Your local is full of, wait for it, locals.
So if you’re looking to spread your network beyond the last bar stool, it’s time to get out there.
Thankfully, there’s no shortage of breeding grounds where key connections can be made this summer in Toronto.
Here are some of our favourites… just don’t forget your business card.
1. Soho House
If you’re of the creative set, your networking toolbox isn’t complete without a membership at Soho House (or having friends who are members). On each of the three floors – all of which have their own distinct vibe – the movers and shakers in advertising, media, fashion, and entertainment can be found sipping cocktails and talking shop. The global members club also attracts members from around the world when they’re in town, breeding networking across borders.
2. Spoke Club
Another option for the city’s creative class is the beloved Spoke Club (yes, still). It serves as a weeknight go-to spot for networking, And this summer, the North Rooftop, more of a garden oasis than your typical patio, is prime real estate to work, lounge, entertain clients, and meet new business associates at the bar. Expect a New York terrace vibe with Spoke Club’s reliable food, cocktails, and good music.
3. Friday Nights at Maison Mercer
Need a place to mingle on a Friday after work… for the rest of the summer? Maison is essentially the perfect place to schmooze, relax, and meet other young professionals while you’re at it. Unassuming from the street, it boasts one of the best terraces in the city. The Friday Happy Hour series features special cocktails and a free BBQ. Oh, right, and the massive bar.
4. Oasis: Thursdays
The Oasis Rooftop Patio has recently undergone a facelift and became more than ready for the summer. No longer just the choice of tourists, it’s now a Thursday night favourite for Toronto young professionals (especially young, attractive professionals under the age of 30). The patio features dining tables, couch sections, and a bar with ample standing (and drinking) room. Even their sharing-style menu promotes conversation and mingling.
5. Drake 150
The Drake we know and love opened its second set of doors this past winter in the bustling Financial District. It remains an eclectic and vibrant place to eat, drink, catch live performances, and take in some art. Naturally, it features an award-winning cocktail program and a meticulously selected wine list. A.k.a, perfect for clients. Like the Queen West location, Drake 150 boasts eclectic fixtures, postmodern leather booths, and collections of art. In short, it’s one of the few places in the city where you can mingle with musicians and stockbrokers at the same time.
6. D Bar
If you’re in the mood to seal that mega deal with some big time investors, take them to The Four Seasons’ D Bar. It remains a sophisticated place to network and enjoy a high-class cocktail. You can sit inside and enjoy the 20-foot-tall floor-to-ceiling windows or opt for the outside terrace and enjoy the view (and the Yorkville people watching). A well-curated selection of sharing plates also helps to minimize the stuffy factor.
7. Boxcar Social
For those North-of-Bloor YPs, Boxcar Social is the solution to your next business meeting. The new Summerhill Cafe/bar is run by a group of friends who seem to be in the business of making new friends (they are super friendly and will definitely chat you up) as much as revenue. The space, complete with a striking interior and terrarium-filled outdoor area, offers a welcoming place for both personal and professional banter. Because the menu features drinks from lattes and cappuccinos to cider, beer, and wine, Boxcar Social can easily be a day or night destination as well.
8. SpeakEasy 21
The corporate set of young professionals has found a new spot to untuck their blouses and unbutton their ties. SpeakEasy 21’s location in the heart of Financial District inevitably attracts a suit-wearing crowd, but things like live music, a relaxed vibe, and what is probably the most extensive cocktail list in the area offer a fresh vibe that invite some quality banter.
Cover image: D BAR