Dinner and Salsa Dancing on Dundas West
Lula Lounge, the colourfully lit-up salsa lounge on Dundas West, is Toronto’s go-to venue for live salsa and world music. Here, local movers and shakers indulge in tropical fusion dishes and Havana Club mixed drinks. If you’re feeling adventurous, take part in a beginner salsa lesson and let one of the savvy local instructors move you. Or relax in one of the cozy booths and watch the room come to life. Either way, booking a table at Lula on a Friday night is a surefire way to get your groove back.
After you’re grooved out, shimmy over to The Dakota Tavern for some live indie roots music.>
Moroccan Cuisine and Belly Dancing in Old Town
The Sultan’s Tent and Moroccan café evokes the ambience of a traditional “diffa” (a lavish Moroccan banquet) within the city’s only remaining historic cast iron building. Sink into a silk divan in one of the tented, cushion-strewn dining lounges and enjoy a four-course Moroccan meal. Talented belly dancers perform nightly.
After dinner and the show, take a stroll through the cobblestone-lined Distillery Historic District, a neighbourhood that showcases one of the largest and best preserved examples of Victorian industrial architecture in Canada.
Friendly Competition at Snakes & Lattes (Annex)
This dedicated board game café features a curated library of games, specialty espresso drinks, beers on tap and an affordable snack menu. Tuck into one of the homey booths for a few rounds (one of the game-savvy servers can help you select a game if needed), and enjoy some friendly competition over veggie chips and tea.
Head down Bloor Street for some delicious Japanese snacks at Kinka Izakaya. Curl up at a low table for extra intimacy. But brace yourself for the good-natured yelling from the staff. It’s all part of the fun.
Retreat to the Thompson Hotel Rooftop Lounge
Craving a retreat from the busy city streets? Escape the bustle atop Thompson Hotel on their chic rooftop lounge. Curl up on a plush bench with one of their signature mojitos and take in all 360 degrees of the Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario.
Feast on crab-crusted prawns and finish off your visit with a stroll around the glowing infinity pool. Afterwards, head up Bathurst and west on Queen to Trinity Bellwoods Park, a grassy hotspot where hipsters lounge on summer nights. End up at the trendy Ossington Avenue strip if you fancy another cocktail.
Karaoke in Koreatown
Toronto’s Koreatown offers much more than a top-notch stone bowl of bibimbap – the neighborhood between The Annex and Bloorcourt is home to a rockin’ selection of late-night karaoke bars and a few of the city’s most well-loved bars. A favourite pastime in Toronto, karaoke offers a great opportunity to break the ice, show off your hidden talents, or just laugh a lot.
Rent a private room if you’d rather keep your music confidential, or get gutsy and put on a show for the crowd. Debrief at Clinton’s Tavern over a pint and a platter of hearty gourmet nachos.
A Little Bit of Soul in Little Italy
For 20 years, the Orbit Room has brought a touch of New Orleans and a whole lot of soul to the city’s Little Italy, the neighborhood where nightlife reaches an apex. Every night of the week, bands (and musicians with the night off) gather at this intimate upstairs lounge to jam in the style of Motown, 60s soul classics, funk, reggae and more.
Tap your feet with the crowd until the place fills up later in the evening, then cool off on the back patio with a martini. Better yet, escape the crush and head down the street to stop for something sweet at The Big Chill, an old-fashioned retro ice cream parlour with carnivalesque design.