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"Happy Hour" Cocktails Downtown Toronto?

Hello, I would be grateful for some recommendations in Downtown Toronto for a group of easy-going, open-minded (but tragically unhip) academics to meet-up and have a few cocktails (wine and/or beer is okay too if the atmosphere is right). We will be in town for an academic conference and we will have a wide span of ages (graduate students to older profs) and budgets. I would say there will be about 20 of us +/-, and I anticipate drinks with the possibility of dinner afterward (dinner service, however, is not a must for a happy hour venue).

many thanks

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  1. For that size crowd i'd suggest The Paddock.

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    Paddock
    178 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5V2R4, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dr. No

      This looks like a great place, and right along what I was thinking. Having the choice for both beer and cocktails is even better! Thanks for the suggestion.

    2. When I used to work downtown, we liked the Keg on York Street. They have less expensive food like sliders, nachos, etc. but also more filling foods (typical Keg-food). They have awesome cocktails though but also a good beer selection and they could fit a group that size. Otherwise, I'd suggest the Duke of Gloucester on Bay Street.

      1 Reply
      1. re: canadianbeaver

        Thanks for your suggestions! I am guessing the Keg is part of a chain that we can also find here in the states? I think we'd rather try something less chain-like and more unique authentic to the city.

      2. If you're expecting discount cocktails, not in Ontario!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dimbulb

          I used the term "happy hour" to indicate the time of day that we will be drinking, not the price of those drinks. However, since some of our folks are more budget conscious than not, price does factor into our venue.

        2. If you're looking for a place for good atmosphere conductive to discussions, Duke of Gloucester is a great choice. Another good choice is the 3 Brewers Brewpub on Yonge Street just south of Dundas.

          If you're looking for south downtown (Front Street), I recommend C'est What. They have a fantastic line of Ontario microbrews on tap, including my personal favourite the Denison Weissbier (probably the best Ontario white on the market). They have a pretty good menu too... I find their sweet potato fries go great with beer.

          Some might say Beerbistro is a good place for drinks followed by dinner, but I find the place to be too crowded and loud during post-work hours. There are simply too many loud, boisterous... bankers... letting off steam from the workday.

          1. Schmooze (Mercer St.) has $2 drinks on Fridays till 9pm. Food is excellent. LARGE patio. Great atmosphere.

            Brant House has $3 drinks on Thursday. Not sure what time their happy hour is finished.

            Milestones is great for food and drinks (John & Richmond)

            1 Reply
            1. re: hbada

              disagree strongly about milestones

            2. Beer Bistro is a great place if you're looking for a nice beer selection and wines (they're not too pricey). They also have good food. And they take reservations, so you can easily reserve a table and not worry about not getting a spot. Otherwise, if you're looking for something standard and casual, Yonge & Dundas square has Milestones and Jack Astors.

              lunchboy

              http://nofreelunchonbayst.blogspot.com/

              1. A good local place to go for drinks is "C'Est What?" You'll be able to get all kinds of local craft beers, local wines, and there is an extensive whiskey bar, etc. They do have food there as well, although I don't think I've ever eaten there. There are other restaurants in the area as well. The one problem you might have is getting twenty people around the same table. If you don't mind doing a few different tables you should be fine. (http://www.cestwhat.com/

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                Note: you will be able to get cocktails as well as beer and wine just about everywhere you might consider going downtown.