Mirco Brewery Beer w/ pub fare downtown TO?
I've recently moved to Toronto (Bloor-Sherbourne area) and my significant other is coming up for his first visit to my new neighbourhood. We're interested in having a nice evening at our favourite type of place: somewhere with plenty of delicious local/micro beers, satisfying pub fare (does not necessarily have to be traditional though), and a friendly atmosphere where we can talk and relax. Being new to the area, I'm finding the search to be a bit overwhelming and thought I would try these boards (new user!) Is there any place that stands out on these three points in the downtown area? The nice thing about living where I do is that it only takes a quick subway ride to get just about anywhere downtown. I really miss my cozy Kingston Brew Co. and would love to hear your recommendations. Thank you in advance!
I can think of a couple of places that might fit the bill, not too far away from you. If the beer is more important than the food, Cafe Volo on Yonge just south of Bloor (at Dundonald, maybe?) has lots of good Ontario microbrews, from the GTA and further afield. The pizza is pretty darn good too (they're small, individual-sized ones) - some of their more unusual combinations work really well.
For a more unique experience, you could walk over to Parliament and catch a bus down to the Mill Street Brewery in the Distillery District. They typically have about 1/2 dozen of their own brews on tap, and they're very good. The food is pretty typical pub-ish stuff, but it's well executed (i.e., somebody back there really knows what they're doing with a deep fryer).
I have to say, though, that if you're looking for something with atmosphere that's more like the Kingston Brewing Company, I'd recommend the House on Parliament (on Parliament, just south of Carleton, west side). It tends to have more in the way of imports than microbrews, but they always have at least a couple local ones. It's very cosy, the music is good (esp. if you have a thing for late 80s alterna-pop...for some reason I always hear the Cure in there), the staff is friendly and the food is great. I am a sucker for their pulled pork sandwich with spinach salad.
If you're at Bloor and Sherbourne you should check out the Rebel House (www.rebelhouse.ca... beware of annoying, over-design-y web site). It's across from the Rosedale TTC, about a 15 minute walk from your location. Great beer selection, fantastic pub-y food, nice atmosphere (note the cozy upstairs).
I also like C'est What (Front and Church) for a great selection of beer, but the food is only so-so (not bad, just not great).
Neither are quite as traditional as the Kingston Brew Pub, but both are pretty great options.
I definitely second the Caffe Volo recommendation. The beer list is huge (and while they do have a good selection of local and Southern Ontario, they have many more imports), the food is pretty good, and the music is usually good too.
Another place that gets overlooked is The Victory Café on Markham St. (Bloor & Bathurst area, a short subway ride). Exceptional local microbrews and good pub fare. Their sweet potato fries (a bit of a fad these days) are quite good. My favourite part about the place is that the bartender really knows his beer. Definitely more casual than Mill St. and Volo, but still worth a look.