Expect the usual hot spots to be in full festival mode and buzzing with industry gatherings. Soho House Toronto will be celebrating its fifth anniversary with a kickoff fete (Grey Goose is partnering with the venue); the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, has a custom Cristal Champagne and Remy Martin cocktail, the 6ix75 (selling for a cool $650), to mark major film acquisitions or any celebratory moment; and the Thompson hotel rooftop and lobby bar will offer several TIFF-themed cocktails. Their (Bill) Marshall (a mix of two scotches, bitters and a cinnamon simple syrup) honors the late TIFF co-founder.
For future reference: sales have opened for the 660 condos at the Nobu Residences. The two towers on Mercer Street will also be home to Canada’s first Nobu restaurant and a Nobu hotel and spa from actor-producer-hotelier Robert De Niro and his partner Nobu Matsuhisa.
Here are more places to toast, chill out or grab a bite in Toronto.
Victorian high life
In its former life, the circa 1891 building housing the 58-room Broadview Hotel (pictured above) was a renowned strip club. Now it has a more respectable calling as a boutique hotel with a rooftop bar (aptly called The Rooftop), ground floor restaurant (The Civic), multiple event spaces and a casual cafe. Developed by Dream Unlimited and Streetcar Development, the 126-year old building underwent a complete makeover by the Design Agency and reflects the East End’s Victorian origins. Exposed brick walls and brass accents abound; room decor is boudoir-inspired. Corner rooms have brass stripper poles in a cheeky ode to the past. From the rooftop there’s a 360-degree view of Toronto’s skyline including the Don Valley and historic East End. The cafe becomes a neon-lit cocktail and Champagne bar at night, ideal for sophisticated meet-ups.
106 Broadview Ave.
The made-in-Toronto brewery Northern Maverick Brewing plans on opening its 400-seat gastropub in time for the festival. The King West locale promises a hefty brewing facility complemented by retail store and bar. Settle into the oyster bar for a genial pairing with their delicate White IPA. Charcuterie board meats are house-cured and are intended to go well with the nine craft beers on tap. Look for Ontario craft cheeses, bacon-topped burgers and crisp fries to round out the menu of locally sourced ingredients. The brewery aimed to make beer great again by releasing its publicity generating “Fake News Ale,” a tongue-and-cheek salute to the U.S. president.
115 Bathurst St.
|Bisha Hotel Toronto|
Entertainment District Giant
Lifetime Developments (Four Seasons Hotel & Residences is only one of their many projects) and Charles Khabouth, INK Entertainment’s CEO, are behind this 44-story hotel/condo project slated to open around the festival. Bisha Hotel Toronto is steps from the TIFF Bell Lightbox and will ultimately hold a 44th floor rooftop restaurant, 24-hour cafe and lobby bar all from Iconink hospitality. (Byblos is another one of their eateries). Celebrity chef Akira Back will open his first Canadian namesake restaurant within the complex in October. The 96-room hotel presents high style; actor and rocker Lenny Kravitz designed one floor of the hotel’s rooms.
80 Blue Jays Way
STK Toronto’s moody lighting and theatrical interiors set it apart from other meat emporiums. The emphasis is on elevated comfort foods like Tater Tot bacon poutine and truffle fries paired with dry-aged prime cuts. The multi-level seafood platter features Canadian lobster and other cold-water shellfish. Cocktails are ample with Moscow mules in demand. Two private dining rooms, large booths and an expansive bar complete the nightclub vibe.
153 Yorkville Ave.
|El Rey Bar|
From the owner of the stylish Bar Raval, El Rey Bar spotlights mezcal. Stop in for a shot or house-made cocktails at the 30-seat bar. The compact menu features bar snacks, piquant ceviche and meat, shrimp and veggie tostadas. There’s an outside patio when the weather is fine.
2A Kensington Ave.
The latest from the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant family, Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery takes its cues from the craft brews made on site. There’s an ode to British standards too — cottage pie and fish & chips — but the menu covers all the contemporary gastropub bases from barbeque baby back ribs to beer-can chicken. Vegetarians have options, too, though the Pilsner beer-battered bacon bar snack is not one of them. There are two private dining rooms with beer-related decor.
42 Liberty St.
Take a break for a sugar rush and meet locals and Instagrammers at Queen Street’s iHalo Krunch. All are in line for the foodie fad du jour: multi-hued, soft-serve ice cream served in black cones. The black comes from activated charcoal made from coconut husks. The selections are colorful: Ube Haze is made from purple yam, green soft serve is infused with Japanese matcha and Black on Black is coconut charcoal ice cream served in a photogenic black cone. Wait times vary but midday, weekdays are best for those pressed for time.
915 Queen St. W; (647) 505-3777