bars king west

The top 10 bars and pubs on King St. West

Queen is no longer king of the Toronto bar scene. Along with streets like Dundas West and College, King St. is a contender for one of the best stretches of road to drink in this city. From craft beer specialists to secret doorways to ping pong clubhouses, the street is teeming with options to imbibe.

Here are my picks for the top bars and pubs on King St. West.

Escobar
Want to add a little mystery to your night out? Venture to Escobar, the hidden bar through the kitchen and behind the freezer door of King West's Valdez. Between the hidden entrance, "secret" menu of cocktails, and great hip-hop tunes, Escobar keeps the intrigue on high.

Bar Hop
Attention all craft beer lovers! Here you'll find 36 craft beers on tap, two rotating cask selections, and over 100 cans and bottles. You can stick with your local favourite or take a risk and try something totally new.

SPiN
This is Toronto's only ping-pong themed bar. With 12 ping-pong tables and two bars, it's like your coolest friend's basement on steroids. An extensive cocktail menu, an upscale bar food menu, and great music adds a little extra to your hang-out. Make sure to book your table in advance.

Wheat Sheaf
Open since 1849, the Wheat Sheaf is one of Toronto's oldest bars. I'm still not sure about that whole tunnel myth, but this is a great place to watch the game and have a few pints with friends. Take part in a piece of Toronto history.

El Caballito
It's no secret that Toronto is taco crazy, and you can get the real deal at King and Duncan's El Caballito. This is not a restaurant; it's a tequila bar with good cocktails, a huge list of tequila, and "family-style" bottle service. Don't miss the back patio.

Pharmacy
This cozy little Parkdale spot began as the brainchild of Toronto bar legend Chris Harper when he saw a vacant retail pharmacy space and took it over. A great bourbon and scotch list, craft beers, and bar snacks from Woodlot make this a must-visit.

The Citizen
The former Brant House space is where fine dining and bar culture meet on King West. Not only does the place offer food and drink, there are also 16 massive screens to watch the game that somehow fade into the background when nothing is playing.

The Underground Garage
This kitschy dive-bar is a good alternative to the more upscale clubs in the area. Tons of live music, daily drink deals, and an atmosphere that includes bras hanging from the ceiling make this not your average bar. Whit a motto like "If Pearl Jam owned cheers," you're definitely in for an interesting night.

Weslodge
If you haven't had a late night on King West that ended with their deluxe foie-gras poutine, I know what you need to do this weekend. This urban saloon pairs upscale comfort food with great cocktails and a slick decor. Think hunting lodge meets speakeasy. And, yes, it just works.

The Everleigh
"Not quite a nightclub and not just a bar" is the way Everleigh expertly describes itself. Bottle service and nightly events serve the club-goers, but the more laid back atmosphere and plush couches cater to a more bar-oriented crowd.

What did we miss? Add your favourite King St. West bars and pubs to the comments.

Photo of Weslodge by Jesse Milns.


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