Where to drink in Toronto


You don’t really have a choice, you know: you must take your amber restorative (preferably Mr. Walker’s noir) at the Hitch Bar at Queen and Leslie Streets.  And, of course, it’s named after the late great atheist, as the website blog TO reports in a positive review:

The bartender informed me that the bar is actually named after Christopher Hitchens (commonly known as Hitch). Using Hitch as an inspirational figure for a bar makes sense as Hitch was known to be a heavy drinker, a much more intuitive choice than the Mr. Rogers themed club in Parkdale.

Hitch’s drinking habits are reflected in the exceedingly strong cocktails. I ordered a Bourbon Sour ($11), recommended by the bartender. I’m usually not a big fan of hard liquor from the whiskey family – it reminds me of the time when I was 17 and put Baby Orajel on my tongue so I could drink rye without tasting it. However, this drink was delicious – the spices juxtaposed with the sour were the perfect drink on such a cold night. Garnishing the two-shot drink with sour cranberries instead of the traditional maraschino cherries was a welcome touch.

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Photos by Jesse Milns

Food and drink aside, one of the best things about Hitch is the atmosphere. The bar, decorated with animal busts and mason jar lights, is a Pinterester’s wet dream. The cozy space has one long table as well as several smaller tables and rather than the usual mounted TV, Hitch has installed a projector opposite the largest wall. The bartender mentioned they plan to show documentaries and TED Talks at the bar.

For an establishment where every cocktail contains a double shot, it’s well-lit and the music is low, making it a good venue for a casual meeting or breaking up with someone.

Overall, Hitch is a great place to go for a stiff drink, delicious snacks, and good conversation. This bar truly embodies the idea of a salon.

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Every drink with a double shot—that’s awesome! There’s but one problem, which you can spot below:

Beers on Tap:

Mill St Stock Ale, Beau’s Lug Tread, Duggan’s No. 9 IPA.

Signature Drink:

The Hitch (whiskey, soda, lemon)

Whiskey, soda, and lemon! Oy vey—a travesty! There’s only one drink that should be called “The Hitch,” and you know what it is.

The Canadian Atheists also have a review.

The first atheist who sends me a picture of him/herself drinking Hitch’s REAL favorite drink (not “The Hitch”) at the bar, along with a paragraph reporting on it, gets a free autographed paperback of WEIT.  Note: you have to show the bottle, too!

h/t: Veronica

27 Comments

  1. Posted February 15, 2013 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Mr. Jefferson, build up that bar.

  2. Melissa Johnson
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I feel a road trip coming on! A field trip is in order. Cheers! Does this place sound ideal or what?

  3. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I’ll file that recommendation for future use. I had a few hours to kill in Toronto a couple of years ago (between visiting an ailing relative as a side-trip from working off the Newfoundland coast), but didn’t have the energy to try hunting anything more exotic than the bar at the railway station.
    [Maps] Hmmm, couple of miles from the centre. Time for a tube, or one of those taxi rides that avid pub-quizzers just WANT to get.
    And I’d better pass the link onto some of my Canadian atheist friends.

  4. JBlilie
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Hitch’s favorite drink

    At about half past midday, a decent slug of Mr Walker’s amber restorative, cut with Perrier water (an ideal delivery system) and no ice. At luncheon, perhaps half a bottle of red wine: not always more but never less. Then back to the desk, and ready to repeat the treatment at the evening meal. No ‘after-dinner drinks’ – ​most especially nothing sweet and never, ever any brandy. ‘Nightcaps’ depend on how well the day went…

    A review of JWB

    I’m stepping out right now to buy a bottle …

  5. Posted February 15, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Being named after a pub? The ultimate accolade for any drinker! And in this situation, it’s also the ultimate accolade for any pub!

  6. Newish Gnu
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “…I was 17 and put Baby Orajel on my tongue so I could drink rye without tasting it.”

    Oh, how I wish I could unread that.

  7. Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    The title of this post had me hoping that you were coming to Toronto to give a talk, but then I realized that the sentence was not interrogative. Maybe some day? Although I know what Hitch’s favourite drink was, I do not have any in the house. I might have to run out and buy a bottle.

  8. George
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The picture has to be taken at the Hitch Bar, right?

    I am about twenty minutes away from the bar and it opens at five. I hope I won’t have to fistfight any of you to get to order the drink before you…

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      It has to be taken at the Hitch bar, and you have to be drinking a Johnnie Walker Black, either with or without Perrier (but nothing else; no lemon), and you have to show the bottle.

      Plus you have to write a short review of your experience. (Whether you eat fudz is optional.)

      Them’s the roolz!

      • George
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Okay, the game is on! And as I already said earlier, if I see anyone trying to cut in line, it’ll get nasty. >:(

        • Matt Bowman
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Good Luck George! Don’t disappoint us on the photo or review. We’re waiting.

          • George
            Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

            How much of a review can I write in one paragraph (“Them’s the roolz!”)? It’ll be short; I don’t want to get disqualified.

  9. Christopher
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Drats…I misread the post that the photo had to be at the bar Hitch…my wife was looking at me screwy for pouring a Hitch this early and I thought I was gonna get a book…fooey! But, I do have that drink poured…I’ll go watch a favorite Hitch video now.

    • Christopher
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      I have just spotted a flaw in the contest. It says it has to be the first atheist, so they must have some physical proof of their atheism surrounding them, like a hog-tied fundamentalist on the stool next to them or at bare minimum a Hitchens book in the photo, like my photo (I know, this is special pleading)

      • Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Any babies in the house?

        • Christopher
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

          ?

          • Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            Atheists are noted for eating babies.

            • Christopher
              Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

              HA! That was good. Thanks for saving me from my denseness at not getting the reference!

  10. Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    “(Whether you eat fudz is optional.)”

    I drink only Vernors ginger ale, so I won’t be eligible for the WEIT book. However, I am waiting for the next Coyne publication: tinyurl.com/a2ztzyd

  11. Gordon Hill
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Great city. Used to stay at the Hilton Harbor Castle (now the Westin) and take the Centre Island ferry to the island for a run where the signs advised, “Please walk on the grass.”

    Also, great theatre, especially the Royal Alexandra.

  12. Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    This is yet another time when I wished Niven’s transfer booths were a reality.

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      What, a Roddenberry-Jefferies transporter isn’t good enough for you? Snob!

      • Harbo
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Personally I prefer to “Jaunt”

        • Harbo
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          Sorry “Jaunte”

    • Marella
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      “If you have to take me apart to get me there then I don’t want to go!”

  13. ploubere
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Fine whiskey should be drunk straight or on ice, not mixed with dilutants to disguise the taste. If you don’t like the taste, save it for those that appreciate it.
    Cheap whiskey should not be drunk at all but used for cleaning oil stains.


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