Best Bars in King West in 2020

By Nicole | Bars

Feb 10

Bars in Toronto come and go, from new pubs to upscale wine bars. In King West, we’ve seen sophisticated brands move in within the last few years and dominate while long-time tenants have seen some struggle in the post-King pilot project era.

Ask anyone who lives in King West, Toronto though and everyone has a favourite bar or pub to catch a buzz at.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to wet your whistle some place not yet explored or you’re searching for a trendy local spot to call your own, here’s our list of the best bars in King West in 2020.

The Parlour – 642 King Street West

The Parlour is known just as much for its upscale pizza as it is for its exquisitely fine punchbowl cocktails. This is their first location in Toronto, originally being a Vancouver-originated upscale locale. The Parlour borrows a lot of its aesthetic from the building it currently calls its own, what used to be a piano factory. The downstairs area seats 150 while upstairs in its champagne lounge seats another 175. Our recommended drink of choice at The Parlour is their Eye of the Tiger punch bowl, priced at $90 and serving four. Inside is orange blossom water, Prosecco, lemon, St.-Germain, and Botanist gin.

SPiN – 461 King Street West

SPiN is the most fun bar in King West to have a drink at, hands down. In this 12,000 sq. ft. space, the focus is on ping pong. Around it are two bars where you can grab your favourite beverages before setting out on some friendly competition. There are 12 tables set up in this underground location and is pretty bare bones compared to other bars on this list. SPiN Toronto is an adaptation of a similar club from New York. Beyond the ping pong, you also have a full food menu and cocktail list. Our recommended drink of choice at SPiN is its Lemon Lychee, an $8 combination of sake, lychee liqueur, and white cranberry.

Gatsby’s Speakeasy – 82 Bathurst Street

Gatsby’s Speakeasy is one of King West’s newest clubs, bringing together a mix of influences from your standard shots bar to duelling pianos. Modelled under the guise of a Great Gatsby-esque 1920s-era speakeasy, Gatsby’s takes the place of what used to be the Chill Ice House. Though the ice lounge continued for a time, as of now, the ice lounge is no longer open. Fortunately, the warm lounge is expanding across a fun, lively atmosphere.

Goldie – 619 King Street West

Goldie is a unique 1970s-inspired lounge that is as lush as it is secluded. It’s flirty, romantic, upscale, and comes complete with a small menu of light bar snacks. The food menu itself’s impressive and well worth having a date on. Goldie’s a perfect place for that. Our recommended drink of choice for Goldie’s is the $16 Classy AF. This drink is one of the most challenging to describe, at least among the ones we’ve included here. It’s a floral, tart, sweet, and sticky mix of Tanqueray, jasmine, apricot, Louis Roederer Brut and Lem-Marrakesch bitters garnished with a lemon peel.

MAV Toronto – 115 Bathurst Street

MAV’s is a hot, trendy King West dance club tucked inside the Northern Maverick Brewing Company. Every Friday and Saturday nights transforms the space into a one-of-a-kind dance circus. You’ve got high tables perfect for conversing at, a nightclub setup in another area, bottle service booths, and more. Unlike other clubs, you actually have a full food menu to delight yourself with as well as complimentary truffle popcorn for snacking at each table. Our recommended drink of choice for MAV Toronto is their $14 Moscow mule served in a copper mug.

Belfast Love Public House – 548 King Street West

Strictly talking about ‘classic pub vibes’, the Belfast Love Public House is #1 in King West. A traditional Irish pub in design, the atmosphere comes sleek. It’s filled with more than 400 seats, multiple rooms, and all the beer, whiskey, and billiards a Torontonian could ask for. Food-wise, you’ve got plenty of pizza, sandwiches, salads, and other staples typical of pub fare in downtown Toronto. There are not 1, not 2 – but 3 bars on the premises including one on a 100-seat patio. Our recommended drink of choice at Belfast Love Public House is the summer-esque P.S. I Love You, a $12 Pimm’s Cup adaptation with strawberry juice and ginger beer.


Honorable mentions

Living in King West, there are plenty more pubs and bars thriving in 2020. Here are some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make our list of the top 6.

  • The Cloak (488 Wellington Street) is a bar in obscurity that few know about. It’s found below Marben on Wellington. Cocktails and noshes are common among the trendy, hip locals who frequent this establishment. You may need to do a bit of hunting to find the front door but believe us when we say it’s worth it.
  • Love Child Social House (69 Bathurst Street) is a unique bar that works as a co-working space during the day and acts as an event space at night. You’re unlikely to find much happening at this self-described social house outside of the hours of scheduled events.
  • Locals Only (598 King Street West) is a snack bar found below Home of the Brave on King West. To get there, you must go down a white staircase and then inside you’ll see acid stain concrete, custom-made 100-year old bar tables, and more.
  • Arcane Nightclub (416 King Street West) is a top rated nightclub with amazing quality sound, lighting, and visuals, brought to you by the same group who worked on the BlueBlood Steakhouse and Cibo Wine Bar.
  • Lost and Found (577 King Street West) is a basement dance club with DJs, bottle service booths, and lots to offer Torontonians looking to have fun.
  • Escobar (495 King Street West) is a secret bar just above Baro on King West. It’s a pretty interesting bar but don’t expect to get in willy nilly. You need the password and it changes every day. Once inside though, cocktails await. We can’t say more than that.

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