The Annex is a neighbourhood in the northwest part of the true downtown Toronto. It is bordered to the south by Harbour Street, to the west by Bathurst St, to the east by Avenue Rd. and to the north by Davenport Rd. Since it borders the University of Toronto, this area has long been known as the student quarter being home to a lot of fraternity housing and the university’s faculty. Overall, it is an affluent neighbourhood with well educated residents and a permanent population of around 15,000 (according to the 2006 Canadian census)

The Annex is mainly residential with many one way streets lined with Victorian and Edwardian mansions built between the 1800 and early 1900′s. This neighbourhood is home to a truly unique style of home that was popular among the city’s elite around the late 19th century. This architectural style is know as the “Annex style” and typically features large Romanesque arches along with decorative turrets. Built for the wealthy, these homes are also quite large and have been since subdivided into apartments.

If you’re in the neighbourhood and need to stop for a drink or some food, try these places:

Guu Sakabar - 559 Bloor Street West
If you’re up for an adventure and innovative culinary experience, then this is the place for you. Designed to reflect the sake pubs of Japan, this locale is loud, fun and intoxicating for all the senses. The food is delicious and comes in small sharing portions. The beers are large and cheap and they have a surprising amount of sakes to order from. guu-izakaya.com/sakabar

Paupers Pub - 539 Bloor Street West
If you’re looking for a cheap beer in the Annex, Paupers Pub is certainly the place for that (especially during the week). The food is definitely mediocre and the staff is generally pretty rude so don’t expect too much from them. But beer is still yummy so if that’s your main goal, go there. www.pauperspub.com/

Country Style Hungarian Restaurant - 450 Bloor St West
With its tiny storefront located right beside a futon shop on the north side of Bloor, this restaurant can be easily missed. However, it’s definitely worth checking out. Great food, home cooked, no pretenses and huge portions. The locale isn’t modern under any circumstances but it almost makes you feel as if you’re in your grandma’s kitchen and she’s trying to fatten you up. The staff is also very friendly and the food quite affordable. (Sorry, no website for them)

Fanny Chadwicks - 268 Howland Ave
Located just off the beaten path, this restaurant is a true gem. Great local fare, seasonal and always cooked to perfection. They have a few staples (generally comfort food) that remain on the menu but the rest changes quite often. A great selection of interesting beers on tap, cool cocktails and wines and amazing service make this restaurant a definite win in the Annex. fannychadwicks.com/

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