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Top 5 Beer Bars in Toronto

Top 5 Beer Bars in Toronto

When you’re visiting a city like Toronto, why not act like a beer snob? Home to numerous local breweries, hip after work hangouts and upscale pubs with enviable craft beer lists, Toronto, Canada is like heaven for suds lovers. Whether you want to pair some rare and fabulous cask ales with a late-night gourmet snack, or sip a frosty mug of hometown brew while enjoying the best live music around, the following bars are known for their impressive local, national and imported beer lists and lively atmospheres.

The Monarch Tavern

After 87 years in business, there’s a reason that The Monarch Tavern is still a favorite of new and returning customers alike. Established in 1927, The Monarch Tavern has more recently begun highlighting Ontario brewers with most of the 16 specialty draught beers coming from Great Lakes, Side Launch, Left Field and other local purveyors. If a hefty beer selection isn’t enough to get your excited, visitors can also order Baju BBQ by the pound. Pair a pint of Great Lakes Citradiction with a half-pound serving of juicy pulled pork dripping in Baju spicy BBQ sauce, crispy mac n’ cheese bites and cornbread. This is the new Hungry Man – no microwave necessary.

C’est What?

With eight cask ales to choose from at any given time, C’est What? is a must-visit for those who seek an elusive brew. This charming St. Lawrence Market area haunt also features 42 craft beers on tap, a unique menu of scratch-made comfort food and live music or comedy most nights of the week. Whether you reside in one of Toronto’s many luxury buildings or you’re a student with a few bucks to spare until pay day, C’est What delivers on all fronts.

Granite Brewery

If it’s an award-winning beer you want, you’ve come to the right place. Granite's Hopping Mad has come out on top in the cask-conditioned ale category at the Ontario Golden Tap Awards for four years running. Pair their handmade arriabiata pizza with a Granite Mild dark ale, or enjoy the Gin Lane Ale barley wine as a nightcap, which is sure to pack a punch at 9.0% alcohol content. Be sure to swing by the on-site beer store to pick up some growlers to go, or reserve a keg for your next party.

Mill St. Brew Pub and Brew Hall

With the 2013 addition of the new beer hall comes a wider array of seasonal offerings and daring craft varieties at the German-inspired Mill St. Brew Pub. Celebrate the cooler season with hearty brews like the E.S.B. which boasts a malty body with undertones of chocolate and black currants or Mill Street’s own Winter’s Ale which blends German noble hops with traditional Christmas baking spices and locally sourced honey for a rich taste that’s all nice. If it’s naughty that you want, order a shot of their housemade bierschnapps, a German spirit distilled from different beers in their micro-brewery.

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Top 5 Toronto Bars to See Live Music

Top 5 Toronto Bars to See Live Music

When visiting Canada, you probably consider checking out things like a Maple Leaf hockey game, the world famous St. Lawrence Market or a restaurant with “claim to fame” Poutine. While those are all valid, and potentially tasty, options, were you aware that Toronto is considered one of the best places in the Western Hemisphere to experience live music? Popular acts like Feist, Drake and Broken Social Scene are some solid indicators that Toronto has a powerhouse music scene, but that’s really just scratching the surface.

Major arenas, famous music halls and high-end dance clubs are all accessible, but sometimes the best places to find live music are the underground, less known bars that only the locals know and love. Lucky for you, those are the people we decided to call.

The Dakota Tavern

Recently voted the “Best Blues Bar” in town, The Dakota Tavern features concerts and album release parties spanning a wide range of genres from artists both locally and out of town. Music lovers that also share a penchant for day drinking can check out their weekly Bluegrass Brunch which features live music, food and cocktails from 10 AM – 2 PM every Saturday and Sunday.

The Horse Shoe Tavern

Established in 1947 as a bar and live music venue originally named the “Country Roots N Rockabilly Music Tavern”, the 87-seat-saloon quickly grew into one of Toronto’s most legendary spots to see live music. During the 60s, The Horse Shoe Tavern morphed into a closer version of what it’s known for today, hosting both independent and established acts like The Rolling Stones, Etta James and the Talking Heads. Nowadays you can catch acts like up and coming rockers the Allah-Lahs, or alternative mainstays The Hold Steady, tearing up concert floor which can hold around 400 enthusiastic fans (beware of flying arms).

Resevoir Lounge

If jazz and swing float your boat, then you absolutely must make a pit stop at the Resevoir Lounge during your tour of Toronto music hotspots. Four nights a week and once on weekends, this swinging venue hosts the city’s top house bands. Stop in and enjoy homemade tapas, pizzas and signature cocktails, all of which have helped make Resevoir Lounge one of the most sought after nightclubs in the city. Staff and regulars claim that Prince came in one night and drank Chablis through a straw. I believe it.

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Top Five Bars For Day Drinking in Toronto

Top Five Bars For Day Drinking in Toronto

Common wisdom may dictate that cocktails are best served once the sun sets, but sometimes there's nothing that tempers the long summer days and rising temperature like a cool cocktail. While, for a lucky few, drinking at home doesn't have to be a downer, like the residents of Garrison Point, who can bask in the sunshine, drink in hand, in of the complex's meticulously landscaped green spaces, for others, bars are the best bet for a mid-afternoon tipple. We've rounded up the best bars to enjoy an afternoon adult beverage in Toronto, saving you the hassle of wandering the streets with a parched throat. Salut!
 
Bar Hop: King Street's cozy Barhop is just the kind of judgment-free place that's perfect to enjoy a beer before night falls. Opening at noon, this gastropub offers a wide variety of craft beers on tap, in addition to large-format bottles. For those with a diet-conscious drinking style, there's even a menu of gluten-free beers and ciders.
 
The Queen and Beaver Public House: Located in the center of downtown, this British-themed pub serves up both tasty English classics, like shepherd's pie, fish and chips, scotch eggs, and sticky toffee pudding, and a wide variety of pints to complement your meal. With a cute, quirky interior and plenty of outdoor seating, Queen and Beaver is an ideal spot to pass an afternoon.
 
Northwood: Ask any Bickford Park native what their favorite bar is and you'll invariably get one response: Bickford. With a short menu of small plates and a long list of cocktails — the bitters for which are made in-house — you're as likely to find this place full of folks on their laptops, cocktail in hand, at midday as you are to find it full at night.
 
Beerbistro: For those in search of the perfect pale ale or porter, look no further than King Street's Beerbistro. This gastropub is a beer geek's dream, serving up eighteen craft beers and ciders on tap, in addition to a large menu of bottled beverages. If the thought of day drinking leaves your stomach churning, never fear — there's also a menu of hearty fare, from shortrib pizza to cheese fondue, to help absorb the alcohol.
 
The Library Bar: There are few places in the world where you can have a few daytime drinks and still honestly insist to your boss or significant other that you spent the entire afternoon at the library — but The Library Bar is one. Located in the Fairmont Royal York hotel, this elegant evokes a bygone era when food was still served on fine china and drinks were had during the day. Whether your beverage of choice is a cup of tea or one of the bar's many whiskey selections, it's easy to feel right at home in this creative and cozy bar.

Whether you're enjoying a spirited Saturday with pals or just looking for a glass of mid-day rosé to make your work go by a bit quicker, Toronto is replete with bars that open early and won't give a second thought to your afternoon pint.

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The Top 5 Places to Play Pool in Toronto

The Top 5 Places to Play Pool in Toronto

There's nothing like the satisfying sound of a pool cue sending a rack of balls across the felted surface of a billiards table, and perhaps no town is more accustomed to the pool hall's melody than Toronto. The Canadian city is quickly becoming a billiards mecca, with new nightlife devoted to the classic game popping up all over, to the delight newbies and established enthusiasts alike. If you're looking to polish your pool skills, hustle over to these hotspots and get in the game.

VIP Lounge and Billiards Club

If you're looking for a pool hall that takes the sport seriously, look no further than Yonge Street's VIP. This pool player's haven boasts a staggering 19 billiards tables, in addition to a full menu and bar, for those who might feel like drowning their sorrows after a particularly competitive match.

New Times Square Billiards

While it may be lacking the glitz of its New York City namesake, this affordable Ryerson billiards club makes no apologies for putting pool first. After rubbing elbows with some of Toronto's most serious pool players in this hallowed hall, you may just find your skill level skyrocketing.

The Charlotte Room

Nestled in the heart of the entertainment district, The Charlotte Room caters equally to billiards buffs and those looking for a low-key lounge experience. Although table space may be limited, the ample selection of beer, wine, and cocktails provides a welcome distraction while you wait.

The Raq

With a name like The Raq, you know that this place means business when it comes to pool. Conveniently located in the Niagara neighborhood, The Raq has all of the elements necessary for a successful night out: beautiful guests, a full bar, and a cozy, stylish billiards room that will make even novice players feel like pros.

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The Top Five Karaoke Bars in Toronto

The Top Five Karaoke Bars in Toronto

For those lacking social anxiety and packing a solid set of pipes, there's no more exhilarating activity than letting loose at a karaoke bar. For those living in Toronto, the city is thankfully replete with places where you can let your hair down and get in touch with your crooner. Whether you're singing Loretta Lynn or Ludacris, these karaoke destinations will make even the most timid patron feel like a rock star.

Downtown Echo Karaoke Box

This Chinatown hotspot, known for its happy hour specials, will delight karaoke newcomers and veterans alike with its private rooms, meaning you can belt your heart out without fear of scaring off the other patrons.

Bar + Karaoke Lounge

Centrally located on Yonge Street in the heart of the Ryerson neighborhood, this bar wins high marks for its wide selection of songs. Even better? Instead of lugging around an enormous book to browse the song selection, guests can check them out even before arriving via the bar's app.  

Freezone Karaoke

This Bloor Street haunt may not be the most high-tech karaoke bar, with its old school microphones and dated décor, but they offer up something you won't find anywhere else: tambourines in every room, to make even the karaoke novice feel like they're part of the band.

Ten23

If karaoke isn't so much an afterthought, tacked onto the end of a night at other bars, rather than a destination in and of itself, then Ten23 is a perfect place to spend your evening. With an elegant and extensive menu and private rooms, Ten23 is a great choice for special occasions, be they birthdays or bachelor parties.

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After Work Bars in Toronto

After Work Bars in Toronto

If you and your co-workers are looking for some low-key, casual and unexpected joints to grab some drinks in after work, there are a wealth of options around ever-developing Toronto. Thanks to new developments in College Park—like the Yonge at College Condominiums —there is now a healthy mix of laid-back, old-school bars and shiny, new modern hangouts. Regardless of your tastes and mood, there’s something to suit everyone in and around this up-and-coming district.

Spirit House

You might wear a suit and be all business during the day, but if you're hiding an indie side behind all that office attire, the stereo at Sprit House is definitely going to be your friend—as is the magnificent 'Happy Hour and a Half'. Tuesday through Friday, from 5:30pm until 7pm, there are $2 oysters on offer, as well as some very generous $7 doubles. What’s more, this super-hip little joint is where students from the Toronto Institute of Bartending get their training, so to say it's a well-stocked bar would be an understatement. These guys have every spirit you can think of and more.

A. C. Ranch Café

If you’re a Europhile, looking to catch a soccer game after work, this laid-back Little Italy bar and eatery has you covered, with televisions regularly tuned to sports channels (the World Cup is an especially good time to come here and soak up the atmosphere). The bar staff is very accommodating, there's free Wi-Fi for all you workaholics, and for those of you who aren’t in the mood to imbibe alcohol, there’s some fantastic espresso on offer too. This family-owned place has been open for 45 years now, which speaks volumes about the always-jovial atmosphere and built-in community spirit.

BarVolo

With $5 pints and an enormous, ever-rotating selection of fine taps and casks, BarVolo is a craft beer-lover’s dream. With a rustic décor, friendly clientele, knowledgeable staff and delectable menu of beautifully-prepared snacks, shared plates and meals, Bar Volo is the perfect place to unwind and fill up after a stressful day. Why not invite some friends and co-workers to hit the patio at this intimate bar and brewpub next time the sun is shining? None of them will be disappointed.

Barhop

With 36 beers on tap and another 100 in cans or bottles, there’s an ale to suit everyone in this chic, but relaxed little bar—including a wealth of local microbrews. Mondays and Tuesdays are the best days to head in after work, thanks to the snack specials—you can get two pounds of mussels and a basket of frites to share, for just $9.95 on Monday, and Tuesday features $1 clams. A high-quality, but low-stress gem.

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Best Whisky Bars in Toronto

Best Whisky Bars in Toronto

Toronto has a history very closely tied to whisky. A big part of Torontonians have their roots either in Scotland or Ireland, the motherlands of whisky. However, it’s not only Irish and Scotch brands that we can enjoy in many Torontonian whisky bars. Canadian whisky is featured prominently, and holds a well-deserved spot on their menus.

Canadian whisky boasts a fascinating history, especially when we look back to the rum-running days between Canada and the U.S. during prohibition. Hiram Walker’s distillery in Windsor, Ontario, directly across the Detroit River from Detroit, Michigan, easily served bootleggers. Nowadays, we can enjoy a glass of the finest whisky brands and celebrate this tradition in one of these amazing whisky bars in Toronto.

The Feathers Pub & Single Malt Bar

The Feathers has a great British vibe to it. The interior looks like it’s been teleported right from the middle of London — and not just the interior. If you have family in England, the menu will look very familiar. Although the meals here are mostly not very healthy, the management's obviously trying to balance out the menu with some of the items on their daily menu that can catch the eye of more vegetable-loving customers as well.

The bar is a whisky haven. With live music in the background and 400 single malts on the menu, the Feathers offers a very cozy atmosphere to enjoy your glass of premium whisky. The best-value whisky they have to offer is definitely their house Signatory bottling Islay Cask Strength. If you're a fan of the highest-quality whisky, you'll be very pleased with their menu as well. The owner of the bar is really doing a great job getting his hands on some very rare stuff you can’t come across that easily. If you're a hardcore whisky fan, you should check the Feathers' special whisky collection bottle openings.

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