Can’t muster up the cash to take your date on a trip halfway around the world? Don’t feel bad, that’s a luxury very few people can afford. Instead, bring them to one of Toronto’s very own tropical paradises. These Toronto tiki bars have menus brimming with island fare, tropical drinks (served in outrageous vessels, obviously), and plenty of knick-knacks to behold, so you can feel like you’ve flown far far away without stepping foot outside the GTA.
The Shameful Tiki Room (1378 Queen Street West)
The Shameful Tiki Room is one of the most beloved Toronto tiki bars, so, naturally, it deserves a spot on this list. Step inside and you’ll find blowfish lamps, a healthy dose of bamboo, tribal masks and wicker and just about everything else you could ever want in a tropical watering hole. When it comes to beverages, its cocktails tick all the right boxes: they’re outrageous, they’re boozy and they’re huge – so you probably won’t need to purchase more than one apiece.
Miss Thing’s (1279 Queen Street West)
Miss things is another solid Parkdale option for those who love a good Hawaiin-themed bar. Its decor is a thousand times sleeker than its neighbour (which is unapologetically kitschy), but still has all the magic of a Polynesian paradise, flaunting flowery wall murals, patterned floors, and furniture that any interior design junky would drool over. However, the drinks are where the ~island vibes~ really shine through, they’re masterfully made, served in outrageous vessels (think coconuts, watermelons, and bird-shaped glasses) and are topped off with funky straws, cocktail umbrellas, sparklers and other fun trimmings.
Bovine Sex Club (542 Queen Street West)
When you think of Toronto tiki bars, the Bovine Sex Club probably isn’t the first place to come to mind. If you’ve ever set foot inside you know that it’s sort of a hoarders paradise with whosits and whatsits galore lining its walls (and ceiling). But if you head past the Christmas lights and sticker-strewn bar to the rooftop patio, you’ll find a tropical oasis that’s worth the climb. Libations are served from a bamboo hut and it’s seating area decked out with tribal masks and statues. Pro tip: It’s not heated or covered, so you’ll want to wait until the weather gets a little warm to take advantage of this date night idea.
Mahjong Bar (1276 Dundas Street West)
If Dundas West is your go-to drinking destination, you aren’t up a creek without a paddle. One of its newer residents, Mahjong Bar, will help you scratch that vacation itch on a date night out. No, it’s not exactly a tiki bar, but it does have plenty of tropical flair (but, like, the hip kind). It boasts globe lights, a banana leaf mural and plenty of plants that’ll remind you of warmer locales. As for drinks, they may not be served in pineapples, but plenty of them are infused with exotic flavours.
Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen (104 Portland Street)
Don’t let the name throw you off! This isn’t just an eatery. I mean, yes, it does serve up killer oxtail stew, jerk chicken, and other Jamaican faves, but you can also grab a top-notch cocktail at its bar. If you and your date are fans of rum, you will be head-over-heels for its drinks list, which flaunts barrel-aged beverages in ornate glasses and carved out pineapples. Its interior design mimics the style of a classy Caribbean resort, with light wood furnishings, plenty of greenery and palm-patterned wallpaper – no expensive plane ticket required.
Chula (1058 Gerrard Street East)
Chula is, first and foremost, a Mexican taberna, but if you head past its dining room to the back patio, you’ll find a hidden oasis. It’s decked out with all the necessary fixings: bright murals, glowy hanging lights, tropical plants, and, of course, a tiki hut bar. Like the Bovine, it’s doesn’t have a roof, so if you want to experience it in all it’s glory, wait until a warm, rainless evening.
The Shore Leave (1775 Danforth Avenue)
If you’re on the hunt for an authentic tiki bar in the east end, The Shore Leave is the place to go. It’s got all the requisite tropical treasures with a dash of Toronto mixed in for good measure (try to spot the Honest Ed’s Hawaiin Shorts sign). In true, tiki bar fashion, its boozy beverages are served in pineapples and themed glasses and garnished with add-ons like cocktail swords, fruit wedges and umbrellas.
Good Fortune Bar (130 Eglinton Avenue East)
La Carnita Uptown’s secret basement bar isn’t your typical below-ground watering hole. A far cry from dingy, the space is painted bright pink, covered in fairy lights and packed with massive leafy plants. It’s trendy, it’s tropical and it’ll transport you far away from the city, if only for a few drinks. P.S. the beverages here aren’t served in fun glasses, but they are tropical (Kona Brewing Co’s Big Wave Golden Ale is even on its beer list).
Photo: Greg Tjepkema via @shamefultikito on Instagram
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