Is there anything better than walking into a cozy bar or café on a cold day and lingering over a drink or two? If that sounds like your idea of a perfect afternoon, whether you’re looking for a coffee or a pint of craft beer, there’s plenty of places in Toronto to bask in the glow of warm lighting and in some cases, a fireplace. Here are some of the coziest cafes and bars in Toronto.
No matter where you’re sitting in Tequila Bookworm, you’re bound to feel cozy. The narrow space houses small tables and friendly staff serve up Ontario craft beer, cider, and wine, as well as snacks and larger meals. The beer list here is extensive with a lot of unique offerings from local craft breweries like Bloor Brothers, Folly, and Burdock.
Famous Last Words
Could there be anything cozier than a book-themed bar? Famous Last Words takes its love of literature seriously with multiple bookshelves, bookshelf wallpaper, a bar top fashioned with thousands of Scrabble tiles and a cocktail menu filled with cocktails named for famous novels. But the cozy factor doesn’t just stop at the books – the plush seating, low lighting, and electric fireplace all add to the bar’s appeal.
There are two West-End locations of The Common in Toronto and they’re all friendly, welcoming and filled with regulars who come for the relaxed vibe conducive to lingering over a coffee while reading the paper. Kids play while parents chat over expertly-made americanos and laptop users work away as they sip coffee.
Wallflower is the kind of place you feel instantly warm in like you’ve just walked into a hug from a good friend. Twinkle lights, small tables, and vintage-inspired décor create a cozy atmosphere perfect for sipping cocktails with close friends (or a date). There’s a rotating menu of comfort foods here and smaller, sharing plates.
With 42 Canadian craft beers on tap C’est What is a bar for beer lovers. But the space, housed in the cellar of a historic 19th-century building, exudes a cozy vibe no matter what you’ve come for. That’s thanks in part to the subterranean space, but also to the roaring fireplace and tables in various nooks and crannies so you never feel cramped.
Full of Beans
Shelves lined with books and comfy chairs make this Dundas West café a cozy place any time of day. Full of Beans roasts all their coffee on site using a fascinating-looking century old Jabez-Burns Sample Batch Roaster and you can smell the coffee roasting from a block away. Inside, choose a book from the shelf (they have a take one-leave one program) and order one of their excellent americanos.
Cozy is the first word that comes to mind as soon as you take your first step into The Gaslight, an adorable spot in the Junction Triangle that feels like somewhat of a hidden gem. Low lighting and dark wood combine to create a warm, intimate atmosphere whether you’re spending time with a friend or significant other. The small menu features some heartier fare (like curry) and sharing items (like the charcuterie board). The drinks menu rotates, but if they have it, warm up with a hot spiked cider.
Balzac's has many locations (with some outside of Toronto), but it’s the one in the Distillery District that feels coziest. It might be large but manages to still feel intimate. The two-story space is housed in a circa 1895 Pump House and is modeled after a Parisian café. Head upstairs once you order to one of the tables tucked away on the second floor.
Café con Leche
Just small enough to feel cozy, but not so small that you need to fight for table space, friendly Café con Leche is a great to while away an hour or two doing work or just people watching from one of the seats by the window. All of the drinks here are well-made, but if you’re feeling indulgent (or like you just want to treat yourself), the Nutella latte is never a bad idea. Nutty, chocolatey and creamy, but not too sweet, this drink always hits the spot. Try it iced in the summer.