With the rise of natural and biodynamic wines, bars specializing in these low-intervention bottles have become more prevalent in the city. Let the Toronto’s best somms guide your pours and help you find your favourite glass at one of these spots.
Après Wine Bar
1166 Queen St. W
Toronto’s culinary elite, including the folks at Canis, are enamoured with natural wine. As its name suggests, their Après Wine Bar is a place to head following a meal on Queen West – or for a pre-meal snack. Natural wines are showcased here with the promise that all of them were made using ethical farming and production means. Food items focus on wine-friendly shareables but à la carte options and a tasting menu are also available if you’ve arrived with an appetite.
1434 Dundas St. W.
Headed by veteran sommelier Christopher Sealy and former Bar Italia manager Giuseppe Anile, Midfield offers more than 60 wines by the glass and bottle as well as a reserve list of high-end wines. The impressive selection earns the praise of seasoned wine experts, yet the atmosphere remains approachable enough for newbies looking to sample something not found on LCBO shelves.
1161 Dundas St. W
When a wine list includes sections like “skin contact whites” and "sweet and/or oxidative,” you know they mean business. In between Dundas West’s dives, this stylish wine bar has a bible-long list that is heavy on natural options. Jonathan Poon of Superpoint is behind the food menu, with Portuguese-style roast chicken and spicy short ribs plus vino-friendly cheese plates. Expect a bustling atmosphere.
841 Bloor St. W
This Bloorcourt spot takes a hipsterized approach to wine (we’re in Toronto, after all) with just bar service, plenty of by-the-glass options and a chill atmosphere. Grab a stem and retreat to the vine-covered back patio, which is open until 2 a.m.
909 Dundas St. W
When it first opened, Archive paved the way for creating a social, democratized environment for wine lovers who wanted to enjoy vino without all the pretentious fuss. It remains one of the city’s best bars for international wine while local Ontario gems and special limited-production wines can also be spotted popping up on the menu regularly from time to time.
Senator Wine Bar
249 Victoria St.
Head one floor above the Senator diner to find a charming French bistro. The wine list emphasizes Old World options with a few bottles from Ontario and California thrown into the mix. A vintage piano in the corner isn’t just decor – live music starts at 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.
Annex Wine Bar
296 Brunswick Ave.
This boutique hotel’s daytime café transforms into a stylish wine bar at night, serving small plates (Parisian gnocchi, avocado salad) paired with a wine list heavy on biodynamic options. Knowledgeable bartenders can chat about the evolution of orange wines or up-and-coming regions.
798 Queen St. E.
Head here for a crash course in Ontario wine that doesn't break the bank. Seasoned wine traveller Laura Carr’s ethos is simple: present some of the best local (and international) wines at reasonable prices. Impressively, at any given time, you’ll find nearly two dozen local wines available to order by the glass. Carr changes the list as new releases come through, often times digging into remote winemaking pockets of Ontario.