House on Parliament
There couldn't be a more perfect gastropub than House on Parliament. The room is always buzzing – seriously, we've yet to be in when it's dead – and the interior is well-positioned to give an inviting air. (Unlike some of the service staff... but we don't mind our stout with a side of curmudgeon). The food is classic pub grub, all gourmet, naturally, and the dozens of whiskys and scotches will have you feeling the heat in no time.
This Prohibition-styled mecca of mixed drinks where mixology breeds with premium spirits is a West-End answer to the cold. Obviously the cocktails are outstanding – it's a spot by Jen Agg, after all – and the barrel-aged Manhattan is trip-worthy alone. It's cozy as can be, and you'll always feel like you've found a hidden gem every time you walk in.
This Ossington Strip tequila bar brings Mexico's renowned spirit to new heights. There's one cocktail that tastes like a strawberry candy mixed with a scotch bonnet, and will have you warmin' up in no time. The decor is simple enough to take a back seat to the company you're keeping.
Pacific Junction Hotel
When you walk into Pacific Junction Hotel, you'll feel like you've entered a local watering hole in the Florida Keys. The decor is island-chic, and the tapas foods are tasty bites to keep your energy up and your comfort levels in check. PJH also serves one of the city's best Dark n' Stormies so you can imagine you're in Bermuda mocking the tourists with one of your local buds.
Queen and Beaver Public House
Sitting upstairs at the Queen and Beaver feels a bit like you're at your mate's house, chilling in his dad's recroom while a football announcer's commentary echoes in the background. You can grab a few pints and drink like the Brits. (Read: Heavily, loudly, and in armchairs). Order some bar snacks – like the house-cut fries with curried ketchup – and enjoy your respite from winter's harsh breath.
Photo courtesy Queen and Beaver Public House