Toronto's beer scene has evolved to the point that it's now easy to find at least one bar in nearly every neighborhood that boasts a decent selection of suds. From local craft breweries to international flavours, the best beer bars have enough on their menus to suit any taste. Here's a look at the top five places we hit up when we're craving some malty goodness; leave your own suggestions in the comment section below.
Bar Volo (587 Yonge St, barvolo.com)
Toronto beer lovers flock to Bar Volo for their annual Cask Days festival (a celebration of unpasteurised beer), but real aficionados know it's the place to be all year long. They operate their own nano-brewery, as well as offer 30 rotating regional craft beers on tap, six on cask, and a selection of over 75 international varieties in bottles. There's always something new to try and the staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to guide you in the right direction (just don't ask them for reservations or separate cheques).
Beer Bistro (18 King East, beerbistro.com)
Like Bar Volo, Beer Bistro is also along Yonge Street, but it caters to a much different crowd. Here, you'll find Bay Street brokers and financial district workers flocking for a drink after a long workday. The food menu is impressive (we suggest starting with the cheese and lager fondue), and helpfully lists recommended beer pairings with each dish. Their beer menu is a weighty book, with their 20 beers on tap and 110+ bottles broken up by categories such as "Quenching" and "Sociable." If you're unsure where to start, try a flight of three draught samples for just $6.
Bar Hop (391 King West, barhopbar.com)
The newest establishment on this list, Bar Hop boasts 36 rotating craft beers on tap, two cask selections and over 100 varieties of international bottled brews. The selection is ever-changing and the staff are wonderful at guiding you to the right choice based on whatever flavour you happen to be craving at the time. The menu is also a notch above typical pub fare, with the smoked duck mac 'n cheese being our favourite.
C'est What (67 Front East, cestwhat.com)
This basement bar is as cozy as a friend's living room. Cuddle up on one of the couches in front of the fireplace, grab a board game from the shelf, and settle in for a comfy night of yummy pub food and a large selection of Canadian brews. There are 42 craft beers on tap, including some of their own house brews like Big Butt Smoked Dark Ale, Coffee Porter, and Al's Cask Ale.
The Only Cafe (972 Danforth, theonlycafe.com)
This used to be one of our favourite little-known brunch spots, with a trio of friendly, elderly ladies serving up yummy eggs and homefries. The brunch menu and staff have since changed, but we've learned to stick around this east end establishment until night falls, when we can enjoy the 23 rotating beers on tap (plus a cask), and a selection of more bottles than we can count. If you can't decide, they offer beer flights that allow you to sample five different brews for around $10.
Honourable mentions: Allen's, Castro's Lounge, The Rhino, Monarch Tavern, Get Well