Where do all the Koreans in Toronto go to drink? Here, I’ve compiled five drinking places to make you feel at Seoul in Toronto. Don’t be surprised if all you hear, left and right, is Korean (and if the waiter talks to you in Korean – they do that to me all the time).
In (click name for Yelp link)
5460 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M2N
Favorites: The waiters are cute?
Ambiance: Club-like, mid-late 20s.
Tip: Go early, or else you may not able to get a table.
Lots of blind dates, double dates, large gathering, pick-ups (guys asking girls to drink with them) seem to happen here. Lots of flirting everywhere, but it not like bars where people roam around…Non-Koreans can easily get confused. Regardless, it’s definitely one of the most frequented places among young Koreans in Toronto. Slightly older crowd than Kkorae (#5), probably because it’s more expensive.
6012 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M2M
Favorites: Onion Chicken
Ambiance: Very casual
Tip: If you want to try two kinds of style, but don’t have the room to finish two entire chickens, order ban-ban (half-half).
Those of you that know a bit about Korean drinking culture, you know how crazy Koreans are about chicken & beer (some Koreans call chicken 치느님,which is a combined form of chicken 치킨 and god 하느님- shows how popular chicken is). It’s like wine and cheese except greasier, heavier, and that much more satisfying. Korean style fried chicken is very different from KFC or Swisschalet. The Fry is a must for an authentic K-style fried chicken experience.
687 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 2B2
Favorites: Oden Stew, Seafood Stir-fried Rice Cake
Ambiance: Loft-style, urban, modernized pocha. Suitable for friendly gathering & 3rd dates.
Tip: This place is also great for lunch – read my review here! Also, the round seats open up to store your winter coats and belongings.
One of the few Korean bars in a central downtown location! Right by Yonge-bloor, it’s very convenient for downtown dwellers to get to. Mix crowd, definitely more non-Koreans here than other places. The food here is amazing, and there’s a second floor VIP room with a karaoke machine!
Address 16 Isabella Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 2A1
Favorites: Their outdoor patio is just the best! Operates both in winter and summer.
Ambiance: Dark, urban, simple. University-bar-esque. Patio is usually nicely decorated. Young crowd.
Food is not memorable, but it doesn’t really matter when you’re drunk, does it? Loud, dark, and downtown. Lots of UofT students frequent this place because of its proximity to campus. Personally found the service here quite irritating. The waiters are a bit cocky? And they keep speaking to me in Korean when I repeatedly answered in English. Oh well, I still love your patio.
Kkorae (Lack of yelp review testifies to their fobbiness)
Address: 3 Finch Avenue E
Toronto, ON M2N 4P9
Favorites: Seafood Udon
Ambiance: Dark, cozy, and Christmas-like. Suitable for dates, friendly gatherings. Very young crowd (early 20s)
This place reminds me of an independent, small bar in the corner of Hongdae. Very cute and definitely has its charm. The food is relatively flavourful and service has been great the few times I visited. If you go during weekdays or early evening, it’s a great place to have conversations.
Did I miss any of your favorite places? Let me know by commenting below. Also, make sure to check out my illustrated (poorly) Korean drinking game compilation to spice up your night.