Sure, it's mid December and we're walking around in our fall jackets, basking in the sun and wondering if everything Al Gore was on about is finally coming true - but let's not get ahead of ourselves, Toronto.
Just as certain as we are that the Leafs will inevitably mess up and miss the playoffs yet again, and that you're going to be gifted at least one pair of socks this holiday season, we know for damn sure that these above-average temperatures are going to be here today and gone, well… sometime very soon.
In preparation for this, we've rounded up our favourite spots in the city to escape the cold this winter.
Grab some friends, order a few tipples and start hibernating.
Check out the full gallery below and we'll see you in April.
Want to go out but also love the comfort and coziness of your home? Enter Apt. 200. The newly opened spot on Queen West takes the form of a swanky house party. So why even go out? For one, they have vintage arcade games and pool tables that you can play for free. Or simply sink into one of the many couches (or an actual bed!) and listen to the DJ do their thing. Just make sure you don't fall asleep, it is still a bar and we'd hate to catch you walk-of-shaming in the morning (we may have just invented that verb).
Valdez, the lively Latin restaurant on King Street is already on our list because of its killer heated rooftop, but hidden behind the kitchen of the restaurant lies Escobar, a password-protected bar accessed through their freezer. Now stepping into a freezer may not sound like the best idea in the middle of winter, but just trust us for once, ok?! (sorry, we may have some misplaced anger issues). Escobar has no official cocktail menu, however because it's South American-influenced (and named after a Colombian drug lord), you can expect plenty of tequila. Add in a live DJ and a cozy space and we think it's definitely worth the sleuthing to get your hands on that password (Tip: just ask the server).
No matter what the time of the day, Bellwoods Brewery is always buzzing so you'll warm up purely from the body heat, let alone their selection of hearty barrel-aged beers. A little tip: get there early, not only to secure a spot but to take advantage of their 'Witching Hours', the first two hours of service when beers are $1.00 or a $1.50 off. As if you needed more incentive to visit…
What was once an old auto-repair shop has been transformed into Gusto 101. The Italian themed restaurant and bar features a retractable rooftop making it accessible whatever the weather. So if like us, you love Italian food and dining under the stars, this is the perfect spot. If you're just after drinks, they make a mean Negroni so grab some friends and sit around the large tables on the rooftop and watch the winter nights pass you by
Who said winters were all about staying indoors? The Sky Yard at The Drake is open year-round and is, according to them, 'climate defiant' so expect it to be stocked with heat lamps, a fire pit and blankets to snuggle up with. And if that doesn’t work, their cocktails should add that extra layer of warmth. The theme changes every year, with this winter seeing it transformed into 'The Drake Legion Hall'. It's open until 2AM every Thursday to Saturday, meaning plenty of time for star-gazing.
Heated patios not your thing? Let's head underground. The D.W. Alexander, a cocktail lounge located near St Lawrence Market, is reminiscent of a prohibition-style gentleman’s club. It's set in a 1870s leather warehouse with dim lighting and plenty of seating including the extra cozy library corner (pictured above). Add to that a long list of unique concoctions to sip on and you've got yourself an ideal spot to grab some shelter on a cold winter’s evening. Bonus: they have happy hour every Tuesday to Friday when cocktails are $8.