Enjoy happy hour cocktails or coffee in Toronto’s dynamic business core.
Congratulations! You made the deal. The presentation was a success. Or … maybe you’re just celebrating the fact that you’re a visitor to Toronto and you’re having a wonderful time.
Whatever reason you may have for seeking out a venue for a cinq à sept, you’re in the right place if you find yourself in Toronto’s Financial District.
For those unfamiliar, “cinq à sept” is French for “five to seven.” In practice it means “let’s unwind over a drink after office hours, but before we go home”—that is, roughly between the hours of 5 and 7 o’clock. While you may not hear the term as often in Toronto as in Canada’s French-speaking cities, the spirit is here—especially in the Financial District. This downtown area is centred around Bay and Yonge streets, the beating heart of Canada’s financial sector, and Union Station, the city’s principal commuter train and bus station.
To help you join the chorus of laughter, gossip and stress release that follows each workday here, we’ve selected a few insider choices for places to visit on a Toronto Financial District cinq à sept. Read and follow!
Start your journey with a caffeine top-up at Dineen Coffee Company. The first thing Dineen Coffee serves up is a feast for the eyes: at the original Yonge Street location, there are Moroccan-inspired tiles below, an expansive ceiling above, and burnished wood, brass and white marble at eye level. Friendly baristas dole out balanced cortados and macchiatos and adorable pastries (nab a butter tart if you’re a visitor—it’s a Canadian favourite).
If you’d rather walk and eat something on the way to your next stop, pop into Sud Forno across the street for a biscotto.
Then onward. What’s a cinq à sept without a pit stop for a beer? Beerbistro is a suds emporium with a Belgian accent. Fortify yourself with the duck fat frites and then choose from among a bajillion beers from around the world (give or take).
Another beer option close by, with a more youthful (meaning louder) vibe, is CRAFT Beer Market. A third option for a pint: the Irish Embassy which is not an official diplomatic outpost of the Republic of Ireland but rather a pub that becomes quite lively and loud when thronged with a largely under-35 cohort of Bay Street office workers.
If you’re in town December through early February, dive into Union Winter at bustling Union Station. Work up a thirst roller skating the free Roller Express Rink (picture a 5,500 sq. ft. indoor rink plus skating trail) where you can catch DJ grooves, then savour wine, craft beer, cocktails or zero-alcohol refreshment in one the onsite restaurants or bars. The York Street Promenade is home to your best aprés-office, pre-dinner options.
Wrap up your adventure in the comfort of the Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York. Posh, relaxed and ever-so-slightly garish in its upholstery choices (dig those animal-print club chairs), the watering hole in the lobby of the venerable hotel is like the basement bar of an eccentric person with a fantastic gin collection. The bartenders are well schooled in the classic cocktails. A martini makes an obvious choice here. You could also come back the next day, start there, and proceed backwards along our itinerary. Tomorrow, after all, is a whole new day to conquer.
Getting to the Financial District:
- Take the Line 1 Yonge-University subway to Union station
- Or, take the 504 King streetcar to Bay Street or Yonge Street