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Quiet drinks suggestions?

  • c

I'll be visiting Toronto in a couple of weeks (first time), and am meeting a friend who will also be coming from out of town (again, first time in Toronto).

We've got dinner and lunch plans sorted out for the few days we're visiting, but I'm interested in trying to find somewhere for drinks on Friday and Saturday night after dinner. Places on the more quiet side are preferred, but this doesn't mean you have to be able to hear a pin drop. I would prefer to stay away from dance clubs and the like. Somewhere that has a relaxed vibe where we can sit back, drink a couple of bottles of wine and be able to hear one another without shouting.

We are staying in the Annex area, and are having dinner downtown both nights - JKWB (my choice) and Barberian's (his choice), so perhaps somewhere local to any of these would be good options. Suggestions anyone?

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  1. I second JKWB - great spot. The bar at Harbour 60 is very nice with good atmosphere as well, though expensive. You may want to consider Canoe - it will be relatively quiet after dinner and the view from the 54th floor of the TD Centre is spectacular. There is also Caren's wine bar in Yorkville, though I have not been in at least a year.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mac n cheeze

      Caren's Wine and Cheese is a good choice. You can just go for drinks or add on a cheese course if you like.

      158 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M5R1A8, CA

    2. Since you're in the Annex, the bar at the Four Seasons would work out nicely. I think it's called Avenue Bar, and if you get a table by the window, you'll have a nice view of the people walking along Avenue Road. No one will rush you out here.

      1. How about the Library Bar at the Royal York Hotel?

        1. Since you're both a couple of out of towners, how about some bars with a nice view of the City:

          1) my fav is the Rooftop lounge at the Park Hyatt Hotel (northwest corner of Avenue Road and Bloor). A bit on the pricey side, but the atmosphere is great, the staff attentive and some of the best bartenders in the city. Plus the view from the 18th floor looking down University Ave is magnificent.

          2. Vertical Lounge at 100 King is a nice place and the bartenders know their stuff if you want something other than a martini or a cosmo.

          3. The Panorama Lounge at the Manulife Building (Bay and Bloor) on the 51st floor (I think) has a great view of the city and is very relaxed.

          4. The Brassai on King is a quiet bar. I like the big couchs for relaxing. Haven't been there in awhile though I suspect it hasn't cvhanged much .http://www.brassaii.com/gallery.htm

          1 Reply
          1. re: Finnegan

            Absolutely second the Rooftop, and Panorama! Both allow for conversation, both offer stunning views of the city. I'd recommend the Rooftop around sunset, and Panorama when it's dark. Unfortunately, it's still too cold, or I'd also recommend some of the Yorkville area patios.

          2. The Consort Bar at the King Edward Hotel is quiet, with a nice atmosphere, and it would be quite close to JKWB.

            1. I think you've got some great suggestions here (most of what immediately came to mind for me has already been put out there)... but a couple of editorial comments:

              I'll second the Roof (lots of cozy corners and great view) or Caren's (better wine list here but no view) if you want to stay in Yorkville. I'd avoid Panorama (despite the view, I find it has a weird atmosphere... like it never quite figured out what it wants to be). Proof, the bar at the Intercontinental hotel is also not-bad. And although it can be a bit scene-y, Sassafraz is actually not a bad place to drink (you can get a decent bottle for under $50) and I think they stay open quite late.

              If you want to stay near dinner (JKWB... which is one of my consistent faves!) I love the Library Bar (dark, cozy, good cocktails). Harbour Sixty is almost ruinously expensive for casual drinking, especially if you want to drink wine (although I am a fan of the place). Canoe has a gorgeous view, but it might close on the relatively early side.

              I can't really think of any good-drinking near Barberian's, and would probably head back up to Yorkville / the Annex for wine-ing.

              Please let us know how your trip goes!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Rabbit

                Just a note on the Canoe suggestions - keep in mind that they're closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Great spot though.

              2. I would suggest the bar at One in the Hazelton Hotel or the new bar off the lobby of the Windsor Arms.

                Both provide a sophisticated atmosphere, good cocktails, are not overly packed and are convenient for your Annex location.

                The crowds there also tend to be more local, as opposed to other hotel options.

                I find the bar at the Park Hyatt nice (as is the view) but pretty cookie-cutter. Many upscale hotels accross North America have very similar establishments, and the crowd at the PH tends to be your typical white collar business traveller.

                5 Replies
                1. re: srivsquare

                  I find One not very relaxing, or easy for conversation. Aside from the bar, there are about 4 tables at which to sit and it is a real "scene" and it is very expensive. I've been there at least a dozen times since it opened (on business functions) and it's been the same every time. I don't think the OP and friend will be able to have a conversation without shouting

                  1. re: mac n cheeze

                    Surprised to hear that. I find Thurs definitely as your describe, but on Fri and Sat around 10, I've never found it difficult to take over one of the seating areas with a group and have normal volume conversation. I would estimate there are 12 seats at bar and about 8 groups of four chairs each.

                    1. re: srivsquare

                      Surprised to hear that :)
                      Maybe I am put off by it because of the frequency which I have been there (Thurs through Sat at the various times). I also (personally) find it overpriced, relative to other options in Yorkville

                      I find Avenue Bar (Four Seasons) a lot more comfortable, more "lounge-y", even though it too can be a scene, often

                      1. re: mac n cheeze

                        Point taken! You're probaly right - I just like that Toronto now has a few more good hotel options. We took a long time to come around to the theory that locals can enjoy hotel bars and resturants!

                        1. re: srivsquare

                          I agree! We were severely lacking in hotel options - it is definitley better now
                          I used to live in NYC and loved a lot of the hotel bars -- the Gansevoort, W Union Square (actiually, most of the W Hotel bars), and other boutique hotels down in Tribeca/Chelsea/Soho

                2. My favourite place in the the Annex is definitely the Rooftop at Park Hyatt Hotel.