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Bistro 422

Photo: Chris Robinson

Posted by Stephen M. Baldwin / July 12, 2010

Bistro 422 is a College and Bathurst Streets dive that many know of but few remember. Some details that will refresh your memory, though, might be; mixed drink pitchers, a full-page shooter list, a decent food selection and the random compilation of music that is a lot of fun after all of the above.

Like a few other spots in the immediate area (Toby's, Sneaky Dee's), Bistro 422 - or the beast, as many call it - is a cheap, laid back spot for late night food and drink.

The crowd includes an eclectic mix of patrons that vary in age and intention, but students/former students and young locals are the norm. The older crowd is looking for cheap drinks and a bite to enjoy with other locals, or watching sports on one of three big screens. For the younger crowd, Bistro functions as a jump-off point, a Bar-hop stop or just a place to wind down.

This is one of the cheapest spots on College. $9.73 buys you a pitcher of local on-tap beers like Amsterdam Blonde, Steamwhistle, Amsterdam brewery's Two Fisted Stout and their popular house lager. $11.51 gets you a 32 oz. Mixed drink mini pitcher that includes all standard mixes. I try the killer Kool-Aid cocktail (vodka and melon liqueur), and it tastes like a liquefied Jello shot. You can get the same pitchers filled with sangria mixes, pina colada or strawberry daiquiri, for a similar price.

Out back is a quiet, open patio surrounded by trees. The decor is run down, but if the weather is right, it's a nice spot to be. It's also heated in the winter. In between bar and patio is a pair of fairly raunchy, but thankfully private, bathrooms.

Though the experience here isn't incredibly memorable, there's something about this place that has made it a local favourite - it's exactly what's expected. Besides that, there is always a friendly crowd, and awesome bartenders (some who have worked there for nearly 20 years). If you spend too much time there, though, you probably won't make it up the entrance stairs.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Amsterdam Blonde, Steamwhistle, Double Fisted, House Lager
Signature Drink:
House lager
Bar Snacks:
Patio:
Yes
Music/Genre:
Live Music:
No
Who Goes There:
Students, early 20 somethings and older locals
Hours:
4pm - 2am daily

Discussion

31 Comments

dolce / July 13, 2010 at 10:57 AM
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You forgot to mention that Bistro 422 also has the douchiest management in probably all of Toronto.

You wanna get treated like a huge asshole for just asking for a fork or a cup?
Visit Bistro!

dolce / July 13, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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Also, "decent food selection"...? Uhhh?

AmH / July 13, 2010 at 11:12 AM
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And do not drink the "home brew"...it will mess you up.

Brock / July 13, 2010 at 11:17 AM
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The service is indeed shitty but you don't go there for good service. Part of the beasts charm is the cunty barmen if you can't take it then go somewhere else.

anonymouse / July 13, 2010 at 11:22 AM
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I swear this happened! One time, I came to Bistro and Berger was in drag. But still a jerk.

Jimmy #2 / July 13, 2010 at 11:35 AM
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Where in Kensington Market is this bar located?

carli manuel In replying to a comment from Brock / July 13, 2010 at 11:59 AM
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lol, settle down you pretentious douche.

Jess In replying to a comment from dolce / July 13, 2010 at 12:04 PM
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i don't know what your situation is but like most places i go to, i was polite and they were polite right back

Brittney / July 13, 2010 at 12:20 PM
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first, is this actually the first review of bistro on blog to? i've been going to this dive since before i could legally drink.
the pitchers of mixed drinks are absolutely key for pre-drinking/saving money. and i will admit, the veggie burger they have there is one of the best i've ever had.

but the staff is douchey; what else do you expect from a group of snappy old gay men? and what the hell do you expect from a dive? drink for cheap and stop complaining.

AV / July 13, 2010 at 1:45 PM
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Think i'll file this one under "places I wouldn't be caught dead in". A 6 pack of Bavaria tallboys is 11.50$ @ the LCBO. I'd rather pound those travelers on a st. corner then go to this s#!thole

Michelle / July 13, 2010 at 3:25 PM
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It smells like ground beef here sometimes. But whatever, right? The beer is cheap.

Jean Chr├ętien / July 13, 2010 at 3:33 PM
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man, i can't count the number of times i've hung out with friends and half of us wanted to go out for a cheap beer and get wasted and the other half wanted to go buy sweatshirts. now we can do both at the same time!!! friends!

John / July 13, 2010 at 3:48 PM
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The bar guys aren't rude, they're just surly old punk holdovers from the 70s. Which is awesome. As is Bistro. Bistro forever.

SML / July 13, 2010 at 6:09 PM
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Their house brew tastes like mold. Other than that, its a great place!

Huk / July 13, 2010 at 8:21 PM
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Do they still serve beer to minors here?

Gord / July 14, 2010 at 8:47 AM
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Berger has been a pissed off drag queen since at least 1995. Everyone 30+ will remember him screaming, "GET YER TICKETS RRREADY!!" on Thursdays in his rhaspy, rotten voice. Then he'd get mad at the winner but prize night was his idea in the first place.

I remember the crust punk era when they'd fill that place and get loaded before shows at the El Mo. Now it's all U of T and art loners on cellphones.

I've got some great memories from that filthy shithole.

great shithole / July 14, 2010 at 1:13 PM
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It's a fantastic shithole, drinks are dirt cheap, lots of great memories being an 'art loner' there when I was a student. Any of you want to criticize this dive bar for being a dive bar? Go to Yorkville then, enjoy your $180 bar tab and STFU.

feckoffwillya / July 14, 2010 at 1:19 PM
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bistro 422 is the worst bar in toronto. horrible.
Trying to tell us otherwise is unsettling to me.

feckoffwillya / July 14, 2010 at 1:26 PM
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right on AV

a regular / July 15, 2010 at 2:16 AM
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if you can't handle it, you're probably not wanted there.

Donahue / July 15, 2010 at 9:13 AM
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The more people hate this place and don't there the better. I love those guys and I love this place. The tap beer is disgusting, the bathrooms are passable, but the patio is great and the atmosphere is unlike anything else in this city. Don't go there; I want a table.

Khalid / August 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM
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the BEAST!

Rober / August 3, 2010 at 8:13 AM
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422 is hardly the worst bar in Toronto. I've been to bars in Kensington that were worse with crappier service and meaner staff/patrons. Yeah, it's a dingy dive but smelly,hot,and sweaty is the price you pay for cheap beer. It's the ONLY place you can get a pitcher of booze for so cheap. A great place to start your evening of club/bar hopping. The servers are surly old effeminate queens who quickly lighten up as soon as you leave a good tip and a nice word. Try not to be cheap losers and you'll get better treatment next time you go.

Erika / April 12, 2011 at 11:00 PM
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Personally, I've always had good experiences at this dive. The guys there have always been super nice and while their bathrooms are dingy (hey, they have character!) their food is pretty good and their beer is good and cheap! I couldn't ask for more!

scurnyberny / April 18, 2011 at 7:39 PM
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The BEAST fuckin rules period!!!!!! If you can't appreciate what this bar represents then #1 go to yorkdale you yuppy cunts and #2 your not fucking welcome here, so pull your bottom lip up over your forehead and take a real deep swallow!

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Taylor / August 9, 2012 at 9:46 PM
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How much would shots be at 422?

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M / October 17, 2013 at 7:48 PM
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No no, Bistro is terrible. Don't go there. It's all horrible and stuff. I'm sure there's much better bars in Kensington Market. Who'd want to go to Bistro with their artex walls and beer. It's probably best to stay away from it please, this environment is not conducive to your bullshit.

Rob In replying to a comment from John / April 2, 2014 at 11:11 PM
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Clearly the greatest bar with the coolest staff!

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