Full of steam to blow off, reasons to celebrate and an ingrained notion that 30 is indeed the new 20, many of us continue to hit the town for cocktail-filled nights long after we turn the “big” 3-0.
But one way to completely ruin a buzz and the infectious energy you’ve absorbed from your friends is to feel like an old haggard chaperone at a school dance or that you’ve stepped back in time to your university days. There comes a point when getting pushed, spilt on and aggressively pursued by drunken people (while equally as aggressive music plays in the background) loses any appeal it once had.
Yet, your desire to go out, shake off the week (or your Tuesday) and return home with a little buzz remains strong. What is the thirty or forty-something (hell, even 50-something) to do? Not to worry; there are plenty of places to party in Toronto if you’re over 30.
Despite the energetic sounds of resident DJ Bellosound and the endless flow of champagne and cocktails, it’s pretty impossible to feel old at dbar, thanks to the mixed bag of fixtures you’ll find within its well-designed walls. Let’s be honest; when specialty cocktails start at $18 (and are totally worth every penny, by the way), the fresh-out-of-university set couldn’t afford to drink there even if they wanted to.
Whether for drinks with clients, a boozy Saturday night with friends or for some quality happy hour action (they have $7 martinis from 4 pm to 7 pm daily), Pravda Vodka Bar caters to a mature set of vodka lovers who have a desire to let loose. Now a fixture in the St. Lawrence Market ‘hood for more seasoned partiers, the two-story spot remains out of the geographical confines of most west-of-Yonge-only 20-somethings.
While it may be nestled right in the thick of the debauchery-filled King West neighbourhood, Baro’s password-protected Escobar is the downtown core’s latest hangout for the city’s mature set of cool kids in the know. While it gets as rammed as a nightclub does on weekend nights, the well-crafted cocktail menu of both familiar faves and South American-inspired house specialties is worth the occasional bumping of elbows.
As what seems to be the preferred birthday drink venue of choice for the 30-plus crowd as of late, Kensington Market’s El Rey offers a variety of mezcals to accompany small plates of Mexican bites. The good news is that most early 20-somethings have no idea what mezcal even is, so it’s rare to find too many younger millennials in this cozy spot.
Sure, it may be a massive chain restaurant, but if you’re looking to mingle with other movers and shakers who were born before smartphones were a thing, the bar at the King West Keg is a no-fail spot. For those in the market for a little booze-filled personal or professional networking, you’ll definitely find it here, especially Wednesday to Saturday evenings.
For lovers of beer, schnitzel and a casual vibe, Otto’s Bierhalle – the new (ish) European-style beer hall from the team behind Kensington Market’s Berlin Doner – is yet to be discovered by an over saturation of those who were in kindergarten during Britney Spears’ crop top-filled heyday. Its relaxed vibe and communal tables make it a good choice for those craving both quality German food and a casual dress code.
If your idea of a good Saturday night in the city involves dancing like nobody is watching (i.e. free from the judging eyes of kids you potentially used to babysit), you may want to hit Queen West’s iconic Rivoli for one of their dance events hosted by Footprints. Taking over the venue on the last Saturday of each month, Footprints is Toronto’s longest-running open dance event and it offers an all-inclusive platform to shake off that work week.
At Bar Reyna – the cozy Mediterranean-style spot that’s become a Yorkville staple since it opened last spring – you’ll find no shortage of the city’s movers and shakers, first date-goers and the mature set of late-night partiers all sipping memorable cocktails out of large copper pineapples. The four-season back patio also offers a tranquil escape from the city grind and an unpretentious place to share comforting Mediterranean-inspired eats with friends.
Whether downstairs at the bar or on its installation art-filled rooftop Sky Yard, the best thing about The Drake Hotel is the assortment of people you’ll find within its well-curated, multi-level real estate. This means everyone from those as artsy as Queen West can attract, to as corporate as Bay St. pumps out, but people of all ages as well.
If you’re overdue for a reason to get all fancied up, you’ll find an abundance of decked-out, easy-on-the-eyes fellow cocktail-sippers at Lavelle, King West’s latest and greatest rooftop. In addition to quality French-inspired cuisine and an extensive cocktail menu, you’ll also find stunning unobstructed 360-degree views of Toronto’s skyline – a perfect backdrop for those inevitable photos ops once you’re all dressed up.
If a quality whisky buzz is your thing, CC Lounge and Whisky Bar – a large Prohibition-themed spot in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood – offers over 100 whiskies to please your palette. The swanky spot is complete with disco ball chandeliers, a birdcage that often houses dancers, private booths with 100-year-old whiskey barrels as tables and a whiskey-tasting tunnel – all things that facilitate a night that’s totally worth the hangover.
Despite its location right in the heart of financial district, Cactus Club Café remains a popular spot for professionals of all backgrounds – not just those in finance. While you’ll definitely get the odd rowdy intern or greener than green entry-level fellow customer, you’ll also find wine, beer, and cocktail-sippers of all ages on each floor of the massive Adelaide St. spot.
Did we miss any of the best spots to party in Toronto if you’re over 30? Let View The Vibe know in the comment section or by tweeting us at @ViewtheVibe.