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!