Five romantic Toronto bars for cocktails, conversation and hardcore canoodling
1. Cocktail Bar
At Dundas West’s jazz-humming speakeasy, cocktails by owner-bartender Jen Agg—an eye-glazing barrel-aged manhattan ($17) or a frothy Lavender Pisco Sour ($11)—do double-duty, functioning as both conversation pieces and social lubricants. 923 Dundas St. W., 416-792-7511.
2. The Yukon
Yes, it’s another dimly lit, vinyl-spinning Parkdale hole-in-the-wall—but it’s a particularly good one, with Lady and the Tramp–like intimacy, crafty cocktails (the tangy, gin-strong Orange Fizz is $12) and a golden glow putting everyone in their best light. 1592 Queen St. W., 647-348-8400.
3. Ritz Bar
A drink at the Ritz-Carlton’s swanky cocktail lounge will show your date you mean business. Luxe, romantic sips like the lavender-scented Flowers for My Sister vodka cocktail ($14), topped with a handful of rose petals, will certainly help curry favour. 181 Wellington St. W., 416-585-2500.
This Village resto-bar is, to borrow the cliché, whatever you want it to be: the first two levels are diner-friendly, and a DJ dominates the third. The solid cocktails ensure anyone can get lucky (we recommend the bourbon-soaked Millionaire, $13). 553 Church St., 416-926-2501.
Queen West’s wine bar is pointedly unstuffy—stem-free glassware, a soft indie soundtrack, a conspicuous dearth of intolerable oenophiles—and a great place to ease first-date palpitation over tasting flights (two three-ounce pours for $19). 676 Queen St. W., 416-214-9429.