The top 15 bars & pubs near the ACC and Rogers Centre
Bars and pubs near the Rogers Centre and the ACC give Raptors, Jays and Leafs fans a place to eat, drink and convene before and after the game. There's an option for every group size, budget and craving, whether you're after exotic taps or domestic bottles, nachos or steak, a cozy pub or a raucous sports bar. Head to these places if you're looking to celebrate a victory (or drown some sorrows).
Here are my picks for the top bars and pubs near the Rogers Centre and the ACC.
Real Sports Bar
Not long after they opened, ESPN dubbed this York St. bar the best sports bar in North America. It's easy to see why: with 199 screens (including one two-storey monster), there isn't a single seat in the house, including the bathrooms, that doesn't have a clear view of a TV. The 100 beer taps don't hurt, either.
In addition to a full slate of taps, bottles, casks and seasonal offerings from their namesake brewery, Amsterdam features a lovely lakeside open-air setting for a pre- or post-game beverage. The menu does typical mains with a few nice nods to the nearby ballpark, including a pretzel with beer-infused mustard.
While it is neither underground, nor a garage, this King St. bar offers plenty in terms of atmosphere. That atmosphere, in case you were wondering, is divey: drinks are strong and inexpensive, and there's plenty of live music.
This King and Spadina spot is the beer snob's choice spot near the ballpark (since you know those $10 plastic cups of Keith's just ain't gonna do it). The beer list is a detailed seven or so pages long, the atmosphere is dark, cozy and warrenlike, and there's Belgian frites to quell those postgame munchies.
Does the phrase "50 taps of beer" entice you at all? Then head up John from the Rogers Centre to this cozy subterranean pub, which tops off the impressive beer selection (including plenty of Belgan and Bavarian picks) with some decent English pub grub.
If the Town Crier's full up, don't fret; these guys offer revolving daily drink specials, an upstairs karaoke bar, some pretty worthwhile wings, and a menu of adventurous poutines (including one built on fried ravioli).
The Loose Moose / Antler Room
The Moose, long a Front St. destination for fried food and boozed-up, sports-related yelling, cleaned up its act a couple of years ago with a made-over lower-level space. The Antler Room offers an industrial-rec-room vibe and a menu of updated bar favourites. (Screech rum shots are $2.65 - how very Canadian.)
Did the home team lose their fourth straight game? At this multi-floor lounge on John St., frustrations out on a bunch of pins or a ping-pong ball, or just quaff a pint or two on their rooftop or curbside patio.
This small-plates-and-cocktails spot would be more at home on College or Dundas than the Club Districy - but, lucky for you, discerning diner, those inventively-plated oysters, sweetbreads, and smoked duck breasts are within a 10-minute walk of the Rogers Centre on Richmond.
The downtown location of this York Mills pub lies at the foot of Bay St., offering quality seafood, steaks, prime rib roasts, and comfort food dishes. Head here if you're looking to splash out a little (the cheapest main is a burger at $25).
Earls Kitchen + Bar
Head north after the game to the Financial District, where the only Toronto outpost of the Canadian restaurant chain offers solid takes on crowd-pleasing dishes like burgers, pizzas and salads in a slick, banker-friendly atmosphere. (Even if you're not a Bay Streeter by day, you'll still dig the $4-and-up daily drink specials.)
The upstairs sister bar to King West taqueria Los Colibris, El Caballito focuses on mezcals and tequilas (for slow, considered sipping straight-up or in cocktails - this is a no-shooting zone). They also offer some Mexican snacks carried over from downstairs, including tacos with hand-formed tortillas.
King and Yonge's Beerbistro adds a touch of refinement to your pre-game drinking and dining options - say, a prelude to date night at the ballpark. Their 120-strong list of beers flows into the menu, infusing dishes from soup to mussels to fondue.
Tucked just off Yonge and Wellington, this long-standing Irish pub is a slightly longer schlep from the Rogers Centre but the welcoming atmosphere (complete with private booths), comforting menu and free-flowing Guinness make it worthy of an extra jaunt.
Bier Markt (Esplanade)
The bar chain's Esplanade location offers Bavarian culinary influences (plenty of spatzle and schnitzel) along with yet another huge beer selection, complete with suggested pairings for each item. It's an after-work joint for the Financial District crowd and has a bit of a meat-market rep, but hey, sometimes you just want a flammekueche.
Did I miss any? Leave your favourite bar or pub near the ACC or the Rogers Centre in the comments.
Photo of the Loose Moose by Jesse Milns
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