Best nightlife in Toronto
What is it? The Beaver might look small and subdued, but it’s the West End’s queer culture mecca. A restaurant and cafe in the early evening, the space quickly transforms into a trivia competition, karaoke party or drag show almost every night of the week. Special highlights are the dance parties, which feature some of the best DJs in the city.
Why go? Always the most fun, the Beaver is the perfect place to get sweaty. A spacious patio out back is a necessary spot to cool down—the love fest inside can get a little wild, and you might end up finding glitter the next day where glitter just shouldn’t be.
What is it? Paris Paris 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-party dinner or your plan for the whole night. Try the roast half chicken.
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.
What is it? Named after the Toronto-famous term for after-hours beer at Chinese restaurants, this Kensington Bar is a must-go. A sprawling but busy back patio at gives you relief from the bumping bass and minimal lighting inside. Look for the friendly lady serving late-night dumplings at the front door.
Why go? This spot is intentionally tucked away; enter Cold Tea through a nondescript door on Kensington Avenue and go down a long hallway before finding a door with a red light. What await are great tunes, local brews and bathroom-art selfies galore!
What is it? Get Well is a craft beer bar located on Dundas West. This spot serves an impressive list of beers that you won’t find everywhere else, and, with a North of Brooklyn Pizzeria in the bar—along with an impressive selection of vintage arcade games—you can happily set up shop for the whole night.
Why go? Do you like beer? Do you like pizza? How about Galaga, Gauntlet, and the original vector Star Wars? What are you waiting for?
What is it? Geary Lane is a live music spot on the very cool industrial strip of Geary Avenue. Nestled between galleries, cafes and bars, Geary Lane hosts events ranging from book launches to concerts to theatre projects.
Why go? A real community hub, Geary Lane is a meeting place for creative minds and those looking to expand their typical club going to include a more artsy experience.
What is it? While Torontonians might sneer at the cheesier Drake-goers, no Toronto nightlife list would be complete without it. The boutique hotel, opened in 2004, is now a hub for local events, including concerts, food and shopping pop-ups, and multi-media art.
Why go? Award winning art, food, music, and cocktails are all under one roof here. The Sky Yard (on the roof), the Underground (in the basement) and the lounge (main floor) offer different opportunities to chill hard, and the new Drake Mini-Bar, located in the downtown core, has recently grown the family.
What is it? The Wallen is a beautiful club full of beautiful people—just look at their Instagram. Located on the ultra-cool West Queen West, the Wallen is bordello-inspired, perhaps a throwback to the famous erotic private members club Wicked that used to occupy the same space.
Why go? The Wallen is the ideal spot for those who want to dance… or pose. Live DJs every night and the best tunes keep this club feeling fresh, despite the call-back vintage furniture and chandeliers. At the Wallen, bottle service is a lifestyle, not a luxury.
What is it? Located down a cement staircase, you could almost miss this one-of-a kind College Street bar, Track & Field. A great selection of beers, cocktails on tap (including the hangover free, non-alcoholic variety!) and super-friendly staff create a homey, welcoming atmosphere.
Why go? Ever wanted to explore your inner retiree? Indoor bocce ball and shuffleboard playing isn’t required, but it is a bonus, and gets more fun the more you drink. We promise.
What is it? One of Toronto’s several board game cafes, Snakes and Lattes is a great place to hang with your friends while playing some of their thousands of board games. For just $8 a person you’ll get unlimited play time—and while some game are in high demand, there’s never any wait to play that pristine box of Dream Phone.
Why go? Feeling competitive? You can school your friends in Connect 4 over a to-die-for nutella latte or a pint—and the food isn’t half bad either. Just remember that no one likes a sore loser. You sunk my battleship!
What is it? CODA, formerly the Wreck Room and Footwork, is a popular afterhours and underground music venue on Bathurst Street. Amazing parties make for a packed spot every weekend, so if you want a booth (to rest your tired body after dancing like a maniac), you should get there before midnight.
Why go? If Toronto’s 2am last call isn’t working for you, you don’t have to pack it in and go home. CODA will keep you going all night long, or at least until the sun comes up.
Want to check out more of the drinking scene?
From high-end lounges to dive-y watering holes, the nightlife options are as vast, unique and creative as the imbibe-loving inhabitants that call this city home. The bar masters and mixologists are paying homage to the city’s multicultural roots by using ingredients, flavors and methods to create a drinking culture that’s truly Toronto. Here are 15 of the city’s best watering holes.