Through the Looking-Glass…

Back in Van City, and after nearly a month of exploration & inspiration, I’m finally able to sort through my Toronto adventures and offer a few “Best Of..” lists!

First up – My Top 3 Cocktail Bars in Toronto

No, I didn’t get everywhere, but I did get through a LOT.  So, here, in order, were my personal faves, based on the total experience.

Cocktail Bar – This sweet little piece of perfection is basically my soul in a champagne cocktail.  From the moment you see the sign – hot pink neon, but understated at the same time – to the first sip of whatever tickles your fancy, you are drawn in.


From the group that also brings us Rhum Corner & The Black Hoofthe attention to vibe and detail is strong and specific. The room is intimate, the artful mix of classy and rustic design is lovely, and there is a magic you can sense right away. It even smelled ethereal. The bartender told us it was just whatever they were prepping for garnish or essence that day… nothing special. But it was special.  It was like a cocktail SPA.  What’s better than that?

Not the first (or last) place we went to… but will continue to be hard to top.

Bar Raval – You will hear this name as soon as you hit the streets.  Everyone, from local bartenders to the most inside of inside info, will recommend this hotspot – and rightly so. Bar Raval comes to us from another industry group of major success, which boasts several other spots on my list(s) such as one of my total faves, Bar Isabel – (more to come on this one…)

The cocktail game is consistent and strong and the menu (mainly a beautiful array of tapas) is inviting.  Outside, there are standing-room tables but inside, you become part of a spectacular tree.  Artsy swirls of wooden decor make up much of the room, walls and ceiling and the effect is cozy and a bit fantastical (albeit in a grown-up way.)

Head here for pre- or post-dinner drinks, or en entire evening of fun.


Cloak Bar – Anyone who knows me, knows I like a good secret. So it will be no surprise, that a small speakeasy off the beaten path would make this list.  Add that to the fact that it was 2 minutes from where I was staying and you’ve got a winner.

Any day of the week, that would be enough to make my faves, but add a famous bartender (the notoriously and acclaimed “H”), a secret entrance, a welcoming and awesome staff, and the best shishito peppers you have ever tried, and it’s a clear pick.  Oh yeah – and the cocktails!

[Side Note: There will need to be an entire post coming on shishito peppers, which seem to be the clear obsession of the Toronto scene…]

With a classy but cozy room, and a perfectly balanced cocktail selection, Cloak is the perfect secret.

There are SOOOOO many more to discuss and share, this is just the start – and I’d love to hear your top picks as well! Tweet me @meganemichael 


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