For many of us, the days of bustling, getting-bumped-into-and-spilling-your-drink, rowdy clubs are reserved for a select few “calculated” occasions. Instead, we opt for more of a lounge experience – either for a client dinner, date, or to begin or end a night on the town. Here are our favourite lounges in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal; and why not throw in a little curve-ball for you, as we share our favourite lounge in Los Angeles, too.
On any given night, you’ll find the who’s who of Toronto’s creative class at the recently opened Soho House in Toronto (pictured above). The London-based members-only club offers the ultimate definition of lounge, whether for a midday meeting or an after-dark night out, and caters to the city’s influential creative players in film, media, fashion and the arts. Located at Simcoe and Adelaide, the sophisticated, restored three-storey 1830s Georgian building is attached to the Shangri-La Hotel. Soho House is always a hot ticket during TIFF (it has been a pop-up venue in recent years) as the post-film party spot of choice for some of Hollywood’s biggest names. So, how do you get in? You either have to arrive as a member’s guest or apply to become a member yourself, if you qualify (there’s no guarantee – seriously). Membership at the Toronto club is $1,200 and, for an extra $500, you can access international venues.
Address: 192 Adelaide St. W, Toronto, ON
Opened at the beginning of the year, Big in Japan (the bar, not to be mistaken for the restaurant) has become a quick hotspot in Montreal. Taking cues from New York City, the unassuming lounge is unmarked, with a very raw graffiti-full red door that leads down a long hallway and through big black curtains, where guests enter a windowless, romantic and somewhat gothic escape full of candles and walls dressed in velvet curtains. The lounge features an impressive cocktail list, absinthe fountains (dangerous for some!), a huge Japanese whiskey selection and (for $210) you can even get your own Japanese whiskey bottle and keep it there with your name on it for your next visit. It’s a great place to start the night, but if you’re hitting this place on a prime night (Thursday-Saturday), expect a line and be warned: it is definitely not a place for large groups.
Address: 4175 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC
We had to include our favourite lounge in Vancouver, Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s Reflections Outdoor Restaurant & Lounge, even though the very thought is a tease since it recently closed for the winter. The spot is a spa-inspired urban oasis on the inner courtyard of the hotel’s fourth floor. In the heart of the city and surrounded by high-rises, Reflections provides a temporary escape that makes you want to check into the hotel permanently. By day, it offers a tranquil experience, with oversized cushioned couches, flowing water and pools and waterfalls. By night, it becomes a swanky NYC-esque hotspot for civilized cocktail consumption, complete with a fire pit and blankets. It includes a variety of specialty, handcrafted cocktails and a light menu that features shareable date favourites like freshly shucked oysters, charcuterie and cheeses and grilled pizza. Typically reserved for bakeries, a dessert favourite includes an assortment of colourful macarons. The hotel’s 1927 Lobby Lounge provides a great alternative for the winter.
Address: 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC
Milk Tiger Lounge offers perfected classic cocktails and is a favourite happy hour destination for Calgary YPs. Milk Tiger stays true to the roots of a classic cocktail bar, with cocktails categorized by the base alcohol used, sticking with tried and true cocktails instead of overwhelming with a colourful list of sugary creations. Intimate, with a New York City feel, the space is small and discreet (with next to no signage, it is easy to walk right past) and a hidden gem amongst Calgary’s social and in-the-know YP set. If you get hungry, the menu is entirely gluten-free. The lounge features a carefully selected assortment of beer and wine and cocktails that are around the $10 mark, refreshingly less expensive than most favoured and frequented YP destinations.
Address: 1410 4 St. S.W, Calgary, AB
If you find yourself in Los Angeles and you know the right people (or look the part), West Hollywood’s BAR 1200 inside the Sunset Marquis Hotel lounge is a low-key and laidback favourite among members of the rock and roll elite. Tucked off of the beaten path, south of Sunset Strip, the lounge and outdoor patio is dimly lit and intimate, with a classic rock and roll edge and walls lined with autographed photographs of rock stars. It may be a true definition of a classic Hollywood lounge, with comfortable seating, traditional bar stools and personable bartenders who have truly seen it all. It offers a comfortable place for a pre-drink, nightcap or low-key midweek drinks, with a signature favourite being the Ginger Lemon Mojito. If you find yourself inside its walls, act the part and leave your camera in the hotel – photography is strictly prohibited.
Address: 1200 Alta Loma Road, West Hollywood, CA
Whether to start the evening, or to wind one down, these notable lounges are sure to cater to your refined YP taste. If you have yet to discover them in your city, what are you waiting for? And for the jet-setting YP, you can thank us later for completing your next business trip. Cheers and Stay Notable!