Sometimes you just want to grab a beer with some friends, simple as that. No need to mission to the newest trendy secret patio, just a drink with familiar faces. Enter the “local” bar – your trusty no frills neighbourhood pub. It has become your watering hole, a place you find yourself so regularly that you can recite the (deep fried) menu verbatim. Here are some of Toronto’s best locals.
Did we miss yours? Let us know in the comments.
THE POUR HOUSE
This Irish Pub’s open from 11am to 2am, and has got both big screen TVs and live entertainment. It perfectly complements the daily specials, like half price wings on Tuesdays or $3 tacos on Wednesdays.
DUKE OF YORK
The Duke of York’s menu has “basket bites,” aka food perfect for sharing – popcorn shrimp, deep fried pickles, and a basket of samosas are just some of the finger-licking choices. They’ve also got a wide range of beer, including domestic, imported, premium and Ontario craft options.
THE STONE LION
This watering hole features a patio on each side of the building, nestled in a community conveniently close to the beach. They’ve also got a burger and fries for $5.25 if you buy a drink (which, realistically, you were gonna do anyway). Sold.
The Salty Dog’s got martinis for a jazz night, or wings and beers for a Leaf game. They’ve also got Trivia Nights on Mondays, and they serve traditional bar fare (think chicken fingers, calamari and burgers). Draft beers are a mixture of staples like Coors Light and craft beers, like their own brand, the Salty Dog Lager.
HOLE IN THE WALL
The menu at this Junction joint changes weekly to keep local patrons on their toes. They’ve also got 10 taps of Canadian craft beer to show off their national pride.
Yacht Rock at The Boat happens every Friday, when you can jam out to classics from SoCal smooth rockers like Steely Dan. They’ve also got a funk party on the second Saturday of every month and 90s nights (because everyone wants to relive that…). Also, all beers and shots range from $5 to $7.
RONNIE’S LOCAL 069
Ronnie’s Local 069 does the basics right. You can have hot wings or grilled cheeses delivered to your patio table, and the atmosphere is distinctly punk rock. The beer and liquor selections are also pretty wide and pretty cheap.
Betty’s feels just like an eclectic home, with many food options that are almost unreasonably cheap (Rainbow Trout for $12.95) and samplings from foreign cuisine, like Vietnamese or Japanese.
THE ROY PUBLIC HOUSE
The motto here is “a friendly local, owned by locals.” It’s got wood panelling, stone walls and velvet couches and a dish called the “Scotch Egg,” which is an egg wrapped in pork sausage. If this doesn’t scream watering hole, we don’t know what does.
Live music, cheap beer, and the decor of a legitimate auto body shop. You’ve gotta love the greasers, and Ted’s Collision does way more than just pay homage. It also is a legitimate auto body shop. And there’s pinball.
CLOAK AND DAGGER IRISH PUB
This small bar feels like it’s got more craft beers on tap than it does seats. Sundays bring all you can eat tacos for $10 and a comedy show called “The Hangover Cure.”
Quaint and cozy are the perfect words to describe Communist’s Daughter, which kind of looks like a convenience store at first glance. This makes it one of the Ossington area’s best-kept secret gems. The atmosphere is what draws the local, though – it’s decorated with Slavic portraits and foreign currency notes behind the bar.
The name tells the whole story: this bar literally used to be a methadone clinic and pharmacy, but was recently transformed into an eclectic bar decorated with buffalo heads, furniture that looks like it was picked from the curb, and vintage knick knacks that can only be found at Value Village.
This west side staple is a casual bar at Queen and Landsdowne where drinks are cheap and tiny paintings line the walls. There’s also live music and an outdoor patio.
Squirly’s has a heated indoor/outdoor patio, making it comfortable for hanging out all year round. They’ve also got deals every night, and all of the beers on tap are craft, so you have no choice but to expand your horizons.
THE DONE RIGHT INN
All that we need to sell you on this is: amazing Caesars. Outdoor patio. Inexpensive.
THE LOCAL PUB
The Local Pub also doubles as a music venue, showcasing bluegrass, acoustic blues, and acclaimed singer-songwriters, along with rockabilly or Cajun party music. They’ve got many a craft beer regularly on tap, and a rotating tap that changes monthly. Their bartender is also a musician, and the food ranges from fish sticks to stuffed peppers, all at a moderate price.
THE OLD SOD PUB
The Old Sod Pub has live entertainment five days a week, a small but deep fried menu, and was just recently renovated. They’ve also got karaoke every Tuesday and Sunday.