Wine-only bars might be scarce in Toronto, but there’s no shortage of restaurants with broad by-the-glass lists and small sharing plates. The best news, though, is that despite these spots’ smart decor and knowledgeable staff, they’re all approachable hangouts, suitable for oenophiles and casual wine drinkers alike.
Bricco Kitchen and Wine Bar
Bricco Kitchen and Wine Bar is an elegant yet unpretentious wine bar in The Junction, where owner and sommelier Eric Gennaro grew up as a child. The name Bricco comes from the northwest region of Italy, in the foothills of the Alps. Naturally, the menu here is simple Italian and can be paired with one of the 20 wines Bricco serves, including rotating red and white flights.
Midfield Wine Bar
Midfield Wine Bar opened relatively quietly in 2012, but it’s since become a must-visit for oenophiles along the rapidly gentrifying Dundas West. With a wine list that offers three-ounce and half-glass pours for tasting, a low-key vibe, and affordable prices, it’s no surprise that Midfield’s gained notoriety over the years. But it’s not just the wine that attracts patrons—the menu here has transformed from charcuterie boards to an eclectic assortment of snacks, including deep-fried cauliflower and arepas.
Perhaps the most casual wine bar you’ll find in the city, Archive appeals to Dundas West’s dressed-down creative types. You know, the ones who are likely to frequent next-door-neighbour Saving Grace the next morning for brunch. Along with their extensive list of wine, spirits, beer, and cocktails, Archive serves food in the form of meat and cheese plates, tapas, sweets, and nibbles, which includes five-dollar plates of bread, pickles, olives, and spiced almonds.
Salt Wine Bar
Salt offers a selection of Canadian/Iberian tapas dishes, featuring everything from crispy duck confit to blistered shishito peppers, which can be paired with their extensive list of Spanish and Portuguese wines. Located on lower Ossington, just south of Dundas, the candle-lit, wood-heavy space is dark, cozy, and filled with small tables, making it a prime spot for a date night, particularly on a cold or rainy evening.
SIP Wine Bar
SIP Wine Bar is a sophisticated hangout serving a large selection of wine and authentic Neapolitan pizza to the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood. The wine list focuses on Italian bottles, and at least a dozen of them can be ordered by the glass. With more than 80 seats out front and a private dining room that fits 45 in the back, SIP is an excellent choice for both larger and more exclusive events.
Skin + Bones
At this East End restaurant and wine bar, each dish on the Old World-inspired menu is prepared from scratch and makes use of seasonally fresh and farmer-direct ingredients. With dishes like grilled octopus, house-made gnocchi, and beef tartar, Skin + Bones highlights clean and simple flavours, which are paired perfectly with their wine list. Given the name, it should come as no surprise that the dining room and partially open kitchen that inhabit the former warehouse are rather minimalist.
Located at King and Portland, this cool Italian outpost, featuring marble countertops and sky-high ceilings, is the perfect place to grab a glass of wine and small bite to eat following a show at one of the nearby theatres. Bar Buca offers two-and-a-half and five-ounce pours of more than a dozen wines, which its knowledgeable staff can pair with their wide range of Italian dishes.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.