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Wide Open's Mackenzie (left) and Alyssa keep the cheap cocktails flowing.
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Suspended in the post-festive red zone better known as Broke January? You're not alone, friends. Penny-pinching, however, doesn't mean less drinking, but rather more strategic drinking. Whether you're trudging the streets in search of warmth or barricaded at home in a blanket cocoon, here are some bargain booze suggestions.
Wide Open, all the time
Wedged between Richmond and Adelaide on Spadina, Wide Open (139a Spadina, wideopenbar.ca) might be downtown's best bar for your buck. The atmosphere in this tiny joint is raucous, the bartenders are big fun, and the booze is ludicrously cheap. Regular prices are modest to begin with, but it's daily specials like Thursday's Happy Hour - when all drinks are $2.50 between 5 and 8 pm - that make Wide Open a precious booze trove.
$3 shots: for cheap thrills, imminent warmth and immediate gratification
Boots 'n' Bourbon (725 Queen East, 647-348-0880) serves $3 bourbon shots all day, every day. AAA (138 Adelaide East, 416-850-2726, tripleabar.ca) has $3 tequila shots daily, and Insomnia (563 Bloor West, 416-588-3907, insomniacafe.com) boasts $3 shot specials like vodka on Sundays, Jäger on Wednesdays and Jameson on Fridays and Saturdays.
Honourable mention: Prohibition Gastrohouse (696 Queen East, 416-406-2669, myprohibition.com) offers premium pours like Talisker 10, Woodford Reserve and Hendrick's for $5 from 4 to 7 pm and 10 pm to midnight every day.
Half-price bottles of wine
Enjoy half-price bottles of vino at Porzia (1314 Queen West, 647-342-5776, porzia.ca) and Union (72 Ossington, 416-850-0093, union72.ca) on Mondays, the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West, 416-531-4635, gladstonehotel.com) on Tuesdays and Czehoski (678 Queen West, 416-366-6787, czehoski.com) on Wednesdays, keeping you covered until you're Hump Day home free.
Cheap craft pints
Sauce (1376 Danforth, 647-748-1376, sauceondanforth.com) offers a $5 daily special on rotating pints, and The Office (117 John, 416-977-1900, theofficepub.ca) pours $5 craft pints (there are eight options on offer) from open to close on Mondays and Wednesdays. Don't forget to hit up Bar Hop (391 King West, 647-352-7476, barhopbar.com) for Session Sundays, where you pay just $5 for select pints of Ontario craft brew.
Cheap craft cocktails are like unicorns in this town, but you can find $8 - an unbeatable price - Negronis and Manhattans on tap at Montauk (765 Dundas West, barmontauk.com), while Fynn's of Temple Bar (489 King West, 416-586-1331, fynnstemplebar.com) pours $6 cocktails, from Vespers to pomegranate margaritas, on Thursdays between 5 and 11 pm.
Montauk owner Dustin Keating pours wallet-friendly cocktails on Dundas West.
Photos by Tanja Tiziana Burdi