Although there’s no imminent threat of prohibition, Toronto has fully embraced the faux speakeasy trend. While there’s no reason for these bars to hide the booze, finding them certainly lends a vibe reminiscent of the days when such activity was considered illicit.
Tucked away in alleys, hard-to-find entrances, and undefined signage…here are five of the finest “speakeasies” Toronto has to offer.
Cold Tea | 60 Kensington Ave.
This Kensington classic is one of the most well known “speakeasies” in the city. The bar is tucked in the back of Kensington Mall with it’s only identifier being a red light. Once you pass the lone dim sum merchant you will find that the hallway opens up to a bar.
The trek to this establishment reads a lot more complex than it actually is. The adventure is more than worth it once you find the eclectic bar with its Asian-influenced drink selection and patio outback. Did we mention they serve dim sum until close? Well, they do.
Unlovable | 1415 Dundas St. W
Unlovable is tucked under an unassuming travel agency on Dundas West. Keep your eye out for a heart with an X through it, as this is the bar’s logo. This bar is underground in the most literal sense. The interior channels that of an adolescent’s bedroom with its kitschy mismatched decor, especially the use of orange plastic chairs reminiscent of elementary school. For all you music nerds out there, the name of this bar is indeed a nod to The Smiths song.
After grabbing a drink be sure to play the Star Wars Pinball machine. It’s free.
Lo Pan | 503 College St.
Lo Pan is hidden above Dailo on College Street. This dark teal colored bar is charming with its large bay window overlooking the street. This bar is known for its inventive Asian-influenced cocktails. A highlight on the menu is the Matcha Milkshake which offers an alcoholic interpretation of this classic dessert.
The bar also offers an eclectic snack menu including items like KFC Popcorn Tofu and Big Mac Bao. Lo Pan is sure to impress with its secretive nature and classic interior. It can win over even the most pretentious crowd.
The Green Room | 296 Brunswick Ave.
To call bohemian mainstay The Green Room a speakeasy is a bit of a stretch. Although, if you ask anyone how they found it or when they first went there, they probably won’t know. This Annex staple is tucked behind a block of store fronts nestled between Brunswick Ave. and Borden Street. Walk down Brunswick and take the first alley on your right.
Inside The Green Room is a two floor bar with a secluded patio. You can keep it low key on one of the couches, or picnic tables outside. This bar is quite well known in the area and is a great place to go any night of the week.
Hole In The Wall | 2867 Dundas St. W
This is one of the Junction’s best kept secrets. Hole in The Wall’s name says it all. It is small and hard to find but when you do you will be greeted with great drinks, homemade fresh food and eclectic live shows. Even on a quiet night the bar boasts a selection of craft beers that are sure to please.
Where the bar really shines, though, is with its live performances. The bars tapered physicality sets it up for great acoustics. Although this establishment is narrow, it is deep and full of character.
Image via Flickr/margonaut