There’s no better reward for a hard day’s work than to find a comfortable table at your favourite bar and order up your beverage of choice. Maybe with some snacks.
A happy hour drink or two before heading home is also a great way to bond with your coworkers, keep the brainstorming going, and maybe even add a little extra creativity to the strategizing.
Well, for those of you who are downtown Toronto like us, our team has prowled (then stumbled, then crawled) the streets of the core to find the best spots for quitting time libations.
Here are our top picks:
The Irish Embassy
49 Yonge St., Toronto
Located in the heart of the Financial District on Yonge Street at Wellington, The Irish Embassy is an upscale pub. Rather than the traditional battered wood furnishings of a local pub, the Embassy features marble floors and columns and cathedral ceilings because it is situated in the restored heritage site of an 18th century bank building.
Drop by after work for a pint and a bite, specialties include swank pub food and a wide selection of beers and whiskies.
18 Wellington St., Toronto
Also at Yonge and Wellington, Jump is a trendy restaurant that that has long been a favourite for fine-dining foodies. For those looking for some after work refreshment, it also offers happy hour drink specials at the bar or on the courtyard patio from 4:00PM to 8:00PM weekdays. Cold beer, classic cocktails, and southern fried chicken are the features.
Duke of Westminster
77 Adelaide St., Toronto
In the heart of the Financial District on Adelaide between Bay and York, The Duke of Westminster is a British inspired pub on two levels with a large patio that is particularly popular with the after-work crowd. Along with classic pub fare for lunch, dinner or snacks, the Duke features a wide variety of beers on tap from imported and Canadian favourites to local Ontario craft beers.
Cactus Club Café
77 Adelaide St., Toronto
Similarly located in First Canadian Place along with the Duke, the Cactus Club Café is a huge 500 seat restaurant that is popular for corporate meetings and fine-dining aficionados. The eclectic menu features top grade steaks, premium seafood, and chef’s signature dishes alongside more casual classics like burgers and fries.
For post work drinks, you’ll have to duck out of the office a little early. Snack specials including fish tacos, mini burgers, and truffle fries are available from 2:00PM-5:00pm daily.
21 Adelaide St., Toronto
In the Scotia Plaza on Adelaide between Bay and Yonge, Speakeasy 21 is a 1920’s themed, prohibition-era inspired bar/bistro. Given its location in a bank tower in the heart of the financial district, Speakeasy 21 is popular with Bay Street bankers and lawyers for happy hour libations. You’ll see a lot of suits.
Specialties include 45 craft cocktails from shaken Mason jars and slushy drinks to Martinis and other classics – all priced at $11.50. There’s also a decent selection of wines and a number of beers on tap.
150 King St. W., Toronto
A popular spot for food and drinks on King Street in the SunLife tower, Earl’s boasts a stylish restaurant, a popular bar, and a large patio. It’s another one of those places where you’ll need to make an excuse to leave the office early. Happy hour runs from 2:00PM to 5:00PM daily and features reduced prices on some of their most popular bar foods as well as daily drink specials.
548 King St. W., Toronto
A little to the west, on King Street at Spadina is the Irish-inspired pub Belfast Love. This is a favourite haunt of the crew here at Pursuit.ca for lunchtime chats and after work drinks. Belfast Love has three bars: the large main room, the games room – featuring darts, pool, and sports on TV, and an outdoor patio bar.
The food is classic pub fare from burgers and wings to rotisserie chicken, curries, and salads. The bar features a wide selection of Ontario craft beers on draught as well as specialty cocktails.
350 King St. W., Toronto (Second floor)
Just the other side of Spadina, heading east on King Street, you’ll find Luma, the bar/restaurant located in the TIFF Bell Lightbox. ‘Magic Hour’ specials include $6 martinis and Manhattans from 4:00PM to 9:00PM. If cocktails aren’t your thing, pints of Grolsch and glasses of sangria are also just $6.
A popular option for workers on the south/eastern tip of the Financial District is to hit the bars and patios on the Esplanade after work. The block between Church and Scott on the Esplanade one block south of Front St. has a row of popular watering holes with adjoining patios including The Tilted Kilt, The Bier Markt, the brand new Goose Island Brewhouse, and Scotland Yard.
A little further east…
240 King St. E., Toronto
At the Eastern tip of the downtown core, you’ll find Betty’s. This laid-back pub on King Street East at Princess St. was originally called “The Betty Ford Clinic,” until the inevitable threats of lawsuits forced the name change.
Kitty-corner from the Toronto Sun building, Betty’s is popular with the newspaper staff as well as with workers from the many creative agencies that are popping up at that end of downtown. Betty’s offers an extensive selection of draft beers and a full menu of your pub favourites. The courtyard patio in the rear makes it a particularly popular choice in the warmer months.
Those are our picks for best spots around downtown for an after-work pint or two. But of course, there are hundreds more we’ve skipped. One can only drink so much for a single article. Help us out, will you? What’s your favourite Toronto watering hole? Please, share with us.