chris atchison/metro toronto


The Asian-themed decor at Grass.


31 Mercer St.


Ambience: The patio wars are winding down, but Grass is looking to grow its business as fall comes ever nearer. The rooftop patio of Rockwood, the new club in the space once occupied by the unflappable martini-and-mingling mecca Bauhaus, has been renovated with the outdoor chic atmospheres of Los Angeles and the serene surrounds of Bali in mind. Although Grass’ condo neighbours may not approve, the bass line pumps into the wee hours when weather permits, cocktails flow and matured club kids network the night away, exchanging business cards and glances across the two-tiered terrace.

Crowd: It’s the Field Of Dreams rule, in this case applied to the trendy patio: build it and they will come. They, in this case, are the movers and shakers, those in the publicity game who need to be seen for business purposes and those riding in the wake of the trend-setters. They chat, they lounge, they seem to bore themselves — but they can be entertaining to watch.

Dress code: Dress to impress rules are definitely in play with designer names being strewn about more frequently than drink orders. Jeans will do, but they better be cleverly faded and carry a hefty price tag.

Should I dance on the bar? Let me see… no.

Will I get lucky? It’s not likely, but that that shouldn’t stop you from trying.

Best accessory: Arm candy.

Cocktail du jour: Basic fare is the most popular with mixed drinks, premium beers, fancy cocktails and shooters making the owners the bulk of their money. Try to come up with a trendy cocktail —maybe something mixed with champagne — and order that when you visit. You’re sure to fit in.

Hours: Monday 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Thursday through Saturday 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

For a great date

Souz Dal

636 College St. W.


The College Street strip may be best known for its cocktails and lounge-based nightlife, but it’s also a prime area to book dates, with a row of couple-friendly restaurants and bars and a welcoming vibe. Souz Dal embodies that sentiment with dim lighting and moody decor for those looking for conversation over martinis and fine wine. Worried that your date may not be able to keep up with your witty banter? Then head elsewhere because Souz Dal is all about cosy discussions.

On the cutting edge
The Horseshoe Tavern

370 Queen St. W.


It might look and feel like a roadhouse where you’d be more likely to exit via the window than the door, but The Horseshoe — at least by Toronto terms — is legendary. It has played host to some of the world’s top rock acts, including the Rolling Stones, and continues to serve up consistent helpings of cutting-edge rock. While trendy bars stick to minimalist style standards, at the Horseshoe the term minimalist is usually associated with straight shots of whisky, hold the chaser. It may not be pretty, but for rock fans it’s one step from heaven.

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