Best Cocktail Bars in Toronto

If there is one thing I love about Toronto is the endless amounts of beautiful, unique cocktail bars that are sprinkled throughout the city. My fiance and I got into making cocktails during the pandemic, and since then, going to cocktail bars in whatever city we’re visiting has been one of our favourite activities.

Thankfully for us, living in Toronto we have no shortage of new bars to try. However, some keep me coming back again and again or are incredibly unique experiences that if you are in Toronto you have to go to at least once.

Civil Liberties

Named one of North America’s Best Bars, Civil Liberties is truly an experience to have in the city. What makes this bar unique is the menu. There isn’t one! That’s right, you choose what flavours you are craving, whether vague or descriptive, and the mixologists will make you their concoction to match your taste. That means that no two cocktails are the same, and every time you go you’re in for a new adventure.

Location: 878 Bloor St W.
Reservations: No. If you are visiting on a weekend, go early or expect to wait
Hours: Monday-Sunday 6 pm-2 am

Prequel & Co. Apothecary

Created by Frankie Solarik (known for Bar Chef and the Netflix show Drink Masters, Prequel & Co. Apothecary is a beautiful bar located on Toronto’s trendy Queen West. As you enter through their Apothecary-themed entrance, you’ll be greeted by a stunning bar that transports you to the early 1900s. What I truly appreciate about a cocktail bar is one that I feel isn’t just throwing basic ingredients in a glass and charging $20 for it. Prequel & Co. is the polar opposite of this. Each bitter, syrup, and cocktail is carefully crafted to make outstanding visual (and taste) experiences.

Location: 1036 Queen St W.
Reservations: No
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 6 pm – 2 am, Thursday & Friday 5 pm – 2 am, Saturday 4 pm – 2 am

Mother Cocktail Bar

This cocktail bar located on Queen West has a lengthy menu of cocktails. You can find anything that your heart desires here and the unique ingredients blend to make some of the most unique and delicious cocktails. I ordered a refreshing cocktail with horseradish the last time I went – weird, right? The bar is super adorable, you can order food as well, and they often have live music and other events happening in the space.

Location: 874 Queen St W.
Reservations: Yes
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 6 pm – 1 am, Thursday-Saturday 6 pm – 2 am, Sunday 6 pm – 12 am

After Seven

Hidden behind a yogurt shop on McCaul Street, After Seven is one of my neighbourhood favourites. It’s a Japanese cocktail experience that has a delicious cocktail menu focused on Japanese ingredients. They also have a great selection of Japanese whiskies if that’s more your speed. I love all the matcha cocktails I’ve had there!

Location: 50 McCaul St.
Reservations: Yes
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 6 pm – 2 am

Gift Shop

Another one of my favourites in the city is Gift Shop. This little bar is hidden behind an operating barber shop on Ossignton Avenue. The first time someone brought me here I thought we were breaking into a barber shop. It’s truly a fun experience and a cool surprise if trying to impress a date. When you enter the bar, you’ll have a selection of cocktails on their rotating menu to choose from. I’ve never had a bad cocktail here and they are all truly unique and something you won’t find anywhere else. Don’t worry though, if you’d rather have a classic cocktail, you can always order one here too!

Location: 89 Ossignton Ave.
Reservations: Yes
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday 7 pm – 1 am, Thursday-Saturday 7 pm – 2 am

Paradise Grotto

Paradise Grotto is unique to anything you’ll find on this list. It is centrally located just off Queen West and specializes in all things tiki. If you aren’t into rum-based cocktails, this may not be the place for you, but I recommend you give it a try because the cocktails are fun and so delicious. Their food menu is also tasty and overall, it’s such a fun vibe. They also do a happy hour every day until 6 pm.

Location: 270 Adelaide St. W.
Reservations: Yes
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 4 pm – 2 am

Project Gigglewater

Another charming, cute cocktail bar that is often found on lists of Toronto’s Best Bars, Project Gigglewater is an unassuming spot on Dundas West with great cocktails. Order from their classic cocktail menu, or try something more unique. At Christmas time, their bar entirely transforms into a holiday-themed bar with a seasonal menu. This place has great vibes and a bonus for their Big Mac Springrolls that complement any cocktail.

Location: 1369 Dundas St. W
Reservations: Yes
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday 6 PM – 1 AM, Thursday – Saturday 6 PM – 2 AM

Honourable Mentions:

There are so many other fantastic bars around the city with new ones popping up every month. My list is always growing of new ones I want to try. So stay tuned for updates to this post.

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