Jump on the clanging 501 Queen streetcar for a little sightseeing in Toronto and join the worker bees buried in their phones, the mothers with their oversized strollers, and the noisy, late-night bar hoppers and hipsters, all clamouring for a seat on the Red Rocket on one of the busiest transit routes in the city. You are heading west to the hippest part of Toronto, the 19 blocks of Queen Street West between Bathurst and Gladstone known locally as West Queen West.
The Drake Hotel
On any given day, the hip and trendy Drake Hotel is filled with after-work cocktail-seekers, influencers, artists, and gallery-goers galore. The sleek, early ’50s aluminum awning welcomes you to this famous Liberty Village, 19-room boutique icon, which offers everything a traditional hotel does but with a twist. The individually designed, funky-yet-comfortable signature rooms will entice the artist in you with art installations that will make your imagination pop and your creative juices flow.
Drop by for a drink at Sky Bar, their sunny rooftop patio, stay for an art opening, groove on downstairs for a thumping, rocking concert at the Drake Underground, or simply stay for the vibe and shop the Drake General Store for unique clothing and souvenirs.
Get your luxe on and enjoy vintage designer shopping along Queen Street West at Fashionably Yours, voted the city’s number-one consignment store by Toronto shoppers. Luxuriate in their bright, breezy showroom where you can oooh and ahh over their authentic consignment buys and pre-owned designer apparel, bags, and accessories by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, and Gucci. Fashionably Yours is not just for the ladies, either. The boutique also offers a tempting selection of men’s accessories too.
Pop into Meg, a high-end boutique whose gorgeous clothes are available in a wide array of sizes and colours, in styles that run the gamut from day wear and business attire to cocktail, casual, and evening wear. Meg is all about the service, and you can take advantage of their individual consults and one-on-one attention in Meg’s warm and inviting showrooms. This independent designer label appreciates the importance of finishing touches, and also offers free alterations and tailoring.
Lisa Marie is pop-up king Matt Basile’s ode to delicious greasy, juicy, dripping, cheesy, beautiful burgers. Try the Tuna Ceviche Nachos or Double Pancake Pork Burger (with pancakes subbing for a traditional burger bun). His indulgent Smoked Meat Smorgasbord will set you humming. Catch his famous Wino Wednesdays—spaghetti and meatballs plus half-price bottles of wine—every Wednesday evening. Brunch? Chow down on Matt’s s’mores pancakes. Yes, that’s right: s’mores pancakes. You’re welcome!
KOHL Whiskey Bar
At KOHL Whiskey Bar, Owner/Chef Alex Rad has achieved a heady, smoky marriage of food and liquor. Breathe deeply as you sip your whiskey, and relish the smoky loveliness that fills your nose with peaty pleasure. The bar features 84 bottles of single-malt whisky and 43 bottles of bourbon, which complement the mouth-watering, southern BBQ eats on offer from Smoque N’ Bones. Dig in!
The art gallery layout, rotating latte wall art, the attentive baristas, and the heavenly smell of roasted coffee will certainly entice you into this Trinity Bellwoods café, but RSquared Café is also renowned for its unusual coffee mash-ups. Savour a Spanish latte with a hint of cayenne or Orange Mocha coffee. Sip their Pink or Matcha lattes for an additional punch of flavour. If you like your espresso on the darker, toasty side, then order up! Tonnes of sweet nibbles are available to satisfy your sweet tooth, including dairy- and gluten-free options. The avocado and chocolate muffins are to die for.
Before you hop on the 501 Queen Street car and head to West Queen West for a little sightseeing in Toronto, take your favourite guy shopping at Pace Men’s Collection on Bay Street, a high-end store offering an array of stylish designer fashions.