An evening on the town—whether a quick snack with your plus one, or a raging all-nighter with friends—always deserves a spectacular soundtrack. Music, after all, is the food of the soul. When deciding on a worthy venue for your Saturday night (or Thursday afternoon, or Monday morning), the featured playlist is almost as important as the food. Sitting at a cold, sterile table with nothing but muffled, ambient voices and scraping silverware to score your meal—you might as well be at home! We’ve compiled a list of our favourite restaurants with the most awesome playlists for your dining pleasure—a little something for everyone. Any we missed? Add your sweet spots to the comments below.
Lipstick and Dynamite | 992 Queen Street West
This relatively new Queen West juke joint makes the most of their dodgy, yet perfectly curated décor, which includes velvet paintings and battered easy chairs. Despite the sparse menu, generously portioned dishes are prepared fresh, with considerable vegan flair, at the bar. Best of all, an eclectic mix of gnarly post punk, glam, and jangly rockabilly, plus the occasional feature film classic, feature throughout.
Fat Pasha | 414 Dupont Street
The exotic cuisine—in sensible, yet sharable portions—is reason alone to visit this Middle-Eastern influenced eatery just north of the Annex. Old school R&B permeating from the decks, and a general mellow vibe floating from table to table, will surely have you returning for seconds.
Kanpai | 252 Carlton Street
This Cabbagetown gem, a great mixture of Taiwanese-inspired, east-meets-west recipes, also heaps heavy emphasis on style and sound. Slick, throwback hip-hop is always on the menu—literally, dishes are appropriately coined, including “A Tribe Called Hakka” and “Edamame Said Knock You Out”—so too is a vast array of brews and exotic mixers for the most discerning imbiber.
Wallflower | 1665 Dundas Street West
With its intimate setting and old world décor beckoning from behind its expansive window on Dundas West, Wallflower sets the high standard for comfort food and easy listening. Boasting an impressively stocked bar, manned by a knowledgeable staff of food and wine connoisseurs, and a lone laptop replete with an eclectic mix of jazz, folk, and bluegrass, this charming bistro is a like a velvety dream.
The Beaver | 1192 Queen Street West
Straddling the blurry Parkdale / Queen West border, The Beaver offers the queer and queer-friendly contingent of hipster hotties an eclectic mix of sights, sounds and flavours, featuring a thoughtful, underrated dinner menu, and a sound system (at the perfect volume) piping out everything from Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, Grace Jones, and Neneh Cherry. Events are nearly a nightly occurrence and feature all of the above, minus food, cranked to the max!
La Carnita | Various locations
Street food meets street art meets knotty pine and neon signs—a flossy, glossy good time are in store for fans of no-fuss Mexican dishes and ice cold cervezas. Now with three eclectic locations in which to get your fiesta on.
Carbon Bar | 99 Queen East
This rock ‘n’ roll inspired joint offers up droolworth and “un-pretentious” snacks in a welcoming atmosphere for every type of crowd. Plus they blast Indie88’s Midnight City every Friday and Saturday night. What else could you ask for?