The Only Cafe has been a neighbourhood staple on The Danforth for over 30 years. While its name may sound like a spot for coffee, it’s actually a bar well known for its beer selection and low-key, comfy atmosphere (the affiliated, adjacent The One in the Only is the actual cafe).
Decor-wise, the walls look a bit like an undergraduate’s residence room: images of or by Kurt Cobain, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, etc., are up all around.
Board games can also be found in the back, while postcards from places like Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay are on display at the bar; clearly, patrons here are a worldly bunch.
People come here for the laidback vibe and the excellent, constantly rotating selection of beer. There are 24 craft brew options on tap (plus one cask), which always include three nitro stouts, three to four IPAs and at least three ciders.
Fun fact: the taps were hand-made by Julian Altrows, co-owner of The Shore Leave further east on The Danforth.These are all Ontario and Quebec brews ($6-7; pour amounts differ according to the beer) from breweries like Beau’s, Left Field, Rainhard, Great Lakes Brewery and Dieu du Ciel. A live list of what’s on offer is updated as soon as taps change.
There are also over 200 tall cans or bottles to choose from, and these include fine import brews and harder-to-find beers. House wine, basic well drinks and a small selection of bourbon and tequila are also available, but the focus here is obviously on good beer.
With a back patio that fits 50, this is the place to be if you're looking for a reliable place to hang in warmer weather.
Some might be surprised to learn that the bar is even open during the day, although it’s definitely busier next door, where the caffeine can be found.
All-day breakfast is available in both the bar and the attached cafe, and at night bar-goers can order delivery from Big House Pizza and eat it here.