The nightlife scene in Toronto is as varied as the neighborhoods. Downtown—in the Entertainment and Financial districts and Old Town—bars and pubs cater to theatergoers and weekday worker bees. They can be dead on weekends after dark, however—especially in the Entertainment District—until 11 pm rolls around and the big loft-style dance clubs get going. To hang with locals at their neighborhood joints, head to Little Italy or the Annex, where university students mix with residents of the surrounding Victorian-lined streets.

Gay nightlife centers around Church and Wellesley streets northeast of the downtown core. Everyone under 40 ends up on Queen West at some point, patronizing the once-bohemian, now-established arty bars and cafés. Ladies who lunch meet for midday martinis in swanky Yorkville and later clink glasses at the tony lounges. Throughout the city are dedicated music venues, bars, and supper clubs that specialize in jazz, Latin, blues, rock, hip-hop, and everything in between.

Most recently Toronto has emerged as a food-obsessed city with late-night restaurants (from hole in the walls to the crème de la crème in fine dining), offering sips and nibbles to those who wish to feast past the usual dinner hour. Other emerging trends include a flourish of local brewpubs and luxury hotels offering unique evening programs which have locals and tourists swarming. In this section, we've covered the places that have cemented their place in the city's scene, but new hot spots are always emerging. Check local news outlets to get the latest.

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  • 1. Canoe

    Financial District | Bars/Pubs

    Though it's primarily a restaurant, Canoe, on the 54th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Bank tower, is worth a trip just for a drink at the bar...Read More

  • 2. The Roof Lounge

    Yorkville | Bars/Pubs

    Such Canadian literary luminaries as Margaret Atwood and Mordecai Richler have used the 18th-floor Roof Lounge as a setting in their writings...Read More

  • 3. The Second City

    Entertainment District | Comedy Clubs

    Since it opened in 1973, Toronto's Second City—the younger sibling of the Second City in Chicago—has been providing some of the best comedy...Read More

  • 4. Amsterdam BrewHouse

    Harbourfront | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    This brewpub, which opened its doors in July 2013, is the newest addition to Toronto's lakeside dining scene. Originally used as a boat freight...Read More

  • 5. Bar Chef

    Queen West | Bars/Pubs

    The dark interior features dimly lit chandeliers and tabletop candles, which set the stage for Chef Frankie Solarik's wild and wonderful concoctions...Read More

  • 6. Bar Volo

    Dundas Square Area | Bars/Pubs

    Despite its location on a busy thoroughfare, classy Bar Volo has a relaxed, brick-walled, wood-beamed, old-world atmosphere. A side patio is...Read More

  • 7. Bellwoods Brewery

    Ossington | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    This restaurant, bar, and on-site brewery has been a smash hit since it opened in 2012; expect a line if the sun is shining because the spacious...Read More

  • 8. Bier Markt

    Old Town | Bars/Pubs

    With more than 150 beers from 30 countries, including 50 on tap, this enormous restaurant/bar has a corner on the international beer market...Read More

  • 9. Bymark

    Financial District | Bars/Pubs

    Located in the heart of the Financial District, this culinary oasis is popular with the business suits that work in the area. Don't let that...Read More

  • 10. C'est What?

    Old Town | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    C'est What?. C'est What? has a wide selection of exclusively Canadian craft brews. 67 Front St. E , at Church , Old Town , Toronto , ON...Read More

  • 11. Café Diplomatico

    Little Italy | Bars/Pubs

    Holding court over a central Little Italy corner since 1968, Diplomatico is popular for one reason: its big sidewalk patio with umbrella-shaded...Read More

  • 12. CHURCH on Church

    Church–Wellesley | Dance Clubs

    CHURCH, which opened in the summer of 2012, is the newest spot to open its doors in the Village. This queer bar and lounge is a popular spot...Read More

  • 13. Cold Tea

    Chinatown | Bars/Pubs

    Located in the heart of Kensington Market and just a stone's throw from the heart of Chinatown, Cold Tea has an intimate, but rowdy bar scene...Read More

  • 14. Crews & Tangos

    Church–Wellesley | Bars/Pubs

    Downstairs is Crews, a gay and lesbian bar with a stage for karaoke or drag shows (depending on the night), a dance floor in back with a DJ...Read More

  • 15. dBar

    Yorkville | Bars/Pubs

    This high-end lounge in the new flagship Four Seasons Toronto is modern and subdued. The bartender serves up some of the city's best hand-crafted...Read More

  • 16. Fly

    Church–Wellesley | Dance Clubs

    Some of the biggest and best DJs from around the world have spun records at the original "Babylon" from television's Queer as Folk. An impressive...Read More

  • 17. Free Times Cafe

    Queen's Park | Live Music

    This casual restaurant specializes in Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Canadian food, with many vegetarian and organic options. There's live acoustic...Read More

  • 18. Gladstone Hotel

    Queen West | Bars/Pubs

    In a restored Victorian hotel, the Gladstone draws a young, stylish Toronto crowd who appreciate a multitude of creative events: karaoke (every...Read More

  • 19. Guu Izakaya SakaBar

    The Annex | Bars/Pubs

    An original concept imported from Vancouver, Guu has wowed local audiences with its rowdy Izakaya atmosphere—every guest is greeted with a cheerful...Read More

  • 20. Hemingways

    Yorkville | Bars/Pubs

    One of the few Toronto pubs that isn't overtaken by rowdy sports fans or students, Hemingways is a homey bastion in a sea of Yorkville swank...Read More

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