5 Toronto Bars We Wish We Had in Oakville, Burlington, and Milton
Oakville, Burlington, and Milton have some fantastic watering holes that’ll get you drunk on both atmosphere and booze. While our bar scene (which is different from the club scene) is pretty on point, there are a few Toronto gems that we wish we could re-create here (maybe with a few unique twists). The TO bars we love are special because they’re not afraid to embrace trends, play with style, offer exceptional craft beverages and serve up delicious, seasonal fare in the process.
5) Skin + Bones
This husband and wife-owned Leslieville bar has an incredible wine selection, a respectable beer and cider offering and creative cocktails — including brunch drinks. A world in which brunch has its very own cocktails is a world I want to live in. In terms of food, this place has a $38 (per person) four-course shared menu, oysters (a buck a shuck), pumpkin pancakes (brunch only, $12), cheese plates ($7), house-made gnocchi ($18) and more. As for wine, you can get sparkling, rose, red and white varieties and very pricy champagne. Who wouldn’t want to roll out of bed on a cool Sunday morning and order Jalisco mocha made with cold brew coffee, el jimador tequila, briotet cacao blanc liquor and dillons ginger bitters ($12)?
4) The Craft Brasserie
The Craft Brasserie and Grill is a chic, spacious Liberty Village hotspot with 120 craft brews on tap. That’s right — 120. If you went once a week, it would take you over two years to try each and every beer on the list. The hip and modern resto — brimming with youthful energy, but not at all unfit for more mature clientele — also boasts a unique menu with crispy fried cuttlefish ($11), a madras poutine with potato pakoras, fontina cheese, madras sauce and a fried egg ($12), a Cuban stack sandwich with roasted pork, sliced capicolla, Swiss, pickles and spicy mustard ($11) and more. This resto/bar would be perfect for downtown Oakville or Kerr Village.
3) Night Owl
Nerd culture has proliferated mainstream consciousness and is cool as vegan fudge now. Enter Night Owl, a sweet Little Italy bar that boasts interesting drinks, affordable food and arcade games. Arcade games. The place also sells work created by local Toronto artists, which is a nice touch. Halton has a ton of video game aficionados, drink connoisseurs and artists looking for a nearby place to showcase and sell their wares. A destination hotspot with old school interactive elements and cheap food would be ideal for Sheridan students, artists in general, and young and older people looking for a taste of a bygone era. We’d love to see something like Night Owl in Halton.
As I got older, a strange thing started happening. I became hyperaware of my love for aspirational lifestyle entertainment (or rather, why it had always appealed to me). I realized that I loved city living shows like Sex and the City, Girls, and so on for the restos, bars, street scenes, and apartments as much as the storylines. For that reason, I know I want to party in a bar that looks like my dream apartment (although my dream apartment doesn’t have a pool table, I don’t think). Spin is a 12,000 square-foot ping pong social club on King St. It boasts locations in New York, L.A., Chicago, Philly, Seattle, and Austin (even Texas has something cooler than us), only it’s filled with cool and good-looking people. Libations range from bubbles to mocktails to cocktail on tap, plus there’s beer and wine. The menu features fun offerings such as poutine and pop tarts with house-made jams and chutneys. If I could go to a place like this near Brant St., I’d feel young(er) again.
1) Snakes and Lattes
If you have a hankering for beverages and Cards Against Humanity expansion packs, you can visit Snakes and Lattes and get a tasty vanilla soy latte or a Muskoka Mad Tom IPA. While Mississauga has a board game spot in Studio 89, and Hamilton has Macala Monk, Halton could use a cafe/bar right at home that offers a sizeable and varied game selection. I’m not personally super into board games (but my niece loves making a fool of me in Trivial Pursuit and besides, my brain is filled with useless knowledge). Having said that, I have a few favourites and games are almost always better when accompanied by cocktails. A walkable area like Brant St., Main St., or Lakeshore Rd. E. would be perfect for a Scattegories and beer hotspot.
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