Food & Drink

Toronto’s best new wine bars, shops and clubs

We miss going to bars, we really (really, really) do. But until we can all safely sidle up to one, many of the city’s best wine bars have switched up their offerings, transforming into streetside vino patios, bottle bodegas and de facto wine clubs. All of them offer a selection of bottles seldom found at your neighbourhood LCBO.

Remember that as per law, you still have to purchase food with your bottle. But that’s hardly a tough ask considering many places are offering souped-up snacks for takeout, like Happy Coffee and Wine’s crispy shrimp burgers and Midfield Wine Bar’s melée of house-made charcuterie. Here, 13 of the best new places to celebrate Wine Wednesday (or any day of the week).

Paradise Grapevine

This west-end wine oasis moved their drinks program online a few months back, offering biodynamic wines, Basque ciders and small-batch beers for pickup or delivery. But with too much free time on their hands, they took the whole wine shop concept one step further and went out to wine country to make their own boozy beverages. Their rosé and orange wines sold out in seconds, but you can still get your hands on their hard seltzer—a sparkling, super-crushable peach- and lime zest–infused riesling in cute cans. 841 Bloor St. W., 416-536-7178,

Midfield Wine Bar

Midfield has long been one of the best places in the city for wine. That’s still true, but now, the stalwart wine bar has transformed its space into a bottle shop slash charcuterie store. The wide range of bottles trot through price points and wine regions, and you can expect to find many rare gems from the bar’s cellar. A selection of local cheeses, koji-aged beef and cured meats, and fresh focaccia can be found in the fridges. 1434 Dundas St. W., 647-345-7005,

Happy Coffee and Wine

This Parkdale spot opened earlier this year as a café, slinging light snacks and great coffee during the day. The owners had planned to turn the lights down at night and crack open a few small-producer bottles of wine, morphing into a local wine bar. But the pandemic had other plans, and they turned the space into a full-fledged bottle shop instead. Stop in for fresh coffee and snacks (hello, pork belly ssam wraps) while browsing the curated bottle selection. Look out for stuff from B.C.’s Sunday in August and Neon Eon Wines. 1304 King St. W.,

Tommy’s Wine Bar

Tommy’s is another spot that was set to have a grand opening in late March. Obviously that plan was derailed, so the former variety store now sells coffee, beer and a selection of (affordable!) wines, plus sandwiches from Donna’s. Pro tip: the bottled martinis and canned sparkling wines from Ramona make for perfect park sips. 1977 Dundas St. W., @tommyswinebarto

Bot’L Shop

Bathurst Local, a dialled-down nook of a bar near Kensington Market, set up an online wine shop with free same-day delivery to weather the pandemic. Guests can pop in to peruse the IRL bottle shop—one guest at a time—for selections from Envinate, Koppitsch and La Storga, plus cool sake and beers. Bottles rotate weekly, so the smart thing to do is to stop in frequently for hidden gems. 322 Bathurst St., 647-969-7700,

Chez Nous

Can’t make it out to Niagara or Prince Edward County? Pour a little Ontario in your glass, courtesy of Chez Nous. The Leslieville wine bar offers a curated bottle shop of all-Ontario wines, plus table service for parties of two or three. Leaning Post, Rosehall Run and Malivoire all make the menu, but bottles can only be purchased in-person. 798 Queen St. E., 416-781-4743,

Grape Glass

The self-titled Grape Witches have spent the last few years carrying the banner for natural and biodynamic wines in the city through their stellar monthly wine club, pop-up natural wine parties and educational events. The next logical step was to give their work a permanent home, and in early September, they raised a glass to the opening of their new bottle shop. Housed in the former Milk Glass gallery on Dundas West, visitors can sip on wine while browsing the shelves of hard-to-find bottles. 1247 Dundas St. W.,


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Grape Crush Wine and Juice Box Bar

At the start of the pandemic, the Soso Food Club team got creative, quickly turning the space into Grape Crush, a bottle shop where they sold natural wines from a takeout window. They gained a huge following, so they’ve pivoted again, opening up a permanent bottle shop that’s also a wine bar hybrid in the former Soso space. Grape Crush offers same-day delivery across the city, but customers can also swing through the shop to pick up a few bottles, or crack one open on Juice Box Bar’s patio. Expect affordable prices and an expansive selection of small-producer bottles. 1166 Dundas St. W.,

The Federal

Throughout the pandemic, the Fed has been emptying its cellar and curating too-cool wine packs. And while the restaurant is back slinging their signature brunch sandwiches, their wine bundles are still going strong. Expect bottles from local wineries paired with baller bottles from cult producers around the globe. (Bonus: each pack comes with a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.) Like what they’re doing? Sign up for Offshore, their new wine club. 1438 Dundas St. W., 647-352-9120,

Archive 909

Every Thursday to Monday, this Dundas West wine bar is offering wines by the glass and small snacks on their streetside patio. The space itself is serving as a pickup place for Archive’s impressive virtual bottle shop. Over 400 bottles are up for grabs online, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a single one of them at the LCBO. The Beaujolais section of the shop is particularly impressive, as is the range of orange wine—just remember to throw an order of duck rillettes, spiced almonds or Comté cheese in with your order. If you’re choosing not to venture out, they offer delivery. 909 Dundas St. W., 647-748-0909,

Peter Pantry

The team behind Peter Pan Bistro has transformed a portion of the Queen West restaurant into Peter Pantry, a bodega with a focus on great wines, meal kits and snacks. Pre-made meal kits range from eggs Benedict to steak dinners. A big draw here is the rotating bottles from different wine regions. September is all about Austria, so expect bottles from cult producers like Gut Oggau and Meinklang. 373 Queen St. W., 416-792-3838,

Good Cheese

A one-stop shop for all your socially distanced happy hour needs, this East Chinatown gem peddles an expansive selection of cheese and natural wines. Bottles from La Stoppa (a lauded organic vineyard in Emilia-Romagna run by the goddess of natural wine, Elena Pantaleoni) and a breezy red from Celler Comunica are particularly enticing options. 614 Gerrard St. E., 416-285-8482,

Bottega Volo

At both Bar Volo and its sister spot, Birreria Volo, drinkers will find an expansive list of Spanish cider, wines and craft beers, plus cured meats and Spanish treats. The bottle shop is open seven days a week, and if you choose to, you can grab a glass and stay a while once you’re done shopping. 17 St. Nicholas St., 416-928-0018; 612 College St., 416-531-7373,


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