12 Clinton, 416-531-5833, themonarchtavern.com
Snuggled in the labyrinth of residential streets between Dundas and College west of Bathurst, the Monarch is one of the city's oldest functioning bars, founded in 1927. Upstairs (open all day, every day) overlooks another Toronto icon, Bitondo's Pizzeria, and the Monarch invites you to grab a Bitondo's calzone or a sandwich from San Francesco's next door and plant yourself at their bar for the liquid portion of your lunch. The back bar's loaded with a whisk(e)y arsenal, and the 14 taps plus a cask pour local brews from Bellwood's, Spearhead, Northwinds and Silversmith. There's WiFi for a working aperitif hour and a pool table, pinball machine and darts for kicks.
Hours Daily 11 am to 2 am
Accessibility Up a full flight of stairs; washrooms on same floor.
Imperial Pub(lic Library)
54 Dundas East, 416-977-4667, imperialpub.com
The Imperial Pub's second floor Library Lounge has been fuelling Torontonians since the mid-1940s, attracting everyone from Ryerson students to families and long-time regulars. This is where you go to sink into worn leather couches and leaf through dog-eared romance novellas while jazz-era oldies play from a 70-year-old jukebox - more or less a perfect winter's day. The no-nonsense service and ancient carpet are as much a part of the charm as the cold beer and (free!) freshly popped corn. In the clement months there's a big, sunny patio out back made for whiling away the afternoon.
Hours Daily 11 am to close.
Accessibility On the second floor; one small step to the door, then up a flight of stairs to the Library.
Queen and Beaver
35 Elm, 647-347-2712, queenandbeaverpub.ca
Tidy and comfortable, with a Brit vibe, the Queen and Beaver can accommodate a successful business lunch or a free afternoon with a Scotch and a stack of complimentary newspapers from the entrance sideboard. On weekends the downstairs dining area (complete with wood-burning oven) opens for brunch and lunch, where you can kill a few hours over Mary Tudors (a bloody Mary spiked with Sriracha and horseradish), Pimm's cups or Q&B G&Ts (with house-made tonic), all $10. Might as well check out the Q&B's sister pub, the Oxley (121 Yorkville, 647-348-1300, theoxley.com), too.
Hours Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 1 am, Saturday 10 am to 1 am, Sunday 10 am to midnight.
Accessibility Stairs to the entrance and dining room and another flight to the second-floor lounge. Washrooms on second floor.
Also check out
CAFÉ PAMENAR (307 Augusta, 647-352-3627, cafepamenar.ca)
The popular Kensington coffee joint recently added a full bar from 11 am to close. Beers from Dieu de Ciel!, inexpensive wines and spiked Americanos for all!
Hours Monday to Friday 8 am to midnight, Saturday and Sunday 9 am to midnight; full bar service from 11 am.
Accessibility Small step at the entrance; washrooms downstairs.
TEQUILA BOOKWORM (512 Queen West, 416-504-2334, tequilabookworm.blogspot.ca)
Grab a pint of craft beer or cider and read, work (WiFi available) or people-watch all afternoon.
Hours Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 2 am, Tuesday to Friday noon to 2 am, Monday 5 pm to 2 am.
Accessibility Entrance barrier-free, washrooms downstairs.