22 July 2018

5 hottest bars in Toronto
Don't miss these awesome cocktail bars. The hottest places to unwind after dark.
By Kasey Wilson
Kasey Wilson is a food and travel writer, broadcaster and author. She is editor of Best Places Vancouver; executive producer and co-host of AM650¹s Best of Food & Wine and author of ten non-fiction books. Wilson was inducted into the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame and is a judge for The World¹s 50 Best Restaurants.
The Black Hoof
Think of this spot not as a single entity but as three different affiliated environments leading you on a voyage of discovery. The Black Hoof is a restaurant and bar, next door is the Haitian-themed Rhum Corner and across the street is the cocktail bar.
People have been known to start in one spot and make their way through all three. Food at the Black Hoof is like its name suggests -- meat-centric and featuring some interesting cuts like “Pop’N Chips” Blood Pudding, smoked sweetbreads and tuna, beef tendon with grits, tongue on brioche or horse tartare. Across the street, the cocktail bar offers a longer cocktail list and some challenging snacks like Popcorn Chicken Hearts or Nduja (a spreadable and spicy pork sausage) Devilled Eggs. And the Rhum Corner celebrates all things rum with Caribbean snacks and plates. All three spots are boisterous, casual and epitomize social lubrication at its finest.
Tel: +1 416-792-7511 http://theblackhoof.com/
Bar Isabel
Is it a bar or is it a restaurant? Maybe like the Spanish hole-in-wall places it emulates it’s a little of both.
Either way this evocative grotto decked out in wood and decorative ornamental floor tiling will captivate your senses, whether on the plate or in a glass. Cocktails with evocative names like A Woman Scorned, The Bicycle Thief, Marie from Sevilla or The Hopeless Mermaid are certainly enticements along with the excellent microbrew and wine listings.
The tapas lineup is equally alluring along with the bar snacks, great cheese selection and in-house cured meats. Their motto is “We like cooking really tasty food. You like eating it.” It doesn’t get any simpler than that -- or any better.  
Tel: +1 416-532-2222 http://barisabel.com/
Tucked away inside the Four Seasons Hotel on swanky Yorkville Avenue, this chic bar lounge is fuelled by a great cocktail menu and Chef Daniel Boulud’s exquisite bar-friendly food. Sleek and sophisticated best describes the loft-like interior with a variety of bottom-plunking options from bar stools to comfortable table seating to sectional sofas for larger groups.
The cocktails play twists on the classics along with some creative concoctions to whet your whistle. Stay high and dry with innovative lounge treats like Firehouse Poutine, crispy duck wings or the chef’s excellent selection of cured meats and terrines.
Tel: +1 416-963-6010 www.dbartoronto.com/

Spice Route
A mysterious, mesmerizing, marvelous and meditative interior, this is a space that is sure to transport you into another realm. Buddha gets a modern makeover and Old World Asia meets New World fusion cuisine and design with black and white wall mural photo panels depicting everything from water buffalo to temples to the skulls of the Killing Fields.
As an Asian bistro and bar, a lot of culinary territory is covered and although the menu throws out few surprises, it does the old standbys with flair. And along with the appealing martini and spiked tea selections there’s also a very good sake list.
Tel: +1 416-849-1808 www.spiceroute.ca/
DEQ Terrace & Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Billing itself as an urban oasis, the lovely outdoor terrace with its open-air fire pit and cozy sofas certainly emanates this feeling. DEQ manages to be both classic and modern simultaneously, a sensibility that also can be found in the cocktail listings. Visit in the summer, relax on the patio and sip an El Coco Palm d’Or or a classic Mojito.
The Chivito sandwich constructed with flat iron steak, bacon, egg and mozzarella has a cult following. If you want to share, order some oysters, truffle frites, an antipasti or charcuterie plate.
Tel: +1 416-585-2500 www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Toronto/
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