Happy hours have a weird history in straight-laced Ontario. The province first allowed the practice in 1981, only to ban it three years later fearing it promoted drinking and driving. Then, in 2007, the Liquor Licence Act changed yet again, allowing booze prices to fluctuate with the time of day or the day of the week. But don’t call these specials happy hours: that term, along with the phrase “cheap drinks,” is strictly prohibited. Toronto’s bar and restaurant owners are a savvy bunch, however, offering everything from cinq-à-septs (a Montreal import) to Crappy Hour. Below, 26 of the best Toronto happy hour specials (just don’t call it that).
The “120” here refers to the 120 minutes of cheap drinks between 5 and 7 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday. Ontario beer goes for $4 a bottle and wine for $5 a glass. 96 Tecumseth St.
Gladstone Hotel—Burger Mondays
This summer, the Gladstone hosted the excellently named and sadly departed Crappy Hour. Burger Mondays, as the name implies, involve $4 burgers, $4 bottles of Mill St. and $5 pints, between 5 and 8 p.m. 1214 Queen St. W.
The Drake Hotel—Aprés Work
The linguistic mish-mash of Aprés Work, from 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, reflects the mish-mash of the offerings: $8 cocktails and half-price sushi. 1150 Queen St. W.
Farmhouse Tavern—F*ck Mondays
Farmhouse packs a week’s worth of happy hours into one raucous Sunday night with a new special starting every hour. $1 oysters at 5 p.m.; pints are $6 at 6 p.m.; cocktails are $7 at 7 p.m.; and all open wines are $8 at 8 p.m. Food is half price from 9 to 10 p.m. 1627 Dupont St.
It’s not all about tall cans. Pints are $5 every day between 4 and 8 p.m. 838 Bloor St. W.
Bottles of wine go for half price every Thursday before 10 p.m. 1592 Queen St. W.
Five-dollar pints of Sleeman until 6 p.m. and a different special every weekday. 678 Queen St. W.
The notoriously cheap Annex student dive lives up to its reputation, offering all-day specials every day of the week, such as Beer Bottle Tuesdays (domestics starting at $3.50 up to imports at $5) and two-ounce martinis every Monday for $3.25. 296 Brunswick Ave.
Church Aperitivo Bar—Cinq-à-Sept
Get aperitifs and bottles of Peroni for $5 between 5 and 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday. Appetizers are complimentary. 1090 Queen St. W.
Cinq-à-sept meets la belle époque. La Societé offers $12 glasses of Veuve Clicquot on Tuesdays, $8 Ketel One cocktails and $8 glasses of wine on Wednesdays, and $6 Double Cross Vodka with $1 oysters on Thursdays. 131 Bloor St. W.
Wide Open Bar—Happy Hour
Wide Open’s $2.50-for-anything happy hour on Thursdays between 5 and 8 p.m. might just be good enough to back up their claim that “no one tops this shit in the city.” 139A Spadina Ave.
The Avro—Art and Culture Mondays
Even if you’re not down with the evening’s event (it changes weekly), it’s easy to get into the $4 shots. 750 Queen St. E.
Bucking the cinq-à-sept trend, Globe offers half-price draught beer and glasses of wine between 4 and 6 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. Free corkage on Wednesday makes midweek revelry especially attractive. 124 Danforth Ave.
Pravda Vodka Bar—Happy Hour
Soviet-chic vodka bar Pravda prices martinis at $6.15 from Monday to Friday between 4 and 7 p.m. 44 Wellington St. E.
Trevor Kitchen and Bar—Afterwork
Swill $7 martinis and $5 Flying Monkeys Amber from 4 till 7 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, in this basement restaurant on downtown’s fringe. For the peckish, mini-Kobe-beef burgers and tempura shrimp are both half price. 38 Wellington St. E.
Rakia Bar—Bohemian Mondays
It’s a Serbian bar, but $8 absinthe, plus live jazz and poetry readings, gives Monday a decidedly jazz-age Paris feel. 1402 Queen St. E.
Goods and Provisions—Tacqueria Night
On Mondays between 6 and 11 p.m., Tecate tallboys are $5, to accompany the $20 meal of soup or salad, two tacos and dessert. 1124 Queen St. E.
The Comrade—654 Beer and Bourbon Night
The name comes from the prices: $6 gets you a bourbon sour, $5 gets you premium draught and $4 gets you a shot (of bourbon). On Mondays, from open to close. 758 Queen St. E.
Ascari Enoteca—Industry night
Show up for the half-price bottles on Monday, stay after 9 p.m. for the DJ set. 1111 Queen St. E.
Joy Bistro—Industry night (and day)
You don’t have to work in the hospitality industry to attend. Beer and wine are both $5, and if you make it for Monday brunch, so are the Caesars. 884 Queen St. E.
No stealing required: every Wednesday, this Kensington bar has $5 bar rail drinks, $5 premium pints and $5 dinners. 159 Augusta Ave.
From 8 to 10 p.m., this Dundas hipster warren serves $4 Jameson, $5 Mill St. pints and $5 mixed drinks. 1265 Dundas St. W.
Madison Avenue Pub
Undergrads need a happy hour, too, and the Madison obliges with several. Domestic bottles and rail drinks are $3.50 from 7 p.m. until close every Thursday, and during the day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., rail drinks and domestic pints are only $3.98. 14 Madison Ave.
Prohibition Gastrohouse–Hooch Hour
Queen East’s glam neo-speakeasy prices its draught, house wine and top-shelf rail spirits at $5.09 between 4 and 7 p.m., Monday to Friday. Bonus: Jägermeister is $2.50 all day. 696 Queen St. E.
Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill–Oysterlicious
Grab a dozen East Coast oysters for $15 and add a pint or glass of house wine for $5 more from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. There’s also the Shucker’s Best mix, a dozen bivalves—including some U.K. oysters—for $25. 100 Adelaide St. E.