Birthday party ideas in Toronto often comes down to choosing a venue that's big enough for everyone on your guest but also unique, special or fun enough to fit the occasion.
Here are my picks for bars and restaurants to celebrate your birthday in Toronto, broken down by neighbourhood.
Fancy yourself a pinball wizard? Take your friends to Tilt for some healthy competition (and less-healthy Chicago-style hot dogs.) This retro barcade has skee-ball, foos-ball and a huge big screen TV for you to impress the crew with your Super Smash Bros. skills.
Civil Liberties is Disneyland for cocktail connoisseurs – but don't expect a long, elaborate drink menu. The bartenders here are known for creating drinkable masterpieces based on the whims of their customers, and they've got plenty of high-end bitters, booze and unique dried ingredients to work with.
Are your friends like, sooo busy this week and can't make it out for your birthday after all? Take advantage of a smaller group size by heading to Zakkushi Toronto, a popular Izakaya from Vancouver – because there's nothing like top-notch Japanese food (and tons of Sake) with besties in your own both.
Celebrate your b-day with beer and bao at the trendy Peoples Eatery on Spadina. This place does family-style group dinners for 7+ people on Fridays and Saturdays at $50 a head, making splitting the bill a breeze (though the guest of honour should never have to pay, obvs.)
You're pretty much guaranteed to have a good time at Crews & Tangos, but you'll need to get there early to beat the line. If you're a summer baby, you can also take advantage of bar's backyard patio.
Photo ops abound at The Wren, a saloon-style pub that serves up southwestern food, craft beer and cocktails. Designed by a former advertising executive, this space has old west style for days – think wagon wheel chandeliers, salvaged barn-wood tables and a giant vintage Coke ad that was discovered during renovations.
Every Torontonian needs a private-room karaoke party, at least once – and Twister Karaoke near Yonge and Finch is the cream of the crop. With over 300,000 songs in nine different languages, this place bills itself as having "the best song selection in North America." They also serve booze.
Walking into Mahjong Bar is an experience in and of itself. It might look like a regular bodega from the front (albeit a small one with really cool lighting,) but just beyond the glowing keyhole doorway is an ultra-cool, 2000-square-foot bar and restaurant space. If you're looking for the "WOW factor," this is your place.
Being popular is hard enough without having choose which friends can fit into your party. The Drake Commissary is big enough to host the whole gang across its spectacularly-designed lounging, dining and dancing spaces. It also has a vintage photo booth, just like its namesake hotel bar on Queen West.
El Rey, a mezcal bar from Grant van Gameren of Bar Isabel and Bar Raval, is hip, rustic and known for having excellent Mexican food, much like Kensington Market itself. You'll find a large and ever-evolving selection of mezcals here, so all the birthday shots your friends insist on will at least be of good quality.
The Pacific Junction Hotel has dope tacos and a jukebox that lets you control the music overhead (if you're lucky.) It's an extremely colourful place with tons of character – and strong, island-style cocktails that might just give you the courage to get up on a table and dance. It is your birthday, after all.
Because you can't have a raging house party in a 600-square-foot condo, check out The Addisons Residence – a club inspired by the concept of a Beverly Hills house party. From the kitchen table to the living room to the sprawling backyard, this space is gorgeous. Dress nicely.
Local Public Eatery is a lofty, laid back sports bar with sizeable semi-circle booths that would serve as a nice birthday drinking base. The vibe here is fun and flirty. Hang out near the shuffleboard table and someone might challenge you to a friendly game – winner buys the next round.
You're one year older, so start preparing for retirement with a few rounds of shuffleboard and bocce ball at Little Italy's Track & Field Bar. To be safe, reserve a lane before heading out for the night.
Hailed by some as Toronto's most "authentic" Tiki bar, Shameful Tiki Room will make your birthday bash feel like a mini-vacay (or at least a party with an actual theme.) For an extra $15, you can nab one of the bar's custom Tiki mugs to drink out of all night and take home when you're done.
The Rooftop at the Broadview Hotel is one of Toronto's most impressive new spots to party and eat. The indoor and outdoor roof spaces of what used to be Jilly’s boast gorgeous views, a lively bar scene and plenty of room for a larger posse of party people.
If you need a lot of space for a lot of friends, The Rec Room is for you. This 40,000 square foot sports bar has several different sections for dining and drinking, a sprawling play floor with over 100 arcade games, a patio with CN tower views, plus a huge live music venue with a full stage in the back.
Bar Fancy is an ironically-named bar and restaurant that's cool in a "cool without trying" sort of way. It's cozy in this place, but you'll eat like a king or queen should your party manage to land a table. The kitchen here serves excellent fried chicken and stays open until 2am – happy birthday to drunk and hungry late-night you!
Birthday cake has nothing on Good Fortune's boozy milkshakes and cotton candy cocktails. Located in the basement of La Carnita on Eglinton, this boisterous bar is kind of loud and kind of dark, but in a good way, with string lights giving off a nighttime summer party vibe.
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO