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Best of Toronto

The Best Beer Selection in Toronto

Posted by Ben Johnson / March 5, 2014

best beer torontoThe best beer selection in Toronto used to be a fairly easy thing to determine. Formerly, a few mainstay bars easily held the top positions among beer drinkers' lists of go-to venues, but now, as a result of the Ontario craft beer scene's rapid growth, the list of places with well-curated tap lines has grown crowded.

Whether it's a result of the craft brew supply growing or the demands of sophisticated drinkers expanding, the city's beer scene has flourished, and there are now plenty of options for even the most discerning of the city's beer fans.

Here are the bars and restaurants with the best beer selection in Toronto.

See also:

10 bars & pubs where Toronto beer experts go to drink
The Best Pubs in Toronto
The 10 bars with the most beer taps in Toronto
The Best Places to Drink a Pitcher of Beer in Toronto
The top 10 cheap craft beer deals in Toronto
The top 10 bars with gluten free beer in Toronto

barVolo

barVolo

This Yonge St. pub features over 125 different beers in bottles and an ever changing lineup of 38 mostly-Ontario draught lines. In addition to hosting all manner of beer-related events and tap-takeovers from local brewers, the bar's owners also run the annual Cask Days festival, operate their own on-site nanobrewery, and have the distinction of being one of only 46 locations across the world chosen by Brasserie Cantillon to host Zwanze Day in 2013. More »

Bar Hop

Bar Hop

The Golden Tap award winner in 2013 for the Best Bar for Draught Beer Selection in Ontario, Bar Hop earns that distinction with an excellent list of 36 draught beers that changes frequently and skews hard toward local offerings. Good food, cheap oysters on Mondays, and knowledgeable staff make this one of the few respectable options for beer fans along King West. More »

The Only Cafe

The Only Cafe

Arguably no longer an East-enders secret, The Only has gone from little known local to respected beer bar in a very short time, and the funny part is they haven't actually changed anything. They've always had an excellent selection of dozens of draught beers, an extensive bottle selection, and a certain garage-sale decor, it just seems that lately people know about it. Sorry Danforthers, the secret is out. More »

Beerbistro

Beerbistro

Arguably the one place on this list you might consider wearing a blazer, Beerbistro is a bit, as-the-french-say, la di da. On the menu you'll find duck confit and foie gras pate, and they pay equal attention to their impressively maintained beer menu. There are over 100 options, including hard-to-find imports from Belgian breweries like De Struise and the American brewer Sierra Nevada. You don't actually need a blazer, but would it kill you to tuck your shirt in? More »

Bier Markt

Bier Markt

All four locations of the Bier Markt offer impressive and lengthy draught lists making them among the best spots in Toronto for drinking imported, European beer. And regardless of what their gravy-hating Mayoral clientele might suggest, this is a classy joint that gives beer the treatment it deserves. More »

WVRST

WVRST

Probably the only place on this list that has kangaroo on the menu, WVRST offers a phenomenal draught selection of Ontario and Quebec options in a killer, highly social, beer hall-style setting. As the name might suggest, sausage is the name of the game here and there's an impressive selection of styles to try, plus duck fat fries and a selection of dipping sauces. More »

The Town Crier

The Town Crier

For those days you're craving something Belgian or German, you can't go wrong at the Town Crier. The draught menu lists 50 different beers that skew geographically toward that chunk of Europe. You won't find too many craft offerings here, but it turns out some of these older countries know a thing or two about beer. Dunkels and dubbels and blondes, oh my. More »

Victory Cafe

Victory Cafe

Located in the heart of Mirvish Village, the Victory has been an Annex staple for over 15 years. Their philosophy is decidedly local and the Vic not only has cask ale but an extensive beer menu featuring a focus on Ontario craft, all of which can be paired with a reasonably priced, locally-sourced meal. More »

Thirsty and Miserable

Thirsty and Miserable

It's not often that you can have the down and dirty dive bar experience along with great craft beer, but that's the beauty of this Kensington Market spot. There are about 35 different bottles on offer from Canada, the U.S. and Belgium and 8 Canadian brews on tap, but the beer list is scrawled on a piece of cardboard and if you want to eat you'll be getting a microwave dinner. A classic no-frills drinking experience with local and craft beers instead of an ironic bottle of Labbatt 50? Yes please. More »

C'est What

C'est What

Boasting a beer list made only of Canadian beers, the 35 craft beers on tap at C'est What are always excellent and there's even beer brewed on site. There's also a substantial whiskey selection and a mishmash menu intended to reflect the city' multicultural heritage with no dish more expensive than $15. Long a Toronto craft beer mainstay for good reason. More »

Stout Irish Pub

Stout Irish Pub

Cabbagetown's Irish Pub already feels like it's been around for years. There are 20 mostly-local beers on tap and classic rib-sticking pub grub on the menu. It's a solid little pub with a solid little draught list and even a solid little patio out back. More »

Tallboys

Tallboys

Featuring over 70 brands, the family owned and operated Tallboys' beer lineup is composed exclusively of Ontario craft brews. There's usually decent specials, a good menu, and it's one of the few craft beer-centric places in the city where you can rely on finding the game on TV. More »

Discussion

33 Comments

alex / March 5, 2014 at 09:18 am
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Might as well put Village Idiot and Sin and Redemption with Town Crier up there, it's owned by the same guy and the beer selection is the same.
Lush of Linsmore / March 5, 2014 at 10:19 am
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21 taps at Sauce, plus fridges full of bottles and tins.
Stickler for details / March 5, 2014 at 10:52 am
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Great list, glad to see BarHop up there. But I believe their cheap night for oysters is Tuesday, not Monday.

And I'm pretty sure Volo only has 32 taps (26 draft, 6 cask) and two taps are devoted to Ontario wine these days.

Sorry about being a nancy about that.

Also, everyone should check out Get Well, decent bottle selection, 1 cask engine, good draft and usually 2-3 house beers on tap.
Brian / March 5, 2014 at 11:05 am
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they all suck
Stanely / March 5, 2014 at 11:14 am
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I'm regularly at the top five bars on this list. If service quality was a factor in this list Beer Bistro would be #1 by a country mile.
Ben replying to a comment from Stickler for details / March 5, 2014 at 11:35 am
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Bar Hop's Buck a Shuck oyster night is indeed Tuesday. My bad.
David / March 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm
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Update your links for God's sake. When you open up the tab for the Only, you go back to a 2009 article stating they have more than a dozen beers on tap. They in fact have 25 beers on tap today.
T.J. / March 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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Add Rebel House to the 13-20 list. They have a decent selection of almost exclusively Ontario brews and are the best option as far as I can tell for anyone north of Bloor near Yonge.
Ben replying to a comment from David / March 5, 2014 at 01:52 pm
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Definitely don't click on the C'est What link...
lister replying to a comment from T.J. / March 5, 2014 at 02:01 pm
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Close to Yonge at Mt Pleasant & Eglinton there's Granite brewpub.
lister replying to a comment from T.J. / March 5, 2014 at 02:06 pm
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Oh and Stack on Yonge north of Lawrence has pretty decent craft taps. The BBQ is not bad either.
Brett N Omyseez / March 5, 2014 at 02:17 pm
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Great list, Ben.

I'd like to second Stickler's mention of Get Well - great selection of both draught and bottles.

And, for those who enjoy some not-so-easy-to-find British and European draught beers, I'd add The Monk's Table to the list. A great, cozy little pub in Summerhill/Rosedale area.

And maybe check the link at the beginning of the article ("beer drinkers' lists of go-to venues")? It links to a slew of BlogTO "Best of" lists.
Erin / March 5, 2014 at 02:59 pm
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Thanks for the props Ben! We are honoured to be in the company that you listed!
hophead / March 5, 2014 at 03:04 pm
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Little out dated places...Scrap tall boys, bier market, town crier, stout and victory…they serve beer, but not great beer, all fluff to me.

Not on the list which I'm surprised isn't mentioned on here:

1. Bar Isabel
2. Bellwoods Brewery (not just their beers but stellar bottle selection)
3. Northwood (recently added some good beers)
Rick / March 5, 2014 at 03:17 pm
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Bar Isabel has good bottles, but right now they have a total of five beers on tap. Northwood has eight. Bellwoods essentially has beer from one brewer: Bellwoods. The title of the post is best beer selection in Toronto, not places "hophead" likes to drink beer.
Best beer replying to a comment from Rick / March 5, 2014 at 03:45 pm
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Best beer selection doesn't equate to most beer selection, FYI.
truth replying to a comment from Rick / March 5, 2014 at 04:28 pm
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Rick, the number of taps mean dick.

Places like Bellwoods, Isabel and Northwood have a great selection of imports and local beers on a regular basis. Atleast they don't sell their taplines like half of the spots on this list. It's disgusting.

Clean your lines.

Free our beer.

Rob Ford.
Madonna Cicerone / March 5, 2014 at 06:06 pm
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In response to Rick, Bellwoods does indeed have beer from all over, not just their own. A couple guest taps, and a surprisingly great bottle selection.

That said, even if it was only Bellwoods beer, I'd still consider it a great lineup!
Phil replying to a comment from Stanely / March 5, 2014 at 07:12 pm
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I disagree. Some of the Bistro staff are the typical arrogant industry staff you encounter from time to time.
Eric / March 5, 2014 at 09:23 pm
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Nice list Ben. I'm certainly at Barhop & WVRST quite often as I live literally in between them. Both have great people looking after their beer lists. Matt at Barhop is always great to talk to about beer and I've had several great chats with Pat at WVRST. Not to mention they post their line cleaning schedule at WVRST. Beauty.
Evan / March 6, 2014 at 12:42 am
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Bryden's on Bloor is great especially when there are beer festivals in town. I'll never forget No Pants with Miranda.
David / March 6, 2014 at 09:05 am
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Big ups to WVRST!! I've been going here for the food since it opened and have watched the beer side of things transform over the last few years. Addition of taps, cask engine, aging bottles, bottle list keeps getting longer with stuff like Mikkeller, Cantillon, Hitachino, Westvletern... Their beer guy(s)? Are doing a great job, personally, I'd have slotted them in at 3. With plenty of room to move up! Good list Mr. Johnson.
Dave / March 6, 2014 at 11:00 am
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Last night I had the worst experience in my entire lifetime, I went for a beer with my love in this downtown pub. We were having it near the bartender were you can find those tall barstools, unfortunately my barstool broke and I had the worst fall ever, fell infront of the entire audience in the pub, broke my arm and had to be carried out in a stretcher. One advise to all those pub owners, I checked online today and found that this furniture store in Mississauga sell bar stools and seems to be quite reasonable. If you really care about customers then please buy decent furniture. http://www.artefac.ca or https://www.facebook.com/ArtefacFurniture. I did not make an issue out of this just because my lovely girl is now full time with me taking care of my broken arm, it is just because of that I am not naming the pub....
Brian / March 6, 2014 at 11:05 am
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Nice list, it's certainly a positive that we are starting to see so many places carrying quality beer. I don't get out to The Only so much anymore as I'm a downtown west end guy. But they do it right over there. Personally, I rate BarHop, Volo, Wvrst in that order. The Only a close 4th.
Pamela / March 6, 2014 at 11:30 pm
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lol at dave's comment. why are people always spamming these comment sections now?
Mark replying to a comment from Dave / March 7, 2014 at 10:14 am
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I know you're just spamming...but... Why did you need to be carried out on a stretcher if you broke your arm? You don't need your arm to walk.
Definitely not Ben replying to a comment from Dave / March 7, 2014 at 10:38 am
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I'm a friend of Dave's and it's safe to say that he isn't the brightest person. I was there that night in this downtown pub. Like he says, he was there with his love, having it near the bartender and he did indeed fall infront of the entire audience. He insisted on the stretcher even though it was just his arm. Dave's a funny guy.

I thought it was a little weird that he then decided to look online to find new barstools for the bar owners, but that's just the kind of guy Dave is. It's true that he found some at ArteFac furniture and he even bought some new chairs for both himself and his lovely girl who, as he says, had now become full time.

Unfortunately though, a short time after he posted this message, both Dave and his love passed away, him from cancer and her from AIDS. Doctor's say they can't be sure, but it seems like it was the chairs that did it. I thought I'd comment just to warn all of you too.

ArteFac Furniture gives you cancer and AIDS.

RIP Dave.
Dewster replying to a comment from Definitely not Ben / April 6, 2014 at 07:29 pm
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Ha Ha best reply ever! I think I ruptured something! Saw all the oddities in Dave's story cop or lawyer for sure. Great critical thinking! Sir I salute you! Gotta finish my Chimay bye.
Sporting Greenwood / April 28, 2014 at 06:53 pm
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Do yourself a favour and check out Sauce On The Danforth. Taps, taps taps.

@sauceondanforth
Mikey / May 26, 2014 at 08:31 pm
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Good list. Monarch Tavern has 13 taps with cask. Brand new LongSlice Brew Hopstalavista, Black Oak Dubbel Entendre and GLB Limp Puppet to name a few. All under $7 for 20oz too!
Scruffz / May 26, 2014 at 09:03 pm
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So apparently bars outside of Downtown Toronto don't exist?
SarahLoLo / May 27, 2014 at 02:18 pm
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Well, this is a blog about Toronto, so....
Sub Division / July 13, 2014 at 01:55 am
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stocking a load of locally produced overly hopped 'craft' beers just because they are local definitely shouldn't earn you a spot on a best beer selection list. Having a good beer selection means providing QUALITY beers not necessarily local or 'craft' beers. Many European breweries have been brewing beer for 400-800 years. I think they might have a slight edge on producing good beers when compared to some trust fund hipster who reads a 'how to make beer manual' and then opens a 'craft' brewery on Ossington. This list is pretty shit.

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