gaudi-inspired wooden interior is full of curving, rich wood, inviting you to stay a while longer.

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Black Dice Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Evelyn A.

5. Black Dice Cafe

What is it: This Japanese-Rockabilly bar embraces American nostalgia, British punk rock and the Land of the Rising Sun in one tidy joint. Step back into time while browsing tunes on the bar’s jukebox and sipping on Asian-inspired cocktails.

Why go: To bask in vintage vibes, delicious drinks and a great selection of Japanese whisky and sake. Draught beer is also available for more casual drinking. Note that the bar is cash only.

Sneaky Dee’s
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Brian C.

6. Sneaky Dee’s

What is it: This iconic Toronto institution has been getting us drunk (and curing our hangovers) since 1987. Share some pitchers of beer with friends, catch a show at the upstairs stage or satisfy your craving for late-night nachos at this College and Bathurst spot.

Why go: To experience a staple of Toronto culture and enjoy affordable easy-drinking brews. And in case you get a little too messy the night before, Sneaky Dee’s offers a weekday breakfast special for only $5.50.

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Mahjong Bar
Photograph: Mahjong

7. Mahjong Bar

What is it: Pass through a neon-lit corner store to enter this retro bar inspired by the Cantonese game of Mahjong. Playful cocktails blend flavors from east and west while the kitchen serves small plates like Sichuan fried chicken.

Why go: Drinking at Mahjong feels like being part of a cool, secret club. It’s a popular spot for celebrating birthdays or breaking the ice after a first date. On weekends the bar fills up fast as a DJ and dance floor emerge.

Cocktail Bar
Photograph: Courtesy YelpCherrie T.

8. Cocktail Bar

What is it: Unsurprisingly, this Dundas St. W. spot is known for serving refined cocktails. Owner Jen Agg (of Rhum Corner and Grey Gardens fame) has created a space that’s inviting and well-spirited, in both drinks offerings and atmosphere.

Why go: Elegant yet laid back, Cocktail Bar is a perfect option for an after-work beverage or pre-dinner appetizers. Beers and wines are available, but you’d be remiss not to order a cocktail here.

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Bar Chef
Photograph: Bar Chef

9. Bar Chef

What is it: One of Toronto’s essential cocktail bars, Bar Chef plays with molecular gastronomy to create memorable beverages. Bartenders here pride themselves on preparing all infusions, bitters and syrups in-house so that their cocktails taste as good as they look.

Why go: Watch as patrons “ooh” and “ahh” when pieces of drinkable art are presented to them. Bar Chef is a truly modern drinking experience that easily impresses.

Shameful Tiki Room Toronto
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Amber C.

10. Shameful Tiki Room Toronto

What is it: There is absolutely no shame involved in drinking at this Parkdale tiki bar. The interior is full-on Polynesian kitsch, and the drinks are just as playful as the decor. Order a punch-style bowl to share with friends, and expect a bit of fanfare (gongs, fog machine mist) to accompany your beverage.

Why go: Blacked-out windows and a heavy velvet curtain at the entrance amp up the feeling of escapism, which is especially appreciated on a cold winter night.

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Farside

11. Farside

What is it: This hip bar in East Chinatown feels like home with its mismatched furniture, friendly staff and community-driven events. Drinks vary from discount domestic beers to elevated cocktails, so you’re bound to find your beverage of choice.

Why go: Farside makes space for creativity and engages the community with events like Trivia Club, VHS movie nights and DJs on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar’s inclusivity makes it approachable to locals and visitors alike.

Sweaty Betty’s
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Nicole S.

12. Sweaty Betty’s

What is it: With its big back patio and dimly lit lounge, Sweaty Betty’s is one of Toronto’s longest-standing dives. Enjoy no-frills cocktails, lots of beer and a great selection of whisky at the buzzing intersection of Queen and Ossington.

Why go: Whether you’re seeking a casual meeting place for a quick drink or you’ve been lucky to snag seats on the bar’s back patio, Sweaty Betty’s keeps you fueled without breaking the bank.

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Paradise Grapevine
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Emily M.

13. Paradise Grapevine

What is it: Located in the increasingly trendy Bloorcourt neighbourhood, Paradise Grapevine brings hipster style to the classic wine bar concept. The by-the-glass options emphasize old-world wines along with sippable local brews on tap.

Why go: The covered and heated patio is open until 2am, thanks to a grandfathered license that keeps the bar bustling well past the usual 11pm outdoor patio cutoff. Simple snacks like charcuterie and cheese mean there’s no reason to leave.

Paris Paris
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sinem S.

14. Paris Paris

What is it: Paris Paris is a daytime and nighttime locale, where the tables are packed, but there always seems to be room for everyone. Depending on your speed, this could be a pre-dinner party or your plan for the whole night.

Why go: It’s worth smooshing in or sharing a table. With incredible food and an exciting and adventurous wine list, Paris Paris has also hosted special wine nights from the superstar Grape Witches (PP’s GM and sommelier Krysta and natural wine importer Nicole’s edu-party pop-ups) featuring natural wines and female sommeliers.

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The Rooftop at Broadview Hotel
Photograph: Eugen Sakhnenko

15. The Rooftop at Broadview Hotel

What is it: The Broadview Hotel brought life back into the beautiful heritage building that formerly housed the longstanding strip club Jilly’s. Its Rooftop Bar is one of the city’s best patios with stunning 360-degree views.

Why go: History and style are blended gracefully with cheeky nods to the building’s past occupant. Tourists and locals alike will appreciate the sunset views of the CN Tower while sipping on a glass or two of crisp white wine.

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