FOOD AND DRINK
The Perfect Pour: Eight Great Beer Bars in Toronto
Craft beer has blown up in Toronto over the past few years and, as a result, there’s no shortage of places to sample the local hops and session ales, as well as hard-to-find import and special releases. Here is the definitive list of the best places to soak up the suds.
Between its sparse and impossibly cool interior design and seemingly non-stop special releases of buzz-worthy beers, Bellwoods Brewery tops the lists of mandatory beer bars. This small-batch craft beer haven can be a bit of a tough place to get a table, so hit it early. If you get there by 7, you might even hit the “witching hours,” when pints are discounted. As an added bonus, it’s in a vibrant neighbourhood, perfect to do a little tour and make a night of it.
124 Ossington Avenue, 416-535-4586
One of the first beer bars out of the gate in Toronto, Beerbistro has been going strong for over a decade for good reason: it still has one of the best selections of locals and imports to be found anywhere in the city. Add to this a perfect, central location, duck-fat fries and other great snacks, and a sleek, modern design and it’s clear these guys got it right in the first place.
18 King Street East, 416-861-9872
Located in the charming St. Lawrence Market area, cozy lower-level C’est What is practically a Toronto institution, especially for purists who love all things cask. With its emphasis on local beers and its pioneering experiments in interesting flavours, the bar is perfect for the beer-lover with an adventurous palate.
67 Front Street East, 416-867-9499
Hiding in plain sight in a sea of nightclubs, King West’s Bar Hop is a welcome haven from the crowds and the velvet ropes. It also boasts a beautiful rustic atmosphere, killer tunes, an amazing beer selection, over-flowing bowls of mussels, and a perfectly curated whisky selection for those who want to end their beer adventure with a little brown liquor.
391 King Street West, 647-352-7476
Home to Toronto’s best sausage party, Wvrst, delivers up some of the city’s best pints and bottles in a lean and modern beerhall atmosphere in the heart of the lively King and Portland area. As an added bonus, it’s one of the city’s greatest places to catch a game.
609 King Street West, 416-703-7775
Midtown is lucky to have Bar Volo, a dark, little place with a great patio and a slightly bohemian aesthetic that trumps every other beer bar for its stunning selection of cask-conditioned beers and rare imports. The owners’ obsessive approach to beer has paid off with loyal, congenial regulars that convene in its packed tap room.
587 Yonge Street, 416-928-0008
An outlier for a few different reasons, the understated and slightly far-flung Wise Bar deserves consideration for the traveler who wants to see how the locals live, since the bar caters to die-hard west-end beer lovers who appreciate a small, but perfect selection of craft beers in a quiet, café-like atmosphere.
1007 Bloor Street West, 416-519-3139
The Monarch Tavern
For a little respite from the crowds in Little Italy, duck down Clinton Street and hit the upstairs bar at the laid-back Monarch Tavern for fresh and contemporary beers in an old school atmosphere. The game’s always on and it’s a great place to bend elbows with the regulars and sample local offerings.
12 Clinton Street, 416-531-5833