The Roundup

10 Toronto Bars for Shaking Off a Chill

by Team Fathom
Photo: Courtesy of Parts & Labour

That cold front is rolling up the eastern seaboard. Torontonians need beverages that can warm away the chill. Our picks for the season.

1. Barchef
472 Queen St. W; 416-868-4800
A mixologist-driven haunt known for its attractive staff (confirmed) and molecular gastronomy-flecked cocktail list (confirmed over and over). Lab-like concoctions include liquid nitrogen-filled bowls, gelatinous tonics, and foam. Read Emily Fiffer's postcard about drinking at Barchef.

2. Cold Tea
60 Kensington Ave.; 416-546-4536
Through a secret doorway hidden at the back of Kensington mall is a small bar with makeshift industrial charm and a constantly evolving cocktail menu. A small dim sum stand caters to late-night hunger pangs.

3. Cocktail Bar
923 Dundas St. W.; 416-792-7511
The sister bar to the popular Black Hoof has fireplaces, snug seats, and smooth Manhattans. What else could you possibly ask for on a cold night?

4. Dark Horse Espresso Bar
Multiple locations
A mini chain with mini bar service. Pull up a stool and watch the latte art in action. Baked goods from local purveyors are available for dunking into perfectly pulled cups of coffee. 

5. Drake Hotel Bar
1150 Queen St. W.; 416-531-5042
The hopping hotel bar serves a mix of local artsy types on business tabs and visitors ready to dive into the QSW scene.

Oxley Public House

Photo: Courtesy of The Oxley Public House

6. The Oxley Public House
121 Yorkville Ave.; +1-647-348-1300
Cask-conditioned ales, cocktails, and "pudding wines" (tawny ports and late-harvest rieslings) served in the cozy pub, lounge, or dining room of an old red brick house that feels like a British social club.

7. Parts & Labour
1566 Queen St. W; 416-588-7750
The fashion-y crowd settles with drinks at communal tables. The connected music venue, showcasing local bands, has enough room for a gaggle of fans to dance, dance, dance all night.

8. Reposado
136 Ossington Ave.; 416-532-6474
An enormous selection of tequilas and premium margaritas — with nary a sombrero in sight. A small stage offers space for live jazz; a focused yet thoughtful tapas menu keeps the agave from going right to your head.

9. Sam James Coffee Bar
297 Harbord St.; no phone
Toronto's caffeinated wunderkid shows off nerdy cafe toys, like La Marzocco Linea machines and 19th-century siphons, and sets the stage for purist coffee drinks with plenty of tlc and decorated foam.

10. Wvrst
609 King St. W; 416-703-7775
Welcome to the sausage party! Grab a seat at one of the long wooden picnic tables, clink a frosty glass of German brew, and share plates of hand-cut fried potatoes while comparing bites of bratwurst, merguez, and Italian pork sausage under a string of twinkling lights.


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See the Fall 2012 Toronto guide we created with Kate Spade New York 

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