Paul Henman beer,toronto Toronto’s top 20 beer bars

Toronto’s top 20 beer bars

A couple of friends asked if I’d seen the latest NOW magazine, and more specifically the cover story “T.O.’s top 20 beer bars“. [OK, it took me so long to write this that it’s no longer the current edition!]

So here’s my take on their list (*=my favourites) and a map of their locations:

  • *Bar Volo: always excellent beer and great food; frequent beer festivals which are always packed!
  • *Beerbistro: wide selection of bottled beer as well as a good selection on tap; there’s beer in everything on the menu (try the ice cream!) so you can’t go wrong!
  • Allen’s: better known for its scotch selection, it does have a large (beer) bottle range too; personally I prefer the more relaxed feel of Dora Keogh next door – they share the kitchen and beer selections, but I find Allen’s to be more food-focused.
  • The Feathers: I’ve not been in a while but it was a friendly bar; don’t recall the beer selection being huge though.
  • Ciro’s House of Imported Bier: Never been – looks pretty rough from the outside.
  • *C’est What: great choice of beers on tap; food’s good too; pretty accommodating of large groups too.
  • *Bier Markt: NOW lists the 600 King West location, and I have to agree it’s better than the one on Esplanade; both have a good bottle selection.
  • Burger Bar: never been because I didn’t realise it had decent beer! Sounds like it’s worth checking out.
  • Castro’s Lounge: I’ve not been in a while but I recall it had some good beer on tap and in bottles; bit of an odd location (sandwiched between shops) but worth a visit.
  • Embassy: never heard of it; it sounds a bit trendy but I’ll have to try it out when I’m checking out Burger Bar nearby.
  • *The Monk’s Table: I used to work just up the street when it was called The Abbott On The Hill, but I’ve been back a few times since and it’s still got some interesting/unusual beers on tap.
  • Cloak and Dagger: great selection of beer; if I was in the area more often I’m sure this would be flagged as a favourite.
  • Sarah’s Café and Bar: small bar with a small selection, but a nice place … and quite convenient for me 🙂
  • The Rebel House: great little pub with an interesting history; good beer selection; interesting food menu.
  • The Only Cafe: always struck me as an odd little place with a tiny patio, but some interesting beers on tap.
  • The Rhino: large bottle list but somehow it always takes three tries to find something that’s in stock!
  • Stout Irish Pub: I planned a photo walk which ended here but had to drop out half way so I’ve still not been but I hear it’s good!
  • West 50 Pourhouse and Grille: Errr, it’s in Mississauga, so not really a Toronto bar at all.
  • *The Victory Café: Apparently it changed hands recently but the beer is just as good as ever.
  • Magpie Taproom: Another on the “never heard of it” list! I really need to fix this and visit them all!

Missing from the list?

  • *The Queen and Beaver: the most authentically English of all the English bars in Toronto – not a large selection of beer but Wellington on cask is always great; dinner menu is interesting at times 🙂
  • Village Idiot Pub: good range on tap; right around the corner is Sin & Redemption which I keep forgetting to visit!

2 thoughts on “Toronto’s top 20 beer bars”

  1. Ciro’s looks rough both inside as well as outside, but it’s always had great staff, service, and local colour for every visit I’ve had.

    It’s definitely on my recommended list, but I do take care to dress myself to fit in and behave like I belong.

  2. I can add Sin & Redemption and Burger Bar to the list of pubs that I’ve visited. S&R has the same beer & food menus as the Village Idiot. I didn’t try the food at the Burger Bar but the beer was great 🙂

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