In most European nations, there's little distinction between the bar and the café. Both serve the purpose of bringing people together, so why not create a one-stop shop? We're happy to report that coffee shops in Toronto, a city where variety is a defining feature, are branching into booze so friends and strangers can bend elbows over espresso or cocktails... or both.
307 Augusta, 647-352-3627, cafepamenar.tumblr.com
An established Kensington coffee haunt, Pamenar recently opened a full bar dishing drinks all day, every day. Cocktails like the Dirty Cleanse (Jameson, maple syrup, lemon and cayenne) and the Mom n' Pop (brandy, amaretto, espresso, brown butter, orange bitters) are just $10, wines by the glass are interesting and affordable, and the beer list includes bottles from Trou du Diable and Dieu du Ciel. Check out Trivia Night on Wednesdays.
Hours Coffee daily from 8 am. Drinks Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to midnight, Sunday and Monday 11 am to 7 pm.
Accessibility One-half step at the door, washrooms in the basement.
RED ROCKET COFFEE
1364 Danforth, 416-406-0880, redrocketcoffee.com
This spacious Danforth café has a modest selection of local brews in cans and bottles - including Sawdust City's collaborative Red Rocket stout brewed with cayenne and coffee - plus house wines. Giggle over a few brews on Saturday nights, when Red Rocket hosts a weekly (free) comedy lineup. (Note that Red Rocket's sister location on Wellesley isn't licensed.)
Hours Coffee weekdays from 7 am, weekends from 8 am. Drinks Sunday to Friday 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday 11 am to 10 pm.
Accessibility No barrier at the door, washrooms on main floor.
2072 Dundas West, 416-535-0777, belljarcafe.com
Pop into the Belljar for a caffe corretto in the morning and stick around till the clock strikes cocktail hour. (I say any time after noon is fair game.) The drink list is supplemented by a rotating cocktail of the week, whatever strikes bartender Vince Pollard's fancy. The space is sunny and cheerful in the daylight and mellow at night, when the brave can snuggle under heaters and blankets on the winterized back patio.
Hours Coffee daily from 8 am. Drinks from 11 am till late.
Accessibility Washrooms on the main floor, toward the back.
1228 St. Clair West, 416-654-9900
This Corso Italia coffee shop could trick you into thinking you've stumbled through a portal to Europe. Well loved for their coffee and house-made gelato, Novecento also serves booze - because every café in Italy keeps at least a bottle of grappa behind the counter.
Hours Coffee daily from 8 am. Drinks Sunday to Thursday 11 am to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 to 1:30 am.
Accessibility No barrier at the door: washrooms in the basement.
388 College, 647-748-1011, voodoochild.ca
Besides pulling great coffee and dishing a solid brunch, Voodoo Child serves signature cocktails in pretty crystal every day from 11 am onward. It's known to host rad pop-ups, so keep an eye on its website for upcoming events.
Hours Coffee Sunday to Wednesday 8 am to 7 pm, Thursday to Saturday 8 am to 2 am. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Drinks daily from 11 am to close.
Accessibility No barrier at door, washrooms on main floor.