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Dec 23, 2009 02:19 PM

Toronto: Best Dive Bars?

Hi all,

Five of my friends are meeting in Toronto at the end of this month for a few days. Three of them have never been to Canada before, so I feel additional pressure to make sure that they have a great time!

Although the visit falls over New Year's (hopefully this won't affect us too much), the group's preference is to dodge the holiday crowds and head to pubs / dive bars.

We'll be staying at King and Yonge, and an ideal chilly day would be hopping from watering hole to watering hole.

Do you have any recommendations for low-key drinking spots? I've been to Allen's on the Danforth (a little far in this case, maybe?), am sure some Sneaky Dee nachos will feature, and love The Victory on Markham (that's the perfect vibe). Does Toronto have any notable brew pubs or chill bars? Solid options for somewhere not too far from where we're staying?

Thanks in advance (and an appreciative life of the pint glass!)

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  1. C'est What fits your description of "chill bar" and is just a couple of blocks from where you're staying. Extensive beer list, very laid back vibe. Service has been known to be surly, but that doesn't sound like it would deter you. Bar Volo is a little further afield, but within a short cab ride and is another beer focused spot.

      1. You might want to check out Duggan's Brewery/Pub on Victoria, close to Yonge and King. Here's a recent thread -

        1. I prepped this for a friend of mine with desires for dives. It may be a little farther than you want to go, but the routing is good.

          Eton Tavern, 710 Danforth Ave east of Pape
          Jane’s Happy Bar, 1238 Danforth Ave east of Greenwood
          Linsmore Hotel & Tavern, 1298 Danforth Ave east of Greenwood
          Crossroads House, 1544 Danforth Ave at Coxwell
          Ulster Arms, 1345 Gerrard St E east of Greenwood (The #1 Pick)
          Maple Leaf Tavern, 955 Gerrard St E east of Carlaw (Tonight’s Karaoke Night)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Googs

            In that area, I'd add the Only at Donlands on the Danforth.

            1. re: Googs

              The Crossroads has closed. On the upside, there's a bar at Danforth Bowl which is located at the same intersection.

            2. If you make it as far north as Dundas, the Queen & Beaver on Elm has some good brews plus a good burger.

              The places I'm suggesting are decent pubs or brewpubs, not at all like the true dives Googs has listed. Your post/request was a bit confusing in that respect.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JamieK

                Awesome; thanks, all!

                These are some really solid suggestions. Duggan's looks great, and the link to the pub crawl also had some good options for us.

                (and sorry JamieK for any confusion: I guess I was looking for both recs for pubs/brewpubs as well as true dives. The thread delivered...thanks!)