Toronto Cocktail Lounges

The whisky best bar food and cocktailss that specialize in the harder stuff are as diverse as the many sources for the world’s best-known, barrel-aged grain spirit. These are eight of the best whisky bars in Toronto. The whisky selection is remarkably good at Dufferin Grove’s favourite Scottish pub, as is the food.

The Caledonian’s menu includes Scotch eggs and haggis with neeps and tatties. It feels like you need to sit in every seat at The Caledonian before you get a true sense of the room because it’s laid-out in a way that many tables feel like they are in their own private nook.

Equally well suited to days when “cool and dim” is needed to escape summer as for when “warm and cozy” is called for in winter. Like Allen’s, The Caledonian also have a secluded back patio. Glitz and Prohibition-era touches run deep at CC Lounge.

This downtown hangout (in the part of the Beardmore Building that was once a bookstore) has a remarkably broad selections of whisky, with more than 100 different labels. Canadian and U.S. whiskies (including bourbon) are a strong suit with more than 40 from our country alone.

If the world were a just place, Toronto would have a restaurant like Allen’s in every neighbourhood. It didn’t feel quite right to call it a “restaurant” (Allen’s refers to itself as a “Irish-inspired saloon”), because there are so many things that Allen’s does well.

The burger is easily one of the ten best in the city and their annual celebration of steak is on every carnivore’s must-do list. Despite the Irish connection, the whisky list leans strongly to Scotch. It offers several over-strength options, names some of the best niche distilleries, with the possibility for tasting several offerings from the catalogues of favourites like Highland Park and The Balvenie.

At Portland and Adelaide, SpiritHouse is Toronto’s latest weekend playground. On Kingston Road, almost to Victoria Park, Feathers is just about the last stop before Scarborough. The atmosphere is textbook British pub with all the accoutrements. The single malt Scotch menu here is deeper and more representative than just about any other in Toronto.

They also run a robust schedule of whisky events that have a strong focus on education, offering the opportunity to sample a broad range of relatively rare bottles. Comfortable nooks with a view of wood paneling and (pleasantly) musty books is the standard image for many whisky bars, but that rule is not cast in stone.

They also put on members-only tastings, with hard-to-find spirits, including whisky.

If anyone can make a members-only club work in Toronto, it’s cocktail and whisky aficionados. Luckily, members can bring guests into the speakeasy above Sidecar and the application process is fairly painless, if a bit pretentious. Cocktails and single malts are the two accents of the spirits program at TTS. They also put on members-only tastings, with hard-to-find spirits, including whisky. Whisky is one of the specialties at this College St. bar that refuses to be typecast. The whisky menu (there are 240 options) has plenty of appropriate choices from the bourbon and American rye departments that go aptly with the on-stage blues.

An opinionated cocktail bar that can be hard to find from the street, Hoof Cocktail bar is the drinking extension of the extinct, yet popular, restaurant The Black Hoof. You will find classic and clever drinks with bourbon, rye, cognac and more for the base.

You may want to try a Guajillo Margarita, even if you don’t know what guajillo infused tequila is. What you won’t find as the base is vodka, which owner Jen Agg declared as “dumb” in a blog post. If you can do without your vodka, you will gain low lighting, smooth jazz and candles in mason jars as the backdrop to your drinking experience.

  • Mile Sheraton Hotel Centre
  • Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2V4
  • Restaurants – lounge – room service
  • Floors, 977 rooms – CAA 4 Diamonds

The food menu is limited, but does include Black Hoof inspired meaty elements, such as duck wings or popcorn chicken hearts. If you are really hungry, go to the Black Hoof after or before your drinks. An opinionated cocktail bar that can be hard to find from the street, Hoof Cocktail bar is the drinking extension of the extinct, yet popular, restaurant The Black Hoof.