The Best Beer Selection in Toronto
The best beer selection in Toronto has become a more robust list over the last few years. Ontario's craft beer scene has since exploded and local beer drinkers have been given the opportunity to expand their palates with an embarrassment of riches. No longer satisfied to settle for bars content to pour mass-produced lagers, more and more savvy beer fans as well as the average pint-tipper have instead opted to patronize those places that support local brewers and that offer unique imports. As a result, 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 places with the best beer selection in Toronto.
First two photos by photo by Stephen Gardiner.
A favourite among the city’s beer nerds, barVolo features over 125 different beers in bottles and a rotating list of beer on tap - replete with its own tumblr site updated daily. In addition to hosting all manner of beer-related events and tap-takeovers from local brewers, they also run the annual Cask Days festival and, since 2010, have operated their own on-site nanobrewery. More »
A Danforth staple, the charmingly grungy Only is a haven for eclectic east-enders. Patrons drink from a selection of dozens of draught beers and an extensive bottle selection while sitting on garage-sale furniture or the notable back patio. The menu is not extensive, but that doesn’t really matter because, in keeping with their laid-back vibe, outside food is welcome. More »
Service can sometimes be hit or miss at The Rhino, but who really cares when there’s a well-categorized list of over 200 bottled beers from more than 40 countries, local craft beers on tap, and a menu of affordably-priced pub food? Bonus - this is arguably Parkdale’s best patio. More »
The menu features less nachos and wings and more duck confit and foie gras paté. But they pay equal attention to their impressively maintained beer menu of over 100 options, including hard-to-find imports from Belgian breweries like De Struise and the American brewer Sierra Nevada (among many others). More »
With all three locations, you typically know exactly what to expect when you visit - good, Belgian brasserie-style food and a variety of European-focused beer (100 brands from 24 countries). However, you can also typically expect large crowds, difficulty getting a table in the evening, and a fairly high bill. More »
Located in the heart of Mirvish Village, the Victory has been an Annex staple for 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 »
Now in its decidedly more appropriate location at College and Bathurst, Joe has kept what works (a binder-thick bar menu, 15 craft beers on tap, and seasonal specials) and ditched what didn’t (proximity to thumping clubs/Axe body-sprayed 905ers). The place is small but the beer list and seafood-centric menu is worth the tight squeeze. More »
The subterranean Front Street mainstay proudly boasts a beer list made only of Canadian beers. There are 35 craft beers on tap and they even brew their own. If you’re looking for something other than beer, they also feature a substantial whiskey selection and a mishmash menu intended to reflect the city’ multicultural heritage - with no dish more expensive than $15. More »
While the Bloor and Lansdowne area is being lauded as yet another “emerging neighbourhood,” there are some notable holdouts to the area’s upswing. Ciro’s fits this bill. The bar’s been around a while and looks it. However, with its 150+ list of largely Belgian beers, low-key atmosphere, and an excellent back patio, it’s kind of a hidden gem. More »
Alliteratively the Beach’s best beer bar, Castro’s features four cask handpumps, 13 beers on tap, and a bottle and can menu with over a hundred and ten selections - mostly comprising microbeers and imports. The menu is standard pub fare, but it’s usually pretty busy owing to live music and DJs throughout the week and occasional beer-related events More »
This is a no frills place to drink beer. It’s small, dark, plain, and frequently features live music so loud you can’t speak to the people you’re with. In short, it’s nearly perfect. Throw in 24 taps, including one dedicated to cask brews and a bare-bones pub grub menu and you’ve got the makings for a nice little pub. More »
Arguably best known for their burgers, this classic Irish-American pub on the Danforth also has an extensive beer list (to say nothing of wine and scotch). While the food is a higher-end take on traditional Irish pub fare, the beer is mostly from Ontario with a smattering of Belgian offerings and some selections from Quebec. More »
Easily Kingsway residents’ best bet for beer selection, they’ve got a regular tap and bottle rotation and a philosophy of representing as many different beer styles as possible. The food focuses on local Ontario ingredients and there’s an extensive selection of bourbon, scotches, and cognacs. More »
A bare bones Kensington joint in the best possible sense. The vibe is decidedly punk rock--sure there are about 35 different bottles on offer from Canada, the U.S. and Belgium and eight 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. Check your pretences at the door More »