After spending some time in Vancouver I’ve come to realize how much West Coasters love their beer! It seems every restaurant and bar serves local libations and steer away for the big brands that first put Canada on the beer map. Ever since I’ve returned I’ve paid a bit more attention to the Toronto beer scene, which maybe I was missing out on before because it wasn’t on my radar. Truth is, Toronto is home to some great pubs, patios and microbreweries. Now while we all patiently wait for the warmer weather to arrive, let to beer dreamin’ begin!
Here is my round up on the top 5 spots in the city to grab a beer and a bite.
Best Spot to Sip Craft Brews: The Six Brewing Co.
This spot lives and breathes our beautiful city. The Six Brewing Co. opened its doors at the end of February. Owners, Jeff and Katy met in university and while traveling Europe, they fell in love with Biergartens, something that they noticed Toronto is seriously lacking. Years later they have made their dream a reality by opening their own microbrewery and restaurant. Serving up 8 types of beer which pair well with fan favourites, the calamari, mussels and a good old fashioned house ground burger. The atmosphere is laid back yet still polished, much like Toronto. All beer is brewed on site, ensuring the freshest taste. Pop by the bottle shop to grab some growlers to go, or stay all night. They look forward to opening a 50 person patio, when this weather decides to cooperate.
Best Spot for Post Work Pints: Walrus Pub & Beer Hall
Located in the heart of the Financial District, Walrus Pub and & Beer Hall proudly opened their doors to their suit-clad patrons in early March. This Donnelly Group establishment offers 20 draught beers (mostly local) with some West Coast nods which pair well with their signature dishes, tuna sashimi bowl and sesame avocado slaw. This pub quickly became the go-to happy hour spot to the finance crowd. Those who are familiar with their sister pubs, Belfast Love and Death and Taxes can expect a slightly more upscale vibe but same great quality.
- Best Spot to Catch Playoffs: Wayne Gretzkys
- Now that the Raptors and Leafs have clutched playoffs spots, Toronto has been buzzing with excitement. Those that don’t score tickets to the ACC usually line up to watch the game from Maple Leafs Square (or Jurassic Park). While that may appeal to some die hards, the thought of standing shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers triggers instant anxiety for me. Wayne Gretzky’s is one of my go-to spots as it shows every game and offers beer and wing specials from puck drop and first whistle til the end of game buzzers. This local watering hole is peppered with Wayne’s personal memorabilia, from his first pair of skates to his Oilers rookie jersey. Brand new HDTVs and lighting further elevate the playoff experience. They recently launched a new menu which includes Great-Big Macfries (yes please) and Mom’s Grilled Cheese. Stay tuned as Oasis patio is set to open its doors and welcome Blue Jays fans come June.
Best Patio Views: Amsterdam BrewHouse
You’ve likely wandered past Amsterdam BrewHouse while taking a stroll along the waterfront. This patio is one of my favourites on a clear day. Crisp beers can be enjoyed while taking in views of the Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands (for no extra charge). The name pays homage to the founder’s homeland, Holland, though the food is not Dutch at all. Buffalo cauliflower bites and wood fire pizzas are menu staples. Amsterdam has 14 taps including 4 rotating small batch or adventure brews. This venue is also one of the largest in the city, holding 1,000 people, great for big events. Add it to your list for summertime sipping, it’s worth it I promise!
Best Local Escape: The Ceili Cottage
I have a feeling the Leslieville locals won’t appreciate me sharing this hidden gem. The interior of this gaelic pub looks like it was plucked off the a street corner in Dublin and dropped in Leslieville. One section of the pub dates back to the 1880s, with exposed brick, wooden beams and church pews still in tact. Fresh oysters, and classic pub favourites can be enjoyed along with Irish and Canadian beers. You will feel as if you’ve taken a trip outside our concrete jungle when you arrive, a nice getaway spot to enjoy a pint and a bite.