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Drinking in Toronto

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Will be in town for a wedding this fourth weekend. Wedding and hotel are downtown (am staying at the Sheraton). Looking for some suggestions on where to go for drinks either walking distance or a short cab ride away.

Does Toronto have any sort of "speakeasy" lounge type places that specialize in mixed drinks? Something like PDT in NY or Violet Hour in Chicago, etc.? Or if not a specialty, some place with excellent mixed drinks, a relatively quiet atmosphere good for chatting, good seating options, etc?

Also, am looking for a good rec for a casual Friday night dinner... possibly in the Yorkville area? That is where everyone goes, right? Love contemporary American (or Canadian I guess) food (well... all food, actually). Good drinks also required!

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  1. For Friday dinner I would definitely bypass Yorkville and head down to Queen West. The most convenient spot for you might be Nota Bene (www.notabenerestaurant.com), which is stumbling distance from your hotel.

    I'd also take a look at Nyood (www.nyood.ca) or possibly Globe Bistro (www.globebistro.com). All of these places do well with cocktails and probably fit the bill for atmosphere. If you go to Nyood you're relatively close to Ossington Street which is very hot right now (possibly on the edge of losing its edge, but now's the time to check it out). Nyood is my personal favourite of these, but it is a small plate menu so you have to enjoy that kind of eating (if you like gin cocktails, try the cassis-y variation on the Aviation).

    Toronto has been pretty far behind on the cocktail curve and is really just starting to hit its stride, but a couple of other places to check out for drinks might be the Black Hoof, the Harbord Room, or Sidecar. They're all recommended places to eat too, but perhaps a little more casual than the places you've flagged (they're small-ish restaurants, no lounge space, etc).

    Hope you enjoy Toronto!!

    1. I think Rabbit's suggestions are great, and I'd highly recommend all of them. There's also a place called "Bar Chef" on Queen W, which has some pretty great, inventive drinks, but the atmosphere isn't quite there yet. I'd call it closer to Pegu than Little Branch or PDT. I don't think you can go off menu there, either, although I haven't tried. (And I'm trying Violet Hour this weekend.... can't wait!)