5 bars to watch Toronto Maple Leafs playoff games
Toronto sports bars are about to get very busy with bandwagon-jumping Maple Leafs fans eager to cheer on the Blue and White as they embark on their first playoff action in nine years. It probably isn't the greatest news that the Leafs will face the Boston Bruins in round one, but hope springs eternal 'round these parts, so don't expect the enthusiasm level to be diminished on account of the team's poor record against their opponent over the last few years. Given the scarcity and expense of playoff tickets, those looking for a communal viewing experience will want to head to local bars to take in the action. But which ones? Here are five places to get the most out of your playoff watching experience. Let's hope it lasts more than one round.
If you can get in, this'll be the next best thing to being there. The MLSE-owned sports bar will be packed with rabid fans, has countless TVs (including an absolutely massive one behind the bar), and is right next door to the ACC so you can get the parade started after the Leafs win their first game.
Sports Centre Cafe
The last time I was in the Sports Centre Cafe the Leafs were in the playoffs. I'm not sure I'd recommend the place on your average night (alas, I'm not much of a UFC fan), but the bar gets positively electric during post season play that features the Leafs.
If you can get over that high stick on Doug Gilmour back in 1993, Wayne Gretzky's hockey-first atmosphere is just the right pitch for playoff games. You can expect a feverishly loyal fan base, a surprisingly decent beer selection, and more than a couple American tourists rooting for the opposition.
Hoops Sports Bar
It might not compete with Real Sports in terms of television size, but for sheer number Hoops takes the prize. They've even got a few embedded in the floor, which you'll probably want to stomp when Tyler Seguin scores.
The Wheat Sheaf
One of Toronto's oldest bars (or the oldest, depending on who you talk to), the Wheat Sheaf doesn't have the dizzying array of TVs that some of the others on the list do, but the pro-Leafs vibe is contagious and that makes up for less than perfect sight-lines. Besides, sometimes the whole sports bar thing can be too much.
Photo by bigdaddyhame in the blogTO Flickr pool
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