Content originally written for the Let’s Go: USA & Canada Guide by our researcher-writer, Daphne Thompson.
El Furniture Warehouse ($)
410 Bloor St. W; (647) 350-7326; warehousegroup.ca/el-furniture-warehouse-bloor-st/; open daily 11am-2am
Its name is full of lies: El Furniture Warehouse doesn’t sell furniture, isn’t a warehouse, and our waiter just stared at us blankly when we inquired ¿Dónde están todas las sillas? Past that initial shock of betrayal, though, we quickly warmed to this Bloor Street dive bar’s menu of strong drinks and cheap eats. All dishes are just $5.95 CAD here, and it’s not tapas-style—you can grab a full-size French Dip or a hefty bowl of mac and cheese for less than you’ll probably spend on an Uber home. Cocktails are predictably pricier, but not absurdly so: the fruity Crazy Canuck, using Canada’s favorite Sour Puss spirit, is an inexpensive highlight on the lengthy cocktail menu. The place is scored to a bumpin’ soundtrack of early-2000s hits, and seems to increase in decibels throughout the night.
Food and drinks from $6 CAD; wheelchair accessible
The Shameful Tiki Room ($$)
1378 Queen St. W; shamefultikiroom.com; open M-W 5pm-1am, Th-Sa 5pm-2am, Su 5pm-1am
At least The Shameful Tiki Room is self-aware enough to know that its whole Polynesian kitsch aesthetic went out of style some fifty-odd years ago. Cultural appropriation? Product of colonialism? Hush, you—have another Mai Tai. This dark-at-at-all-times Parkdale outlet, dressed to the 1959s in tiki torches and palm fronds, just makes the problematic seem so fun. Pineapple-topped vintage cocktails are pricey (though heavy on the rum), and larger groups should invest in one of the popular punch bowls—they come with a gong bang and a fog machine eruption. Prevent the world’s worst sugar-induced hangover with some of the bar’s creative chow offerings; the deep-fried teriyaki broccoli might help you convince yourself that at least something about this experience is healthy.
Cocktails from $9 CAD; wheelchair accessible
Just a small town girl livin’ in a lonely world, Daphne took the mid-morning train goin’ to the East Coast of the United States and Canada (fine, plus Chicago). She graduated Harvard in 2018 with a degree in Government, a law school acceptance letter, and an overwhelming sense of dread re: her all-too-fleeting youth, so she took off to the party capital of the Western hemisphere: Quebec City. The race against the cold, unfeeling march of time continued in Montreal, Toronto, New York, and Miami, a wildly diverse array of cities united by not-boring weather and stupid-high rents. Along the way, Daphne sampled legit Canadian poutine (squeaky), smuggled her notebook into nightclubs (sneaky), and lived on cheap falafel pitas (tzatziki). The Oshkosh, Wisconsin native finished her spirit quest back in the Midwest, where the Windy City welcomed her nasally accent back with open arms. When she’s not writing aggressively alliterative articles for Let’s Go, Daphne probably can’t be found. Don’t even try it, Internet creeps!