Noteworthy bar openings in Toronto: 2015 edition

Tiki is in, gin joints are out – that’s how Toronto’s bar trend skews. Whether you’re looking for a new locale to wet your whistle on a weekly basis or out to annex a portion of your liver to the city’s most visionary cocktails creators, for richer or for poorer, here are Toronto’s best new and notable bars for 2016. [Image courtesy of Track & Field Bar]

Miss Thing's

1279 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L6

Parkdale’s got a new Tiki-esque bar that’s remarkably kitsch-free. It also holds the rare distinction of being an affordable spot to grab intriguing cocktails on Queen West. Ten bucks gets you a tall cool glass of Jasper’s Rum Punch, a demure and dangerous mix of sweet Dominican rum, lime juice, bitters and nutmeg. Snacks are island-inspired, like coconut dusted shrimp and sweet and sour pork buns.

Bar Raval

505 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1A5

Without ruining the best surprise: just wait ‘til you walk inside. This pintxo-style bar (or “pincho” –Spanish for spiked), serves uber gourmet, Barcelona-inspired pub fare on skewers, as well as tapas, preserves and donuts during the day. The drinks list is formidable and crafted with the care of a high-end food menu, including playful twists on classic cocktails, as well as more experiential creations, like the Betelgeuse, made with brandy, sherry, cinnamon and black jam.


348 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1R7

The food menu may feature lamb brains and horse tenderloin, but the cocktails skew a bit more classic at this star-studded eatery on King West. In the almost-secret sub-level of the boutique Templar Hotel, the atmosphere is sharp and exclusive. We enjoyed a devilish little concoction named after one of history’s best drunks, the Hemingway: aged rum and cherry liqueurs with lime and grapefruit juice.

Bar Hop Brewco

137 Peter St, Toronto, ON M5V 2H3

Always just busy enough, the buzz buzz buzz here is about the beer. With at least 30 taps rotating at any one time, don’t get too invested in a relationship with any one beer, because chances are your fellow barmates will have had dried out the cask by dawn’s first light, like that wild weekend we had with a bold beautiful scotch ale from Montreal whizkids Dieu de Ciel. The veteran location on King West was joined by its substantially roomier little brother, appearing on Peter Street in 2015.

An oasis tucked away from the busy din of its surrounding streets, the St. George campus of the University of Toronto offers an easy excuse to while away a day admiring its stately green spaces and age-old architecture. You’ll also find some of the city’s most charming cafés in the area, perfect for a study session (Wifi included), some pre-class reading or a caffeinated catch-up with a pal. [Photo: latte at Voodoo Child]
There are two kinds of wine drinkers: those that taste with their palate, and those that taste with their wallet. For those of us in the latter category, you’ll be pleased to find Toronto’s east-end offers a number of budget-friendly wine nights throughout the week, sure to satisfy your inner wino as well as your inner cheapskate.
When choosing a restaurant feels more akin to choosing what to watch on Netflix (read: an hour or two of scrolling, scrolling, scrolling), be thankful that maxed-out, relaxed-out dining is something that Toronto does best. With an emphasis on soulful, filling food and chill vibes, surprisingly free of pretense, put on your best fashion sweats and check out some of the city’s best spots for a casual dinner date.
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