Any Toronto Native knows that there are millions of spots in the city that give it its great nightlife reputation. Any Toronto native also knows that these select spots are a strict tourist-free zone.
Let's be real, nothing makes a place cooler than knowing that not everyone knows about it. A bar or club or restaurant becomes a secret, between you and your friends or your S/O. We certainly don't want tourists in these spots, but their lives - and I HEART TORONTO tees - can definitely be spared if they buy us a drink or two.
1. Bar Batavia // 2031 Yonge St.
This mid-town bar has a Indonesian vibe to it in an intimate space. They serve signature drinks and small bites just a flight of stairs away from Little Sister.
2. Escobar // 495 King St W
Password please? If you don't know that night's word- you won't be getting into Escobar. This secretive spot has become a lot more mainstream in recent months, sitting just on top of Baro. Sip some vodka sodas and snap a pic in front of the Pablo sign.
3. Cold Tea // 60 Kensington Avenue
Cold Tea is one of Toronto's best kept secrets. Accessible through a Kensington Market strip mall, we would truly be shocked if any tourists wandered their way into one of our favourite bars. With no menus either, you have to either know what you want or trust your bartender to fix you up.
4. LoPan // 503 College Street
Right above Dailo, LoPan can't be found unless you know what you're looking for. It's posh interior is ideal for fancy cocktails and finger foods.
5. Superpoint // 184 Ossington Ave
This late night Ossington pizza joint is everything we love about Toronto. Kind of grungy, very hip and totally delicious.
6. The Cloak // 488 Wellington Street W
Inside Marben restaurant, this speakeasy is made for late night drinks and super close conversation.
7. The Gift Shop // 89-B Ossington Ave
Anyone need a trim? The Gift Shop doubles as a barbershop during the day. Slide on back past the chairs for a drink that's as sharp as the scissors.
8. Toronto Temperance Society // 577A College St.
Toronto Temperance Society sits atop Sidebar. You can get up through an unmarked black door, even though it's technically members only. You can always email ahead to see if you'll get the go-ahead.
9. York Station // 100 Front Street
This well kept secret is super cute, daintily stationed in The Fairmont Royal York. The drinks are reasonable, the vibe is casual and hotel guests almost never find their way to the bar counter.
10. Hole In the Wall // 2867 Dundas St W
This Junction Spot is perfect for a quiet night over amazing food and good good craft beers. Just a little sliver in the brick, this place is happily, easily missed by passersby.
11. Unlovable // 1415 Dundas St. W.
Little Portugal's finest, Unlovable is almost always a great day. We're yet to decide whether it's the colourful interior, drinks, or people that make it such a keen destination.
12. Communist's Daughter // 1149 Dundas St. W.
Toronto's truest speakeasy, The Communist's Daughter is a place even the bartenders could get lost going to. With nothing but a subtle cardboard sign in the window, this cozy Dundas hole-in-the-wall is perfect to fall into.
13. The Smiling Buddha // 961 College St.
This chill rock n'roll venue is a favourite to many music-lovers. As great as Budweiser Stadium might be, Smiling Buddha has the best vibes, beers and energy.
14. Get Well // 1181 Dundas St W
Can I crown this the best bar in the city? Don't care, doing it. Get Well is everything everyone could want in a bar. Casual, high energy, with old school arcade games AND a pizza parlour? Incredible.