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. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Jazz Bistro

    Dundas Square Area | Bars/Pubs

    Finding a quiet place to relax and listen to great music is a rarity in busy Dundas Square (the Times Square of Toronto). Luckily, there's the...Read More

  • 15. La Carnita

    Little Italy | Bars/Pubs

    It may seem odd that this wildly popular Mexican spot is in Little Italy, but don't let it deter you. Originally started as a pop-up taco stand...Read More

  • 16. Lobby Lounge at Shangri-La

    Entertainment District | Bars/Pubs

    The Shangri-La Hotel has become wildly popular with the refined 20–30 something set keen for live music, top notch cocktails, and bar bites...Read More

  • 17. Mill Street Brew Pub

    Distillery District | Bars/Pubs

    There may not be a better place in the city for a brewery and pub than in the brick-laned pedestrian-only Distillery District. Sixteen house...Read More

  • 18. Momofuku Nikai

    Entertainment District | Bars/Pubs

    Located across the street from the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, those looking for a cocktail before or after the ballet and...Read More

  • 19. Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill

    Financial District | Bars/Pubs

    If you want to "see and be seen" in the Financial Distirct head to this 14,500 square foot restaurant and bar, which has a wraparound patio...Read More

  • 20. Playa Cabana Hacienda

    The Annex | Bars/Pubs

    One of the city's favorite Tequilerias, Playa Cabana, opened this sister property in July 2013. The Hacienda, as it's fondly known, offers a...Read More

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