Meet Little Portugal, a Toronto enclave overflowing with places to enjoy a drink (or two). With basement bars, wine bars, sports bars, bars with arcade games, and even bars with no name found just steps away from one another between Ossington and Lansdowne Avenues, this is the place in the city for optimum bar-hopping. Here are 10 spots that you need to check out.
With no official name, the bar at 1602 Dundas St. West is known as the Half Point, 1602, or simply No Name Bar depending on who you ask. A small collapsible blackboard out front is the bar’s only signage. Inside, the low-lit bar is decorated with well-worn furniture, a tabletop arcade game, and soft metallic colours. The bar itself is made from a single long piece of wood, and there’s a large chalkboard on the back wall where visitors can write or draw whatever they like. The bar specializes in classic cocktails like the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned. The beer selection focuses on craft brewers like Grasshopper and Junction Conductor’s.
1602, 1602 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 823 0661
The Dock Ellis is a sports bar with a slightly more upscale feel. The menu includes imaginative dishes like Wonton Nachos, a combination of wontons topped with house-made chorizo, green chilli cheese sauce, salsa, pickled jalapeños, and crema. There are eight local beers on tap, including brews from Stone Hammer, Beau’s, and Amsterdam. Although the menu is sophisticated the prices are cheap. The interior offers seating on antiques couches or at long communal tables. The décor includes pennant flags and news clippings about the bar’s namesake, a pitcher for Pittsburgh Pirates who infamously threw a no-hitter in the 1970s while high on acid. There are 11 flat-screen TVs, three projector screens, as well as a shuffle board, foosball, and pool tables. One wall features a mural by local graffiti artist Globe.
The Dock Ellis, 1280 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 792 8472
The Garrison features a bar/restaurant in the front and a popular indie music venue in the back. The front area includes black-and-white photographs depicting the history of Garrison Creek, which is the waterway running under Toronto’s streets from which the bar takes its name. Candle lighting and a small capacity of about 350 people give the bar an intimate atmosphere. Despite the venue’s no-frills appearance, it attracts some of the city’s top acts, including live bands and the occasional DJ. Drink prices are reasonable, and the menu is Tex-Mex-style fare.
The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 519 9439