The nightlife scene in Toronto is as varied as the neighborhoods. Downtown—in the Entertainment and Financial districts and Old Town—bars and pubs cater to theatergoers and weekday worker bees. They can be dead on weekends after dark, however—especially in the Entertainment District—until 11 pm rolls around and the big loft-style dance clubs get going. To hang with locals at their neighborhood joints, head to Little Italy or the Annex, where university students mix with residents of the surrounding Victorian-lined streets.

Gay nightlife centers around Church and Wellesley streets northeast of the downtown core. Everyone under 40 ends up on Queen West at some point, patronizing the once-bohemian, now-established arty bars and cafés. Ladies who lunch meet for midday martinis in swanky Yorkville and later clink glasses at the tony lounges. Throughout the city are dedicated music venues, bars, and supper clubs that specialize in jazz, Latin, blues, rock, hip-hop, and everything in between.

Most recently Toronto has emerged as a food-obsessed city with late-night restaurants (from hole in the walls to the crème de la crème in fine dining), offering sips and nibbles to those who wish to feast past the usual dinner hour. Other emerging trends include a flourish of local brewpubs and luxury hotels offering unique evening programs which have locals and tourists swarming. In this section, we've covered the places that have cemented their place in the city's scene, but new hot spots are always emerging. Check local news outlets to get the latest.

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  • 1. Canoe

    Financial District | Bars/Pubs

    Though it's primarily a restaurant, Canoe, on the 54th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Bank tower, is worth a trip just for a drink at the bar...Read More

  • 2. Amsterdam BrewHouse


    This brewpub features two massive bars with more than 10 local brews on tap, an open-concept kitchen with an imported Italian wood-burning pizza oven, and...Read More

  • 3. Bymark

    Financial District | Bars/Pubs

    Located in the heart of the Financial District, this culinary oasis is popular with the business suits that work in the area. Don't let that...Read More

  • 4. Lobby Lounge at Shangri-La

    Entertainment District | Bars/Pubs

    The Shangri-La Hotel has become wildly popular with the refined 20–30 something set keen for live music, top notch cocktails, and bar bites...Read More

  • 5. Oliver and Bonacini Cafe Grill

    Financial District

    If you want to "see and be seen" in the Financial District head to this vast restaurant and bar, which has a wraparound year-round patio...Read More

  • 6. Real Sports Bar & Grill


    No hole-in-the-wall sports bar, this sleek 25,000-square-foot space adjacent to the Scotiabank Arena lights up with almost 200 high-definition flat-screen TVs and amazing sightlines from...Read More

  • 7. Steam Whistle Brewery

    Entertainment District

    The Steam Whistle Brewery, located on historic railway premises, makes an authentically crafted pilsner. There's a tasting room with a full food menu, a Munich-styled...Read More

  • 8. Yuk Yuk's

    Entertainment District

    Part of a Canadian comedy franchise, this venue headlines stand-up comedians on the rise (Jim Carrey and Russell Peters performed here on their way up),...Read More

  • 9. The Second City

    Entertainment District

    Since it opened in 1973, Toronto's Second City—the younger sibling of the Second City in Chicago—has been showcasing some of the best comedy in Canada....Read More

  • 10. Momofuku Nikai

    Entertainment District

    Located across the street from the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, those looking for a cocktail before or after the ballet and opera...Read More

  • 11. The Guvernment

    Harbourfront | Dance Clubs

    If you want to get your grind on in a sea of revelers, this is the place. Each of the eight lounges and dance clubs in this mega-complex has...Read More

  • 12. Wayne Gretzky's Toronto

    Entertainment District

    The pregame Jays and Leafs fans and the post-comedy-club crowd from Second City next door flock to this sports bar and restaurant. When he's in...Read More

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