the pilot toronto

The Pilot

The Pilot is a multi-level bar with nigh on a hundred years history. Back in the day artists, writers and musicians hung out at the spot that still regularly features live music, but nowadays it’s more home to area 9-to-5ers and huge groups of students who take refuge on their huge rooftop patio.

Named in homage to WWII fighter pilots, the original Pilot Grill opened on Yonge Street in 1944 and legend has it that regulars picked up and moved the bar themselves to its present day location.

Pilot Toronto

The first floor is more of a dim barfly hangout, but it’s brightened up by monthly local art showcases, has tons of space and huge TVs, and holds a lot of the history here in plaques along the bar with names of old regulars.

Pilot Toronto

The Flight Deck rooftop bar is what gets folks slogging up flight after flight of stairs, which they try to keep open until Christmas and get up and running again by St. Paddy’s, with a remote control retractable covering, fans, and heating.

Pilot Toronto

Baked mac n’ cheese ($14.25) tosses pasta shells in a garlic bechamel sauce and beefs up the pub fave with scallions, diced tomato, and most importantly, bacon.

Pilot Toronto

A thick layer of stretchy cheddar and mozzarella encrusts the top.

Pilot TorontoTandoori chicken satay ($11.95) are a simple BBQ nibble of tandoori marinated chicken skewers accompanied by tzatziki, veggie sticks and mini flatbreads.

Pilot Toronto

Pulled pork tacos (2 for $12.25) are again no overly complicated epic plate, but the soft tacos have been toasted slightly and a crisp apple slaw freshens up the BBQ pork, all with a sriracha dressing.

Pilot Toronto

A hummus and tztaziki platter ($10.95) is no different from your average supermarket veggie platter, but it’s a crowd pleaser especially with girls who are strictly into light eats.

Pilot Toronto

$35 white wine sangria pitchers are made with triple sec, peach schnapps, brandy, lemonade, and ginger for a lethally sweet punch that’s prettily accented with blueberries and thick slices of orange and grapefruit.

Pilot Toronto

Mojitos ($10) are made with Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos rum, mint, lime, and soda for an herby and crushable take on the classic.

Pilot TorontoA second floor space is cut out for private parties, and free live jazz takes place here every Saturday. A staff of fifty is capable of handling events booked for pretty much anywhere within the space.

Pilot TorontoThe place is still co-owned by a group of friends who started drinking here during their Jarvis Collegiate days, Al Stuart, Chuck Higgins, Steve Conover, Ted Gruetzner, and Arthur Potts. The way they describe The Pilot after all these years? “Just a bar, the way a bar’s meant to be.”

Pilot Toronto

Photos by

Jesse Milns


The Pilot

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