CAN’T WINTER BE OVER YET?! Saturday nights just aren’t the same when you can’t feel your limbs and have snow blowing in your freshly made-up face, and as appealing as hibernation sounds this time of year, it ain’t the solution to the cold weather doldrums. Cozy bars are! We’ve compiled our picks for the coziest Toronto bars and since Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, we’ve made the list swing two ways – bars to drink away the last 40 some-odd days of winter/wrap up a romantic evening with your beau at.

Souz Dal (636 College St.)
Stepping into Souz Dal, the first thought that comes to mind is sexy; the kind of sexy that just is, like a girl blessed with perfect cheekbones, or whatever. Drink offerings like dirty martinis and absinthe are a surefire way to get your blood flowing again and the dark, intimate atmosphere is perfect for inducing conversations. A place this warm and cozy, you can be sure your night will end well.

The Auld Spot Pub (347 Danforth Ave. & 633 College St.)
This is the kind of spot made for wasting away the winter months, with its homey atmosphere making the transition from home to pub almost seamless. Hearty menu offerings like poutine and pot pies provide the perfect perfect belly-fillers and ceiling-hung tree branches with lights intertwined add just the right amount of romance. Whether you arrive with friends or on a date, the booths are the perfect spot to settle in for the night.

Royal York Library Bar (100 Front St.)
Libraries are notoriously cozy places, but throw one inside one of Toronto’s historic hotels alongside some classy cocktails and you’ve got the perfect spot for a cold winter’s night. Suited best as a nightcap or first-drink-of-the-night kind of place, the bar serves some of the best martinis in the city and its atmosphere just screams (shhh!) for the most charming of conversations.

The Red Light (1185 Dundas St. W.)
From the cutout metal heart gracing the window front to the the dim, red lighting and winter-appropriate bevys like bourbon and oatmeal stout, The Red Light is an ideal destination for both low-key nights with friends and romantic dates (red lighting, a giant heart… sooo Valentine’s, right?). Music ranges throughout the week and includes everything from old school hip-hop to slow jams and though there’s no food offered, you’re allowed to bring in or order delivery from other restaurants and take-out spots.

Drake Hotel Apres Ski Lodge (1150 Queen St. W.)
If winter didn’t have the ridiculously low temperatures, the gusty winds, the slush, the snow squalls… it’d actually be kind of nice. Winter DOES have it’s moments of glory and it’s only right that we pay tribute to them every now and then, which is where the Drake Hotel’s Apres Ski Lodge comes in. Bringing together everything good about season, the Apres Lodge offers treats like boozy hot chocolate and gingerbread, an open fire and blankets to warm up by, and vintage skis and sleds for eye candy. When used as a V-Day destination, it’s provides the perfect excuse to cozy up to that special someone without feeling all awkward about PDA.

~ Caitlyn Holroyd
~ Photo of Souz Dal by andreakw