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Mill Street Beer Hall

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on May 6, 2013 / review policy

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoThe Mill Street Beer Hall is now open around the corner from the original Brew Pub in the Distillery District. It's welcome news for anyone who's ever tried to get a table in the historic quarter. The new space will add a whopping 565 seats to the area once the patio is complete.

Inside feels a little more upscale than the origina Brew Pub, but echos the handsome aesthetics in an even more polished fashion. There's plenty of exposed brick, concrete and copper beer lines, as well as industrial furnishings warmed up with long wood tables and punctuated by vibrant red flourishes.

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoIn the open kitchen, I recognize Chef Elisabeth Rivasplata of Top Chef Canada fame and former Executive Chef at the AGO's Frank. Here she oversees the kitchen and works in conjunction with Head Brew Master, Joel Manning to offer a menu designed to pair with exclusive Mill Street offerings. The focus here (as evidenced by stacks of side plates on each table) is communal dining. While in many new restaurants this translates to eating alongside strangers, here, it means that big parties can be easily accommodated and passing plates around the table is encouraged.

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoThe Charcuterie Board ($23) is possibly the menu's show stopper. It's rustic and hearty and demands unrestrained cooperation from multiple willing parties to finish. It features plump smoked Bratwurst and a glistening Frenched pork shank that literally falls of the bone into a pile of supple flaky meat and best of all, glazed slabs of pork belly rendered down to a caramel-meets-meat kind of finish. With the accompanying soft warm pretzel, candied apples, turnip sauerkraut and seedy mustard it's an impressive spread that generates soft coos from my company as it's picked through.

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoFor those who don't do pork, I'd say try the Braised Short Ribs ($29) instead. They come painted with a house-brewed root beer glaze that's sticky and sweet, and, brightened up by a side of kale and apple salad dressed in buttermilk ranch.

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoOn the lighter side there is a Roasted Beet Carpaccio ($15), a finely sliced salad composed of a varied beets, fresh burrata cheese, sugar snap peas, basil sprouts, pine nuts and a beer reduction. It's seriously good, too.

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoBehind the bar is the full Mill St. lineup, as well as bottled brews, cans and root beer. The coming weeks will also see the introduction of something new to Toronto; Beer Schnapps, a clear spirit grade liquor (with an alcohol content of 45%-55%) that retains the floral notes and flavours of hops and will be served in tiny, chilled frosted steins. I ask if it will lend itself to being blended cocktails and am told that in Germany it's traditionally served as a shot with an accompanying beer chaser. Sake aside, this marks the first time that the Distillery District has actually distilled spirits in over two decades. It should be available by the end of May at the pub and in the store to take home.

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoI can hardly think of dessert by the time the spread at my table is obliterated but manage to sample today's Beer Ice Cream Sandwich ($7) featuring thin vanilla wafers delicately sandwiching mini scoops of strawberry rhubarb Frambozen ice cream. On other days the flavour combinations vary, with maple bacon Coffee Porter ice cream and a peanut butter Frambozen ice cream also in rotation.

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoHaving only been open a month, there are still some finishing touches to look forward to. I've already vowed to come back to try the Schnapps and am looking forward to the completion of the massive patio with multiple fireplaces and an outdoor bar. Brunch might happen too sometime this summer and residents and neighbouring businesses should take note that they're entitled to a 10% discount to share with friends and family.

Mill Street Beer Hall TorontoPhotos by Morris Lum



KP / May 6, 2013 at 10:17 am
Great staff. Great Atmos. Great Beer!
Brian / May 6, 2013 at 11:27 am
Collin Ng / May 6, 2013 at 11:32 am
dang. sounds expensive.
Sean / May 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm
$30 for a main course is expensive?

Have you people never been to a decent restaurant before?
Mikey replying to a comment from Collin Ng / May 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm
It does sound kind of pricey, but if it's as good as it sounds in the description it MIIGHHTT be worth it.
P replying to a comment from Sean / May 6, 2013 at 06:59 pm
There are plenty of great places to eat in the city where you do not have to spend $30 on an entree, although I agree, in comparison to many other cities, that really isn't all THAT expensive.

I do think the menu is a little overpriced though - it's a beer hall - I think casual / fun / share plates etc but I guess they've gone for a different approach.

I was having some drinks at the older Mill St Pub the other day and wasn't overly impressed by the bar staff. Noticed them using the drip cups to top up people's drink orders, which seems a bit unnecessary to me. Also, I never like it when the barman has to use a spoon to remove head from a pint - just pour it properly in the first place and this will eliminate the need for this. I'm not a huge fan of the headset wearing crew either. Chill out, guys. This isn't a top secret CIA operation.
hah / May 6, 2013 at 07:18 pm
This is waaay too clean for a "beer hall".
Beefyballs / May 7, 2013 at 01:50 am
Do they serve beefy balls & pork shaft with a side of mushroom swipe for $30 - Is that a fair price Sean for deez nuts?
TRG / May 7, 2013 at 08:57 am
Everything except the beer is overpriced. I don't understand how they encourage people to share if the portions are tiny and the prices are sky high.

But - a beautiful place.
Maureen replying to a comment from Mikey / May 7, 2013 at 10:04 am
"The Charcuterie Board ($23) is possibly the menu's show stopper." Looks so goooooooood. Could be worth every dollar. Gotta try it for sure.
Gabe / May 8, 2013 at 11:30 pm
Trust me the Distillery needs this. $30 isn't expensive, you'll pay $30 at any restaurant in the Distillery AND a beer hall with great food for everyone sounds amazing!!!!
local / May 9, 2013 at 09:42 am
tourist trap.
Bryant / May 10, 2013 at 04:25 pm
Food is good but way too expensive. If you compare the food to beer bistro, they are out to lunch on pricing. I tried the place out, and the experience is not worth the premium that they are charging. (IMHO)

But, I presume with the traffic in summer they are not banking on much repeat business.
Karl / May 31, 2013 at 11:11 am
Great service. Great beer. Food prices are high and portion sizes are small. Two can spent $90 here and come away hungry.
wes / June 9, 2013 at 09:41 pm
beer hall? more like brohall jesus christ toronto
missruncia / June 24, 2013 at 08:07 pm
yes another tourist trap hits the Distillery .. overpriced food without anything new to show ..when is the Distillery going to get some good chefs .. quality and consistent food, definitely not seen at sister resto Mill Street pub or at the others Pure Spirit and Boiler House (now under renos to be a Mexican upscale ... guess that will mean 12 $ tacos) ... oh well, at least the tourists keep coming ...
Maggie P replying to a comment from missruncia / November 25, 2013 at 11:56 am
They're actually $14-15 tacos :(
Jennifer / March 14, 2014 at 12:02 pm
We had a night out among some volunteers for a local cat rescue and had an amazing time. The table was ready for our party when we arrived, we had a tour of the brewery and a flight of four beers with yummy vegan appetizers (as most of us are animal lovers - not eaters). Thanks to the chef for accommodating us and to the staff for their kindness.
Craigger replying to a comment from local / July 21, 2014 at 02:27 pm
Definitely not a tourist trap! This is a truly unique restaurant with very friendly, knowledgeable staff and classic dishes with a twist. Where else can you get Duck Wings and Bacon Jam? I was there with my Toronto based siblings and visiting parents and we all loved it! I will go back again and again.
Smitty / July 6, 2015 at 10:20 pm
Our entire experience was terrible. We came from out of town looking for a nice place to eat it came highly recommend but the food was just awful. The menu was lacking, the service was anything but decent the minute the girl knew there was a problem she avoided us. My mother and me ordered the same thing and we both took two bites and were disgusted it tasted off. It was hard to cut. They were nice enough to take it off our bill because we wouldnt eat it but overall it was a terrible experience

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