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Restaurants

Castro's Lounge

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on May 15, 2013 / review policy

Castros Lounge TorontoCastro's Lounge has been a Beaches mainstay for over 15 years. When the original owner expressed interest in selling a couple years back, it was snapped up by Anthony Greene, who had worked there for eight years prior, along with longtime patron and U of T physiology professor, Stephen Reid.

Castros Lounge TorontoSince taking it over, there have been a number of noteworthy changes. The TVs and generic bar paraphernalia were the first to go. Now framed portraits of historical heroes and villains sprawl over every inch of free space, providing conversational fodder. My imagination, which is already in overdrive, starts romanticizing the atmosphere as the perfect backdrop for intelligentsia to gather and engage in lively political or social debates.

Castros Lounge TorontoThe focus in the kitchen has shifted too. The standard pub grub has been replaced with an entirely vegetarian friendly menu. Starting at 5pm each day there's a menu of mains from which I try the Butter Paneer Burrito ($12). Loaded full of spicy quinoa, Indian cheese curds and what I think is lettuce (though it's too sparse and flavorless to be certain), it packs some real heat making the accompanying sour cream necessary, though I won't say the same for the little paper cup of salsa.

Castros Lounge TorontoMore to my liking is the carb-loaded Aloo Gobi Quesadilla ($12.50) that is plated in towering layers of cumin and chili spiced cauliflower, broccoli and potato before being crowned with a mixture of melted cheeses.

Castros LoungeFor vegans, there is plenty on offer like, the Asian Quinoa Bowl ($13) or Vegetarian Chili ($7).

Castros Lounge TorontoLate at night, the offerings are limited to variations on grilled cheese sandwiches ($5-$9) with six varieties like balsamic onion with gruyere or spinach with avocado and goat cheese on offer.

Castros Lounge TorontoChalkboard menus advertise tequila and bourbon, but above all this is a beer lover's bar. Spoiled for choice, the number of cans and bottles in stock exceeds 100 and there are six draught lines featuring craft brews. More interesting still are the four hand-pumped casks featuring Ontario microbrews like today's offerings that include F&M StoneHammer Oatmeal Coffee Stout and Neustadt Double Fuggle Scotch Ale. The knowledgeable staff can aide with decision making and are well adapt to sharing the finer points of each brew.

Castros Lounge TorontoCastro's Lounge is an unpretentious neighbourhood pub with a genuine laid back vibe. Nightly, the bar hosts live bluegrass, country or rockabilly bands, and, on a monthly basis presents tutored tasting events helmed by local brewers.

Castros Lounge TorontoPhotos of Jesse Milns

Discussion

14 Comments

alan / May 15, 2013 at 09:29 am
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usually i pass this place but now i'll have to stop in...thanks for the review...
Florita / May 15, 2013 at 11:27 am
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This place is awesome! So nice to have a vegetarian place that's not all cafeteria-like or bland. Good live music as well.
smythe / May 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm
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Yay, maybe they won't have loads of underage high school kids hanging out there anymore!
KC Wilson / May 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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The website link you have on this page is incorrect.
Lauren M-S / May 15, 2013 at 01:19 pm
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Love this bar! A staple growing up in the Beaches. Great live music.
Tim replying to a comment from KC Wilson / May 15, 2013 at 02:26 pm
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Thanks for the tip. This has been fixed.
lara / May 15, 2013 at 04:29 pm
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I love this place and make a point to stop in whenever I'm in the area. The staff are all incredibly friendly and their food is amazing...best nachos in the beaches.
Sam I Am / May 15, 2013 at 05:47 pm
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Great little place on the east end. Had a funny night a few summers back where a few of the locals voiced their displeasure for chelsea fc, haha.
Penny Farthing / May 15, 2013 at 09:39 pm
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Noice! Reminds me of Seattle bars
John / May 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm
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WOW that Aloo Gobi Quesadilla looks tasty!
katie / May 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm
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i love this place!!! the live music is amazing and the beer selection is great. don't miss it
Terry / June 29, 2013 at 10:03 am
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I love this place and the food and the music, but I can never find a seat...it doesnt help that a fat dude takes up a giant table by himself in the back...maybe think about reorganizing to fit more and get more turnover..old dudes drinking 1 beer by themselves vs. a table of 4 ???? think about it
sean pigott / January 14, 2014 at 01:40 pm
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I spent so many hours in this bar over the years until management decided that they would allow patrons to bring in their dogs and let them run through the place. This has ruined the place, as far as I am concerned. The same thing has happened to The Only Cafe on the Danforth. Let the yuppies and their hellhounds overrun some other establishment, instead of destroying these ideal drinking spots.
Aim Morris / March 16, 2014 at 03:03 pm
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This is a very pleasant and informal place to meet up with friends for an excellent beer and great live music on late Saturday afternoons. This bar is one of the few remaining gems of a progressive neighbourhood that has been lately severely attacked and threatened with destruction by greedy condo developers. We love to come here and share with our friends the pleasant atmosphere of a great place to spend a wonderful time. If you are in the neighbourhood, don't miss it!

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