Thursday, October 2, 2014Cloudy 15°C
Best of Toronto

The Best New Bars in Toronto, 2012

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / January 10, 2013

best Bars torontoThe best new bars in Toronto in 2012 marked a continuation of Dundas West's seemingly unstoppable boom, with a disproportionate number of top bars cropping up in the area. 2012 was also the year of the craft beer bar, and saw the opening of a slew of establishments that touted local microbrews on tap.

Several popular bars also brought off-shoot (or drastically different) projects to other areas of the city. From casual, sit-down spots for drinks and the odd antipasto platter after work, to easy-on-the-wallet pints, to full-fledged dance floors, Toronto's diverse tastes continue to promise that we'll find something to quench our thirst around every corner.

Here is the list of the best new bars in Toronto in 2012.

See also:

The best new bars in Toronto, 2011
The best new bars in Toronto, 2010

Bellwoods Brewery

Bellwoods Brewery

Bellwoods Brewery might toe the line between bar and gastropub, thanks to its meat-heavy food offerings such as duck heart and sausages. It’s no secret, though, that the big draw at this Ossington spot is its range of beers brewed on site, including go-bold-or-go-home offerings like the Witchshark IPA (coming in at a whopping 9%). The patio ain't too bad, either. More »

Get Well

Get Well

Get Well boasts 12 constantly rotating local craft brews on tap (beer enthusiasts rejoice, although they also have wine and cocktails), as well as a dim, spacious interior that’s nicely suited to a lively, intoxicated go at their row of pinball machines in the back. More »

3030 Dundas West

3030 Dundas West

3030 Dundas West is the Junction’s resident catch-all bar. They do everything from weekend brunch, to 16 rotating, hyper-local craft brews on tap (but not in pitchers), to board and arcade games, to frequent live music. As an added bonus, their cocktails are nothing to scoff at, and their kitchen churns out inventive, bite-sized snacks. More »

Handlebar

Handlebar

Kensington Market’s Handlebar comes to you courtesy of the Avro’s owners, and it has the same eclectic charm; from the mismatched retro furniture and bicycle-themed decor, to the long bar and attentive but laid back staff. Although their beer selection might leave something to be desired, they’ll gladly whip you up a cocktail (the Old Fashioned is tops, especially when the red-haired guy makes it). More »

Midfield Wine Bar

Midfield Wine Bar

Already Toronto's best wine bar, Midfield filled a major gap in the city's drinking scene when it opened up on Dundas West early last year. Thanks to chalkboard menus, casual seating, rustic all-wood decor, and a surprising lack of wine snobbery, Midfield is a decidedly unstuffy place. And their new tapas-based menu (think braised beef tongue, mussel escabeche, and charcuterie) makes this is a good while-away-your-evenings spot. Restaurant industry types tend to flock here for last call. More »

Wallflower

Wallflower

The Wallflower is yet another recent opening on Dundas West, taking over Naco Gallery’s three-room space, and transforming it into a cozy, vintage den of years gone by, with floral accents, a surprisingly satisfying wine list, and craft beers on tap. This eclectic, laidback spot from the owners of the 3 Speed has a snack menu to match (lamb scotch eggs, anyone?). More »

The Yukon

The Yukon

The Yukon is a small, narrow bar that’s eye-achingly dim and easily missed on a streetcar ride through Parkdale. Venture inside, though, and you’ll find a casual spot, with a small list of draught beers, a selection of well-priced and well-made (albeit not especially bountiful) nibbles, that’s made for after-work cocktails and leisurely get-togethers. More »

Thirsty & Miserable

Thirsty & Miserable

Don’t go to Thirsty and Miserable expecting polished banquettes and somnolent background music. This new addition to Kensington Market is more reminiscent of the area’s past (and refreshingly so), with a dim dive vibe, aggressive black and red colour scheme, and a selection of microwaveable meals. That said, it boasts a great selection of craft brews sourced locally and from abroad. More »

Bambi's

Bambi's

Bambi’s is dark. Don’t let its doe-eyed Disney moniker fool you; this subterranean Dundas West bar turns its music up loud (with tunes that run the gamut from punk to karaoke), and its industrial interior is marked by exposed brick and pipes. A short draught list, “occasionally available” snacks, and laidback clientele round it out. More »

Church on Church

Church on Church

Church on Church is a (secular) new spot in the Village, with haphazard references to its name evident in everything from the white, pew-like benches scattered around the bar’s perimeter to the cocktail list. The fluorescent lasers start spinning and the dance floor fills up just before midnight. More »

Discussion

35 Comments

Tina / January 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm
user-pic
Drink at home. I like to go to these bars, but can't afford it. Paying $10 (with tip) for a pint of beer in TO is getting outrageous. When my roommates and I realized how much of our paychecks we were literally pissing away, we decided to drink at home before we head out. Not that the Beer Store and LCBO monopolies make it that much more affordable. Love the Blog TO post on cheapest drinks. Go to those places!
Richard / January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm
user-pic
Small complaint, but I really wish you'd identify to which place the top picture pertains in all of your posts. Even a "scroll-over" identifier that pops up would be helpful. (Or the more obvious option: a caption under the photo).
Geet Dhillon / January 10, 2013 at 01:06 pm
user-pic
How is Spirithouse, NOT on this list???
Derek / January 10, 2013 at 01:45 pm
user-pic
We've removed comments from this thread to keep it focused on the bars in question. Let's talk about drinks and stuff! Please and thanks.
Phil / January 10, 2013 at 02:01 pm
user-pic
what about barhop?
Dave replying to a comment from Richard / January 10, 2013 at 02:02 pm
user-pic
My guess from the filename, "20120512-3030bar590-07.jpg", is that it's #3 on the list, 3030 Dundas West.
Chuck / January 10, 2013 at 02:08 pm
user-pic
Mods all OVER this thread cleaning up the race-war!
Erma the Eskimo / January 10, 2013 at 02:25 pm
user-pic
Can someone say: Elephant in the room?

Derek, if I'm saying that there're all white people in the photos of the bars that you've mentioned, then how is that not "keep[ing] it focused on the bars in question"?

It's sad that the editor of BlogTO wants to remain willfully blind.

Go ahead, BlogTO. Delete my comment, so you can continue living in your bubble.
mr. hood / January 10, 2013 at 02:30 pm
user-pic
derek, while i find these bars to represent a portion of what came out this year, there are very many decent and if not better bars not listed.. these seem like mostly hipster bars... and to be honest, mr pongs JUST opened, how can it get such a star rating without proven success (even though the owners are great) it just looks a bit jumping the gun for hype rather than looking at a decent bar like bar hop or spirit house
Arrow / January 10, 2013 at 02:42 pm
user-pic
I can't believe Bar Hop isn't on this list. Their beer selection is one-of-a-kind and their atmosphere is rustic, comfortable, and lively. This terrible oversight brings question to the rest of the bars on this list. Church on Church looks and sounds more like a club than a bar.
Ben / January 10, 2013 at 02:43 pm
user-pic
You're all aware these lists are generated by reader's voting, right? If the list seems to skew toward the demographics of blogTO's readership, it's because THAT'S WHO CHOSE IT.
Mr. East / January 10, 2013 at 02:46 pm
user-pic
West end bias much?
Mr. West replying to a comment from Mr. East / January 10, 2013 at 04:05 pm
user-pic
Cant really call it a bias as the west is cleary better... take your ass back to regent park..
Mr Everywhere / January 10, 2013 at 04:23 pm
user-pic
Yo Mr East & Mr West, kiss and make up.
Mr. Central / January 10, 2013 at 04:40 pm
user-pic
Mr. East and Mr. West,

I purpose that we meet in a "central" location and try to squash this beef before anything worse happens
Mr. Everywhere / January 10, 2013 at 05:31 pm
user-pic
Don't get involved, Mr. Central.
Mr. Blonde / January 10, 2013 at 05:48 pm
user-pic
You ever listen to K-Billy's "Super Sounds of the Seventies" weekend? It's my personal favorite.
Zima replying to a comment from Erma the Eskimo / January 10, 2013 at 06:22 pm
user-pic
Um, because you're not commenting on the bars, you're commenting on the race of people in a bunch of pictures. How is this difficult to grasp? Talk about living in a bubble.
lister / January 10, 2013 at 06:27 pm
user-pic
Another shout out for Bar Hop. Should be on there easily.
Taylor / January 10, 2013 at 07:43 pm
user-pic
@geetdhillion because spirit house is terrible.
lister replying to a comment from Taylor / January 10, 2013 at 07:49 pm
user-pic
What's terrible about Spirit House?
What replying to a comment from lister / January 10, 2013 at 08:08 pm
user-pic
Besides everything?
v79 / January 11, 2013 at 12:12 am
user-pic
Anyone expecting any sort of truthfulness in these rankings just needs to look at who won it two years ago to see how ridiculous some of them are - essentially someone's dirty rec room that served only tallboys and microwaved patties and chili(but hey, that's what happens when owner's friends stuff the ballot box). Thankfully the lists since then are noticeably better, but still, they're never going to please everybody. That being said, it's nice to see friend's bars in the top three the last two years :)
PlatinumAndrew / January 11, 2013 at 01:45 am
user-pic
Museum Tavern
PlatinumAndrew / January 11, 2013 at 01:47 am
user-pic
Hawker Bar
J*town / January 11, 2013 at 08:38 am
user-pic
Barhop!
Michael / January 11, 2013 at 11:39 am
user-pic
How in the Christ was Bar Hop not mentioned in this article? They've just expanded to 36 draught taps, the most in the city to my knowledge. They are leaders in offering a diverse and constantly rotating selection of craft beer and high end European imports.
Mr. Star / January 11, 2013 at 11:47 am
user-pic
Need to add Bar Hop,,the people have spoken.
Michele replying to a comment from Erma the Eskimo / January 11, 2013 at 11:54 am
user-pic
As a "white" person, I am offended. Caucasians (like Asians) come from many different backgrounds, so the photos could be multicultural... unless you are only judging people by their skin colour (which you are.) YOU are really the one who has a problem with race. I guess it's ok that there are no disabled people represented in the bar photos? You don't care about that because you are focused on your own bias agenda to look for racism where it isn't. Shame on you.
Opensource1111 / January 12, 2013 at 02:04 am
user-pic
I, too, find some of this site's censorship puzzling at times. I can understand if a comment sis basically a bunch of nonsense and cussing. However, if a comment is intelligent, although not completely on the exact topic of the initial article, what is the rationale for deleting it? The above comment from Eskimo talks about something directly related to the article. So what if it is not specifically related to how good or bad a paticular bar is. The comments section is an evolving discussion. It's there for us, the audience, to control. So long as a comment is not abusive, there is justification for removal. Derek - it seems you have done this before with other posts. I think that you and Tim need to more thoughtfully and objectively apply the sites policies on comment removal, in a more consistent manner.
lister replying to a comment from What / January 12, 2013 at 11:37 am
user-pic
Very helpful.
ZZtop / February 8, 2013 at 05:06 pm
user-pic
These are all Taverns. There are no bars in Ontario.
(Taverns are places where people drink at tables (usually with food) - thus drastically reducing social interaction with anyone you don't already know. Very Puritan.
Rick replying to a comment from Mr. East / February 26, 2013 at 03:20 pm
user-pic
Right on--did they not ask anyone east of Spadina? zzzzz
diablo 3 online game / February 28, 2013 at 03:29 am
user-pic
I have figured out some essential things through your site post. One other subject I would like to say is that there are several games on the market designed especially for preschool age children. They include pattern recognition, colors, creatures, and styles.
louis vuitton outlet / April 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm
user-pic
The garments we put on may well have a substantial effect on what others think people, and just how we look at ourselves. [url=http://2013louisvuittonoutlet.webs.com/]louis vuitton outlet[/url] louis vuitton outlet

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Montreal