14 Restaurants In Toronto To Go To When You Want To Turn Up
Here for a good time not a long time.
Sometimes you want to head for a nice, relaxing, and ever classy dinner, perhaps ft. some foie gras? Martini on the rocks? Well for the people who'll keep the booze, aim for the class, but are looking for a wild night, luckily we live in Toronto. There's no doubt our food scene is amazing and beyond that the options are literally, and for people that are indecisive as f*ck like us? Going out can turn your innocent group chat into a multiple volume saga. A girl just wants a nice glass (or two) of sangria sometimes, CAN WE JUST PICK SOMEWHERE?
You and your squad deserve more than just settling for the basics, and why not head to a place where you can let loose and have an unreal time? You work hard enough, so instead of heading to a restaurant where you have to worry about what fork to use or if you're talking too loud, head to a place where you and your friends can be the freaks you are, sans judgment (and featuring some fabulous drinks). These restaurants are the best spots in the city for when you're looking for some unreal food, drinks, and vibe that will turn your regular outing into an EVENT.
Head here for your birthday, half-birthday, anniversary, or just a regular Thursday night you don't just want to spend watching Netflix. Whatever reason you're going for doesn't matter, just get ready for a wild night.
1. El Cabalitto // 220 King St. West
Say hello to a night of tequila, tacos, and some very hilarious, questionable stories that’ll come flooding back the next morning. Toronto’s only Mexican tequila bar is right in the middle of King West and has been serving up made from scratch tortillas and recipes passed down from Elia Herrea's (also with Los Colibris) family for a truly authentic feel. The vibe here is always bumping, with a cool underground club feel and always grooving DJ. Obviously accompanied y the extensive range of tequila and other great cocktails
Bonus: Ya we know guac is ext-wait what? THAT’S RIGHT. Follow them on Insta and every time they hit 100 new followers they’ll make a random person’s dream come true with free, fresh guac.
2. 416 Snack Bar // 181 Bathurst St.
Sip, snack and savor this amazing night in this bumping gastropub on Bathurst that’s dedicated to showcasing the diversity of the 6ix we love. The result? An open atmosphere and sharing menu that brings in a young, hip crowd who are just as ready to enjoy the best of Toronto as you are. No need to keep the volume down in here; order up some Korean fried chicken, sushi pizza, scotch eggs benny (or something else from their constantly rotating menu), grab your drink and enjoy. Bumping music, tv’s going, and a constantly packed bar? It’s already looking like an unreal night.
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3. The Dime // 538 Queen St. West
If you’re looking for a calm, relaxing dinner - don’t come to this Queen West party spot. Everyone knows about the hot spots El Furniture Warehouse and Queens Street Warehouse and if you’re looking to take it up one more notch (that’s possible?!), head behind those two gems to The Dime. This hole in the wall is constantly busy, with people flocking for their hard rock tunes, laid-back decor, and 5 dollar menu. They have a huge range of drinks, and if you’re there when the “cocktail wizard” is hosting, @broadhands, you’re in for a huge treat. One of the best parts is the happy, hilarious staff that know exactly how to keep the vibe going, and keep your night going for a long time.
4. Nightowl // 647 College Street
“Ya so we named our restaurant Night Owl but we’re actually super dull and close early.” AS IF, IMAGINE THE TEASE! Good thing that this place is actually one of the most happening spots in the city and will almost guarantee you and your squad a hilarious night you may or may not remember. Two floors, a list of cocktails named after Toronto neighborhoods, arcade games, live music, and a vibe makes it almost impossible NOT to have a good time. Start with a blue jays way cocktail, some chicken wings, and finish it off with one (or five) or their signature boozy (or optional non-boozy) floats. We’re getting, what else, the Nightowl - whiskey, Guinness, and vanilla. For people looking for an out of the ordinary experience, this is your home.
Bonus: They’ve gotten rave reviews on their mocktails for your DD, meaning every single person is bound to have a great night
5. Earls // 150 King Street West Unit 100
Bankers, lawyers, booze oh my! If that sounds like your ideal situation, head to this financial district hotspot ASAP. Bringing in the ~suave~ crowd from the depths of the stock market, you and your crew can live out your sex in the city dreams by hitting up their kick ass power hour (that usually lasts much longer than 60 minutes). And since you’re unleashing your fancy side, treat yourself with one of their signature cocktails; the Bees Knees is one of our favourites, with aviation gin, Cointreau, honey, fresh lemon, and angostura bitters you’ll feel like the royalty you are while enjoying the crazy, party vibes we all love.
6. Grand Electric // 1330 Queen St W
Whether you’re coming for the unreal Mexican food (that has people waiting 1-3 for, understandably), the eclectic vibes, or the classic tequila, it doesn’t matter- because odds are you’ll be staying here all night enjoying all 3 of them. The second you walk into this Parkdale location you’ll almost feel like you entered the garage/hip hop/arcade style decor party that you never knew you wanted to go too. What does that mean? The vibe is always bumping here, it’s filled with people who are laid back and ready to have a great time, and the food and drinks definitely help keep that feeling going all night. Add a little spice to your night with the Spicy Bourbon Caesar, a classic Old Fashioned, or maybe a little El Chili Verede to really get your night going. If you’re not into cocktails they have a great selection of local craft beers and imports to go with your Baja Fish taco.
7. Football Factory // 164 Bathurst St.
If you’re going to watch a soccer game at any bar in Toronto, it better be this one which prides itself on being the home of TFC and Manchester United. Let us lay out the vibe for you; you got classic pub food along with some upscale options (banger and mash anyone?), dedicated and rowdy soccer fans, 13 HDTV’s, and a huge selection of beers and cocktails for even the pickiest drinker. Head here on the weekends to watch the Premier League Matches and try out an experience that won’t leave you disappointed. Watch out for their game day specials as well!
8. Bar Hop Brew Co. // 137 Peter St.
We’ll start with the fact that coming here not only means you’re in the heart of the entertainment district (and all the rowdiness that comes with), but you get to choose from 36 craft brews on tap - that’s right. If you’re looking for good food and great drinks, these people know what they’re doing with knowledgeable staff to help you informatively get ~lit~. The two-floor spot always seems to be full which is a sign of the quality of this bar, and how could it not be with its dark ambiance, wood wall decor, and vinyl records blasting? The food is made from as many local ingredients as possible, and we’d go time and time again for their savory garlic doughnuts alone. Loud, fun, laid back vibe, and high-quality beer? What else could you need for a great night?
Bonus: Why not hop (see what we did there?) over to their second location on King West to keep the night going.
9. Track & Field // 860 College St.
This is the place for the crew that wants to not only have a great meal, but also a hilarious experience to switch up their normal sit down restaurant routine - enter Track and Feild. They have 1000 square feet of lawn game space (ie. bocce ball and shuffleboard cause why not), a dance floor, cocktails on tap (!!), and, as they state, “an unmatched enthusiasm for games generally played by the elderly”. You definitely won’t be feeling an old vibe here, the games seem to bring out everyone's competitive side making it a hilarious night of face-offs, fails, and a new definition to your typical dinner out. From Moet Chandon to 8 dollar Creemore - everyone is sure to find something they like. We’re getting the ‘New Phone, Who Dis?’ cocktail with amber rum, apple brandy, 5 spice, lime, pineapple-anise bitters, and absinthe. Heads up, they only serve snacks here, but are completely cool for you to bring whatever food you like!
10. Hanmoto // 2 Lakeview Ave.
No sign, no phone, and no website - you'd probably expect a dull restaurant with no business, but instead, you get the hidden gem of the Toronto Izakaya scene, Hanmoto. This small, boisterous restaurant has a laid back ambiance for you too, respectably, devour your Cyno Wings, Miso Steak, katsu bun and other deep friend wonders. There's a grungy, underground feel: and the fact you feel like you entered into some secret VIP diners club makes the night even more exciting. Ihn Huh has also hooked you up with a short but unreal alcohol menu- wine, beer, and cocktails with a Japanese twist. Get ready for an insane night at this hidden spot that makes feel as cool as we act like we are.
11. The Ballroom // 145 John St.
This bumping queen west bar/restaurant has finally found the missing ingredient for a crazy night out, a bowling alley. Never thought that would add to your night? When you combine it with a two floors filled with chic decor, a live stage, 60+ LED TV', 4 bars, and an expansive food menu ranging from burgers to flatbreads you better believe you're going to have an unreal night. Start with a late dinner on Friday or Saturday night, and you won't even have to leave to get to your club for the night. With a young, hip crowd in the middle of the entertainment district, and plenty of drink options (fancy a maple sour?), this is a classic spot for a rowdy night out with your squad.
12. Kinka Izakaya Original // 398 Church St.
Ever gotten greeted at a party in another language? How about by chefs who seem to be on red bull 24/7? The second you and your crew walk-nay, roll in here you're hype level will go from 0-100 real quick. The food lives up to the amazing atmosphere, with mouth watering dishes like deep fried brie cheese, karaage, ikapiri, and yakiudon - yes please. Get your drink on out of bamboo glasses and get ready to laugh harder than you ever expected to at dinner.
13. Indie Ale House // 2876 Dundas St. West
Sometimes if you're having a good time that means going straight to the source, so why not hit up this indie brewery in the Junction for some amazing beer and flavourful eats? With all the decor that comes with a cozy/hipster/indie spot (exposed brick, man buns), you also get an electric vibe that'll fuel your hype level all night long. Their weakness of only serving beer may also be their highlight. All their beer is made in house and comes from a passion to create the best full-bodied beer they felt the city was lacking. The result? A night of you trying amazing, unique, and adventurous beers like broken hipster, ice breaker, jump the shark and the rare release - cockpuncher.
14. The Citizen // 522 King St. West
Any spot you're heading to on King West probably has the hype you're looking for for a crazy night out, but this spot seems to take it up that extra notch we've been missing. The interior screams Anchor Man, with burly, regal couches and a decor that can only be described as mahogany/Ron Burgundy - meaning you're night can't help but be interesting. This trendy bar/restaurant draws in a cool, young professional crowd that is just waiting to let loose from the 9-5 grind. The result? An unreal food menu with dishes like bacon mushroom melt mac n cheese to steak tartare, and a suave drink menu with fun cocktails and a great selection of all the classic and classy drinks you crave on a night out.