Are you on the lookout for the most poppin’ Unique Bars in Toronto?
Then we have you covered!
On this page, you’ll find the official shortlist of the best Unique Bars in Toronto. (More in-depth further below)
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These aren’t all foofy bars that serve a glass of mismatched ingredients for the sake of complexity. Rather, we’ve narrowed down the best bars in Toronto for delicious drinks, atmosphere, and a good time in general. While some bars make cocktails using local Ontario spirits as well as international ingredients such as aquavit, others simply serve a canned concoction in a dimly lit space that feels cozier than home — and we love them all. Whether you’re looking for a casual drink to unwind after work or want to get dressed up and sip on a gram-worthy creation, we’ve got the best bars in Toronto for any mood.
BarChef is a dimly lit, intimate hangout offering creative cocktails with over 5,000 housemade bitters. One of Toronto’s essential cocktail bars, BarChef plays with molecular gastronomy to create memorable beverages. Bartenders here pride themselves on preparing all infusions, bitters, and syrups in-house, so their cocktails taste as good as they look. Watch as patrons “ooh” and “ahh” when pieces of drinkable art are presented to them. BarChef is a genuinely modern drinking experience that easily impresses anyone. BarChef is an award-winning cocktail bar, events company, and bottled cocktail manufacturer. They strive to create exceptional, multisensory imbibing experiences, utilizing culinary techniques and the highest quality ingredients. BarChef has cutting-edge mixology that’s not only some of the best in Toronto but a standard-bearer on the global cocktail scene.
The menu at BarChef expresses the company’s philosophy: mixology should be “an immersive, memorable, nostalgic, and emotional drinking experience.” Fortunately, the atmosphere lives up to these lofty expectations. The space allows the imposing bar to take center stage, with candles, exposed brick, and bottles and jars that look like they belong in a “Harry Potter” potions class. People travel from all over the world to sample BarChef’s high-concept, outrageous, award-winning cocktails. The extensive menu is divided into sections such as Sipping Cocktails and Modernist Cocktails. A selection of barrel-aged cocktails is particularly noteworthy, especially the luscious Fig Thief, a blend of fig-infused rum, Madeira, dry vermouth, cacao bitters, and star anise. For spirits purists, BarChef also excels at great drams of whisky; it stocks top-notch bottles from Ireland, Scotland, Japan, India, Sweden, and Canada.
With items like spiced nuts, housemade truffled potato chips, and crispy hunks of Japanese fried chicken, the tightly edited menu of bar snacks is just enough to hit the spot. There’s a reason serious bartenders worldwide do training stints at BarChef. Navigating the comprehensive drinks list is no small feat, but everyone who works here makes it look easy. Come for cutting-edge mixology that’s not only some of the best in Toronto but a standard-bearer on the global cocktail scene. BarChef has become the foundation for Toronto’s cocktail culture in the fashion district on Queen Street West. From the moment you enter, the essence of fresh herbs, spices, and caramelized fruits engulfs your senses. A 50-pound block of ice glows colorfully atop the slate bar, hand-chipped upon requirement. BarChef Frankie Solarik has created an extensive cocktail list using culinary techniques and only the freshest ingredients.
Paris Paris is an unpretentious wine bar with many bottles by the glass plus an internationally inspired snack menu. Paris is a daytime and nighttime destination where tables are always full, but there always seems to be room for everyone. This could be a pre-dinner party or your entire night’s plan. It’s worth squeezing in or splitting a table. With incredible food and an adventurous wine list, Paris Paris has also hosted special wine nights featuring natural wines and female sommeliers from the superstar Grape Witches. This all-day wine bar, located in a former art gallery space, has large plate-glass windows that let in light throughout the day. The interior design incorporates exposed brick, a lot of wood, industrial bar stools, and potted plants to create a relaxed yet refined atmosphere.
Because the front room only has about 40 seats and the dining room in the back has about 30 more, the space fills up quickly. Girlfriends catching up after work, guys attempting to make an excellent first impression on first dates, and oenophiles of all stripes. For the wines, skip the simple mixed drinks. The list favors New World and biodynamic winemakers and includes approximately 30 options by the glass and 150 bottles ranging in price from $45 to $350. You can order from the entire menu until midnight when the kitchen switches to bar snacks. Try the chicken liver mousse tartine, served on grilled sourdough bread with shaved cremini mushrooms and a drizzle of honey, or the roast half chicken with Piri Piri and gray salt. The bartenders will guide you through the wine list until you’ve found the perfect bottle.
Paris has a great wine list—without pretense. Paris Paris is, first and foremost, a wine bar open all day. Jonny Poon and Jesse Fader, co-owners of Bar Fancy and Super point, have always taken pride in serving great wine alongside elevated versions of late-night fare like fried chicken and pizza. They continue to indulge that passion here with the help of partner Gani Shqueir. Two new skylights add a natural glow to the front forty-seat dining area, including a lovely swooping wood bar and other woodwork (including bread boxes for house sourdough) by local Graham Waliczek. The back of the restaurant houses a second bar and private dining area with an open kitchen. House bread with scrumptiously salty and rich whipped butter ($5), made fresh by a baker from Woodlot, is a must.
Bar Poet has Guests dine on pizzas & sliders below twinkle light-adorned trees at this outpost with wine on tap. Step inside this dimly lit West Queen West haunt, and you’ll feel immediately transported to the patio of one of Italy’s cobblestone alleyway restaurants. String lights twinkle above the restaurant, suspended from faux trees that run the length of the space. They have several local beers on tap (including their lager and IPA) as well as red and white wine. More is also available by the glass or bottle. Cocktails range from classics to house creations such as the Candy Necklace, which features rhubarb and ginger gin, blueberry and cranberry syrup, and a rhubarb and ginger syrup. The pizzas are equally inventive, with our favorite being the Microdose with garlic cream sauce, mushrooms, and caramelized onions.
Bar Poet has a menu of $10 pizzas accompanied by wine on tap and cocktails priced similarly. Formerly Church Aperitivo Bar, the space with a capacity of about 100 people has been completely transformed into an indoor patio escape. A large striped awning looms over the entire bar, and fireproofed real trees sprout fake leaves intertwined with twinkly lights that mimic stars. Begin a meal or snack with a Li’l Banger ($4.50), a crushable slider with a beef patty, shredded lettuce, secret sauce, American cheese, and juicy roasted cherry tomatoes elevate the dish. A shareable family-size Peaches & Cream salad costs $18 and features a base of creamy, salty stracciatella topped with caramelized roasted peaches, a mountain of fresh arugula, a chardonnay dressing, almonds, black pepper, and parm.
The pizza here is slightly crisper than Neapolitan, stretchy with a subtle sourdough tang, and made with stone-ground 00 flour that has been fermented for three days. The Hot Rod ($9) is a basic pepperoni pizza topped with traditional red sauce made from a blend of California and San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, and perfectly curled little cups of pepperoni. Hot honey to finish adds a little sweetness, spiciness, and flair to this staple. They have a white pizza topped with sweetly caramelized mortadella, crunchy pistachios, taleggio, ricotta, hot honey, and chives ($9.95). Wines range in price from $9 for a chilled white and red on tap to $97 for a pet-nat Groszer Wien. What makes this place poetic isn’t so much a strict literary theme as it is a whimsical philosophy of providing “something for everyone,” whether it’s high-end champagne or a game of Skee-Ball.
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With the selection of impeccable fare at some of these establishments, it can be difficult to determine whether they are truly bars or some of Toronto’s best restaurants, so we’ll leave that up to you. The bar scene in Toronto is thriving. There’s literally something for everyone in the city’s neighborhoods, from expertly crafted cocktails to craft beer, video games, pinball, live music, and drag shows. Toronto, without a doubt, has many excellent restaurants, but there is another option when it comes to eating and drinking: unique bars. We have it all, from the most luxurious to savor to classy taste, to the speakeasy, hidden bars!