The best wine bars Toronto has to offer for rare vino and small plates

Wine, whether natural or not, is in the limelight right now and these are the best wine bars in Toronto to find it at, along with tasty snack plates.

Best wine bars in Toronto |  Pouring wine at Paris Paris

Gone are the days when we would order a glass of house 'red' or 'white' wine. As drinkers grow more discerning, the best wine bars in Toronto have become the only place to go when seeking sensational sommelier-approved sips. Often, wine bars will have unique, hard-to-find wines by the glass that the vino experts have meticulously chosen, all to ignite our palates and whisk us away to global vineyards.  

If we're lucky, there may also be some delectable small plates crafted by the city's top chefs. Some of the wine bars listed below double as Toronto's best restaurants. So, bring your appetite next time you're heading out for wine. And it's not just wine on offer: Some vino venues are at Toronto's best bars and make some of the city's tastiest cocktails.

With the rise of natural and biodynamic wines, bars specializing in these low-intervention bottles have become more prevalent in the city. Whatever you're in the mood for, let Toronto's best somms guide your pours and help you find your favourite glass at one of these spots.

16 Toronto wine bars for rare vino

1. Sommelier Factory Wine Bar

304 Richmond St. W.

If you want some of the most premium specialty bottles in the city, Sommelier Factory Wine Bar (formerly Grand Cru Deli) on Richmond Street West should be in your repertoire. The wine bar, situated inside a 1900s Victorian house opposite the Scotiabank Theatre, is split across two levels. On the ground floor (and on the petit front patio in the summer), you can enjoy deli bites and savoury snacks made from scratch, paired with wines that will make oenophiles' eyes light up.

Allow master sommelier Bruce Wallner to choose a crisp chenin blanc from the Loire or a funkier New World expression from Australia for you to sip on. If you're still tempted to learn more about wine, you can grab your textbook and take a class or two upstairs at their wine school.

2. The Rosebud

498 King St. E.

Best wine bars Toronto | The dining room at The Rosebud

It may be home to some of the tastiest plates in the city, but The Rosebud is, first and foremost, a wine bar, meaning that its list is meticulously sourced. Pair your meal with wine, and let their delightful servers fill you in on the anecdotes, backstories and winemaking methods that go into each sip. Wines by the glass change often at The Rosebud, but one great way to kick things off is with a glass of Antech Limoux Reserve Brut, a region touted to be home to the world's first sparkling wine.

3. Midfield Wine Bar

1434 Dundas St. W.

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Headed by veteran sommelier Christopher Sealy and former Bar Italia manager Giuseppe Anile, Midfield has a huge selection of wines by the glass and bottle, and a reserve list of high-end wines. The impressive selection earns the praise of seasoned wine experts, yet the atmosphere remains approachable enough for newbies looking to sample something not found on LCBO shelves.

4. Paris Paris

146 Ossington Ave.

Paris Paris

When a wine list includes sections like "skin contact whites" and "sweet and oxidative," you know they mean business. This stylish wine bar on Ossington Avenue has a bible-long list that is heavy on natural options. The food menu ranges from chilled seafood and vino-friendly cheese plates to larger dishes like hanger steak and roasted chicken. Expect a bustling atmosphere.

5. Paradise Grapevine

841 Bloor St. W.

Best wine bars in Toronto | The patio at Paradise Grapevine on Bloor

This Bloorcourt spot takes a hipsterized approach to wine (we're in Toronto, after all) with just bar service, plenty of by-the-glass options and a chill atmosphere. Grab a stem and retreat to the vine-covered back patio in summer, or chill inside at the bar, which is open until 2 a.m.

6. Archive

909 Dundas St. W.

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When it first opened, Archive paved the way for creating a social, democratized environment for wine lovers who wanted to enjoy vino without all the pretentious fuss. It remains one of the city's best bars for international wine. At the same time, local Ontario gems and exceptional limited-production wines can also be spotted popping up on the menu regularly.

7. Chez Nous

798 Queen St. E.

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Head here for a crash course in Ontario wine that doesn't break the bank. Seasoned wine traveller Laura Carr's ethos is simple: present some of the best local (and international) wines at reasonable prices. Impressively, at any given time, you'll find nearly two dozen local wines available to order by the glass. Carr changes the list as new releases come through, often digging into remote winemaking pockets of Ontario.

8. Bar Piquette

1084 Queen St. W.

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Small plates of delicious food are designed to pair like a dream with the equally delicious wine list. Think tuna crudo, oysters, loaded charcuterie boards, and focaccia you’ll be lusting after long after that last sip. The wine list often rotates to allow fun finds and new releases to be added.

9. Lake Inez

1471 Gerrard St. E.

To truly understand Lake Inez, you need to follow their Instagram account (we’ll wait). The posts and captions feature everything from new menu items to wine launches and musings like, “Remember when restaurants used to be carpeted?”

Go for the red frizzante wines, funky pet nats and classic European reds; stay for the wild and wonderful plates of cold-smoked swordfish and cardamom-infused desserts.

Lake Inez occasionally throws Weird Wine Club events, which sell out quickly. If you’re able to snag a spot, it’s an opportunity to taste multiple wines, like Californian beauties or low-intervention Ontario wines, while enjoying snacks from the kitchen.

10. Goods and Provisions

1124 Queen St. E.

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This Leslieville gem has been around for decades but still falls under most people’s radar. The joint is decked out with old-timey photographs and memorabilia on every wood-panelled corner. But that’s if you can find them — Goods and Provisions gets seriously moody in the evening, so grab a seat and let one of their charming servers guide you through their collection of natural and unique wine, “strong cocktails,” and devilishly tasty plates.

11. Grape Witches

1247 Dundas St. W.

This beautiful store, patio, and bottle shop on Dundas West is just the tip of the iceberg. Grape Witches, led by co-owners Krysta Oben and Nicole Campbell, began as a series of educational wine events and parties. Today, it embodies their desire to share biodynamic, organic, and natural wine with the vino-curious. In addition to the constantly rotating wines, Grape Witches is a place to attend educational wine seminars and to simply find out what you enjoy in an unstuffy environment.

12. Henry’s

922 Queen St. W.

What happens when the owners of an events company and a wine agency get married and have a brainwave? Well, in the case of Roxanne and Ben Hodson, the result is Henry’s — a Michelin-recognized wine bar in Trinity Bellwoods with a stellar menu of creative plates from chef Kevin Le. The white-walled space, fitted with chic minimal light fixtures and gold-green banquettes, is a laid-back place to grab a glass of something international and delicious. However, if you want to leave with a souvenir, slip behind the velvet curtain and peruse the shelves at the Wine Shop next door, where you’ll discover rare bottles of tasty vino for sale.

13. Grey Gardens

199 Augusta Ave.

“You can never be all things to all people, but you can make a restaurant that meets all your needs, and maybe other people's too,” reads a note on Grey Gardens website, from none other than restaurateur Jen Agg herself. If your needs include aromatic whites by the glass, secret sake menus, and eating more oysters than you planned in a cute, pastel-coloured dining room, you’re probably overdue a visit to this Kensington Market wine bar.

14. Piccolo Caffe E Vino

111 John St.

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Wine bars have a way of weeding out the penny-pinchers, but we think it’s possible to enjoy great wine and a bloody good deal. Not only does Piccolo Caffe E Vino, sister spot to next-door-neighbour Melrose on Adelaide, have an interesting list of largely European wine by the bottle and glass, there are deals galore. Head to this unpretentious spot for half-price bottles on Wine Club Mondays. During their weekday happy hour, enjoy buck-an-ounce house red or white or discounted glasses of featured orange or rosé.

15. The Daughter

1560A Bayview Ave.

The Daughter, a Davisville Village boutique natural wine bar and bottle shop, which opened in 2022, has fast become one of our favourite spots to share a glass of something new, unique and delicious. Strikingly, there is no wine list here. The intention is for staff to quiz you on your mood, taste preference and price point before returning with something you’ll love. In addition, there are delightful small bites on challah and cocktails if you’re not jonesing for grapes when you visit.

16. Tommy's Wine Bar

1977 Dundas St. W.

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This Dundas West spot for coffee, wine, craft beer and cocktails started out as a pandemic interim bottle shop. Now, it's an affordable wine bar with a fabulous rotating wine selection. Sit down in their cozy candlelit space and order whatever sandwiches, empanadas or sweet treats they have that day to go with funky vino by the glass.