Beer enthusiasts, rejoice! The Toronto
craft beer scene is booming, as breweries and bars dedicated to serving small batch and local beers are popping up on corners all over the city. In need of a beer map for the best spots to drink a few? We’ve got you covered.
Bar, Charcuterie, Italian, Canadian, Wine, Beer, Fast Food
With a rotating tap list that changes every day, Bar Volo stands as one of the best spots to imbibe the best beers from Ontario. There are over 30 beers to choose from, six of which are from ‘the cask.’ Think: American IPA by Rainhard; Imperial IPAs by Stone City; and a range of seasonal and unique beers, like Le Trou Du Diable‘s sour Saison with honey, barley wine; and Great Lakes‘ ‘Harry Porter & The Curiously Spicy Cocoa Bean.’ Pair one (or, three) beers with an upscale bar snack like the duck liver pâté; a table plate like the charcuterie platter; or ‘cavalo nero,’ a Tuscan kale Caesar salad.
Bar Volo, 587 Yonge St, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 928 0008
Bar, Beer, Pub Grub, Canadian, $$$
With two locations, one on King St W and one on Peter St., Bar Hop rivals big names like Mill St. and Amsterdam Brewery, serving 36 beers on tap – which change weekly – as well as bottled beers, local and imported. Choose from seasonal beers or small batch; there are even gluten-free beers and ciders. Beers on tap include brew masters like Nickel Brook, Left Field and Beau’s. Eats include gourmet bar snacks like foie gras chicken nuggets and garlic doughnuts, along with sandwiches, salads and entrées perfectly paired with any beer from the list. Be sure to head here on Sundays for buck-a-shuck, when oysters are $1 after 4 pm, and visit the Peter St. location for the roasted pig head nachos (served inside an actual pig head) – an endeavour not to be missed. Pro tip: they have $5 beers on Mondays.
Bar Hop, 391 King St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 352 7476
Batch is a new player on the scene, comin’ in hot from Creemore Springs to the downtown core and bringing craft beers – most of which are brewed in-house – and Instagram-worthy food. Brewing with a European influence, Batch offers small batch beers in the way of lagers, porters, pale ales, IPAs and more, all brewed in an authentic copper kettle using pure spring water (which has been the ritual since they started out in 1987). Other craft beers served here include Collingwood and Granville Island Brewing, so there’s plenty to choose from. Batch is open during lunch, making it the perfect spot for that mid-workday beer. The food is made with as much care as the beer, using local produce and meats, and made from scratch. Go for the smoked chicken wings or the BATCH burger, best paired with the Witbier, a traditional Belgium-style beer made with plenty of citrus.
Batch, 75 Victoria St, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 238 1484
Indie Ale House
Pub, Italian, Pub Grub
Indie Ale House
Indie Ale House is a well-known place to grab a craft beer, and it’s no wonder why – brewing beers in-house, with care, is their game, and they do it well. The flagship beers represent Indie Ale House’s unique take on beer-making, with four always on tap or in stock for takeaway; there’s also rare releases, which usually debut once a year, as well as collaborations, some of which are only done once (so, be sure to try one of these while you can!). Go for the beer flight, where you can pick which beers to sample; and the food gives pub food a run for its money, serving up tasty mains like the bison and pork belly burger and Southern fried chicken.
Indie Ale House, 2876 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 760 9691
Pub, Beer, Pub Grub, $$$
The Gaslight isn’t your average pub: nestled in The Junction Triangle, this spot boasts craft beers, local wines, craft cocktails and a short – but delicious – snack menu. The drinks are on point (think cocktail pitchers pouring specialty cocktails), but the beers are where it’s at. Big names include Junction Craft Brewing, Oast House and Muskoka as well as rare bottles and cans like Woodhouse. The menu is always changing; the vibe is cozy; and the taps are always rotating, so pop in for a pleasant surprise – you won’t regret it.
The Gaslight, 1426 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 402 9728
C’est What is a Toronto go-to spot for craft beer, and has been for a while. With over 70 beers on tap, like Side Launch and Left Field, C’est What stands out as one of the best spots for finding a good craft beer, and the selection is never-ending. The beer rules they live by: it must be small batch, use only natural ingredients, undiluted and fresh (as in non-pasteurized) – and, of course, is Canadian. C’est What prides themselves on producing unique and adventurous beers in-house, such as a smoked dark ale, ginger wheat beer and hemp ale, providing customers with a beer experience unlike any other. Be sure to check out their rotating tap list, regularly updated on their Twitter feed, and grab a growler if you’re planning to take the goods home with you.
C’est What?, 67 Front St E, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 867 9499
Bar, Wine, Beer, Canadian
Located on the second floor of Mascot Brewery, Odd Thomas is changing beer culture with a new type of club scene: there are DJs and a dance floor, but this beer-driven bar is serving up a list of fine brews in a toned-down setting with wood benches and a ‘GET WEIRD’ mural. There are craft cocktails if you’re into getting liquored up, but the beer is what makes this spot worth the venture; there’s even tableside keg service, supplied by Mascot Brewery. Beers include names like Collective Arts‘ Saint of Circumstance, Lake of Bays‘ Spark House and plenty of Mascot brews. There’s full-service dinner available as well as a rooftop patio. What’s not to love?
Odd Thomas, 31 Mercer St, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 979 0131
3030 Dundas West boasts an impressive list of local craft beers: Junction Craft Brewery, High Park Brewery, Black Oak Brewing, Spearhead Brewing and Hogtown Brewers, to name a few. With a list that includes rare-to-find beers, it’s no wonder 3030 is a fan-favourite for beer drinking – and for food, too. Serving up a unique blend of cuisines – like the Tandoori chicken banh mi or pulled beef cheek pierogi – 3030 never disappoints. Be sure to head here during brunch, the perfect excuse to drink the Spearhead beer mimosa: juice + beer = magic.
3030 Dundas West, 3030 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 769 5736
Bar, Beer, Canadian, Pub Grub, $$$
Despite their move from their original location of ten years, Tequila Bookworm is still a Toronto favourite for craft beer. Located in the heart of Queen West, Tequila Bookworm boasts a second-floor bar, dining room and patio. Bookworm focuses on serving only beer produced in Ontario, and the same goes for the wine and cider. The selection rotates daily and always highlights up-and-coming names in the industry that brew in small batches. Have one of the bar snacks, like the hummus or Brussels sprouts, or go for one of the burgers, sandwiches, or gourmet poutines. The kitchen is open until 2 am every night of the week, and brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-5 pm.
Tequila Bookworm, 512 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 504 2334
Bar, Market, Beer, Pub Grub, $$$
Home to Kensington Market, Handlebar is a laid-back bar serving up craft beer, classic cocktails and arepas – a Venezuelan cornmeal sandwich – from their neighbours, El Arepazo. With bicycles for wall décor, Handlebar is cool and unpretentious, just like their beer list. There are only eight beers on tap, but there are plenty of cans and bottles to choose from, and all are just as delicious as the next, like Kensington Brewery‘s Augusta Ale or Maclean’s Farmhouse Blonde. Kick back and enjoy a cold one on their patio, open during the warmer months.
Handlebar, 159 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 748 7433
Pub, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, $$$
Bellwoods, with their charming exterior and outdoor patio, is a popular choice for beer lovers. All of their beers are brewed in-house, and with a finesse that will leave any brewer in awe. The beers on tap are always rotating, depending on what’s been brewed and released, but if you missed out on something special, there are usually reserve bottles for purchase. Bellwoods also has a bottle shop that sells beers for takeaway as well as some cool merch. If you’re hungry, the brewery’s menu of gourmet snacks is not your average pub food – go for the duck meatballs or fried halloumi crostini.
Bellwoods Brewery, 124 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 535 4586
In the heart of Leslieville lies Brooklyn Tavern, a local favourite for craft beer. While the list of beers on tap is short, there are plenty of cans and bottles featuring imported and local breweries. The likes of Wellington and Nickel Brook you will see on tap, and Flying Monkeys and Collective Arts can be found in the cans and bottles. The vibe is casual and the food, served at both dinner and brunch on the weekends, is rustic, home-style Canadian with an upscale flair.
Brooklyn Tavern, 1097 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 901 1177
Restaurant, German, $$$
Beer. Sausages. More beer. WVRST, the King West sausage and beer hall, is the go-to spot not just for a unique take on the traditional hot dog (think duck, maple and foie gras and kangaroo and fine herbs), but for a fine selection of beers. While the taps are always changing, the list is long, with featured breweries including Indie Ale House, Burdock and Oast. There’s also a *very* lengthy list of bottles and cans, imported from Europe and the US as well as domestic – and don’t forget the beer ‘on cask,’ which changes daily. For updates on what’s on tap, be sure to check their Twitter regularly.
WVRST, 609 King St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 703 7775
TALLBOYS Craft Beer House
TALLBOYS claims to have the largest Ontario craft beer selection, and they just might be right. From lagers and pilsners to kolsh and porters, the list goes on including Woodhouse, Great Lakes, Bayside, Ace Hill and Sweetgrass. The selection is strong and mighty; don’t miss this craft beer house if you’re on the hunt for the best beers this side of the country.
TALLBOYS Craft Beer House, 838 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 535 7486
Bar, Beer, $$$
Wise Bar: the understated beer haven on Bloor West. While the Wise serves up cocktails, their true love is beer, with a rotating tap list that changes regularly as well as stocked beers and cans. On draught, you’ll find the likes of Black Oak and Great Lakes; in bottles, test out those rare finds not available at the LCBO like Leifmans and Jolly Pumpkin’s ‘Calabaza Blanca.’ While you’ll find this hidden gem filled with locals, it’s the perfect joint for any beer lover. Come one, come all.
Wise Bar, 1007 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 519 3139