Great Bars in Downtown Toronto That You Should Check Out

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We’ve Got Bars in Downtown Toronto To Keep Everyone Happy!

So, you’re in Toronto and looking for a drink, some food, and maybe a place to let loose or watch the game? We have you covered. Having lived and worked in downtown Toronto for several years, we developed a few favourite places to check out.

That said, the question “what are the best bars in Toronto” is really had to answer since there are SO many AND people have completely different ideas of what is “best”. So this list is a fun mix of places that we like to go, have taken friends, or have had a good experience at!

There are certainly even more unique bars in Toronto, better ones for just cocktails, and ones with great food, great for students, etc. – but those are posts for another time. This post is for our favourite bars in Downtown Toronto.

Just so you know, many (most) of them are in the Entertainment District. Some might be classics, while others may be new to you to check out.

Town Crier

Navigation Address: 115 John St, Toronto

old pub in red brick with small snowy patio in front.
Ah yes, the Town Crier – the patio gets busy and it’s right beside the Office Pub.

Of course, being a blog about a Canadian and German exploring Ontario, we had to include a classic German-style pub in Toronto! If you want a little taste of Europe, then head to the Town Crier Pub.

This place is actually very close by to another one or two pubs/bars on this list – but for good reason.

There’s a whole patio area just north of Adelaide on John Street that is made up of like 3 pubs so it’s a popular place to stop in for a summer drink. The town crier is one of them – the other is Office Pub (see further down).

Town Crier is known for having German and Belgian beers on hand – and they have a pretty extensive selection. Those countries love their beers and so there are plenty of styles and types by region available for you to try!

The place is a classic pubby feel but that’s what you expect from it. The food is also European-themed – serving up classics from the region like schnitzel and Spätzle (a really good German/Austrian cheese pasta dish).

Needless to say, we had a great time there – and not just because Lisa is German!

The Ballroom

Navigation Address: 145 John St, Toronto

bar front entrance with neon light sign above the door.
Where do you even begin at Ballroom?!

If you want to mix your bar experience with a little physical activity, why not try The Ballroom? Located at the corner of Richmond Street and John Street Ballroom is … a complicated place, to say the least. This is only because there is basically something for everyone!

In the door and up the stairs, you’ll find a huge open bar area with booths, TVs, a massive central bar, an outdoor patio, a dance floor, and even a stage.

Eric has gone out there with friends, watched hockey there, listened to live music there – and even just gone for drinks with Lisa and the family on a weekend evening. Talk about functional, eh?

Downstairs, you will find a few full 10-pin bowling alley lanes, TVs, pool tables, and more. It’s a busy spot and definitely a fun atmosphere.

It’s also more of a student bar on weekends – especially during the university breaks when everyone from Toronto is back from their respective schools but – as we said – it’s frequented by loads of different groups.

The nice thing about The Ballroom is that there is no cover. So if you are planning to go “out” later you don’t have to pay to get in OR grab a lane later on the weekends. One time Eric walked in with friends just past 12:00 am and got a lane for four people with a very short wait.

Bar Hop

Navigation Address: 391 King Street West or 137 Peter Street (Two Great Locations)

bar front with black sign on top of red brick building in downtown toronto.
Bar Hop down on King Street is always a good time.

Oh, Bar Hop. How you have treated us so well over the years. Honestly, both Bar Hop locations are arguably our favourite places on this list. The overall experience each time is just great.

So, basically, Bar Hop is a classic, trendy place for good beer (many, many to choose from) and upscale, super delicious pub food.

Eric has been with friends many times and we even met one of Lisa’s friends there when we were all living in Canada.

Bar Hop has two locations that are slightly different. Bar Hop on King Street is a bit small with one floor but they have a little front-facing patio area. It’s always great.

large bar building with rooftop patio in busy city centre.
Check out that rooftop patio at Bar Hop Brewco!

Bar Hop Brewco is on Peter Street. This is the same place, slightly different menu, and three floors making it a better bet to find a table if it’s already time for evening dinner or drinks.

Three floors? Yes, they have a rooftop patio which gets pretty busy in the summer. It’s a great place to take advantage of Ontario patio season – a top thing to do in Ontario in summer!

Overall, the beer is tasty, the vibes are super lively and fun, and food is great (we’ve had garlic fries and a bunch of other items – all good). Check out either Bar Hop and have a blast.

The Black Bull

Navigation Address: 298 Queen St W, Toronto

english style pub in red brick building on street corner with patio outside.
This patio area is packed in the summer season!

The Black Bull is another classic watering hole in Toronto. Located up on Queen Street West at the corner with Peter Street (close to Barhop Brewco, see above), The Black Bull is a classic British-style pub that makes for a standard Toronto patio and pub experience.

The beers on tap are as expected, the food is hearty and pub-style – that’s exactly what you go for.

Inside it is pretty big but what they are probably known for is their outdoor patio area. It’s such a good location (shopping up on Queen) in the summer season is busy!

Although (funny story), once in February of 2017, the weather was so warm (for Canada it was like +4 degrees Celsius) that they actually opened the patio and it was packed.

We (Eric and coworkers) went and the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory actually made a visit to greet people and have a pint to “enjoy the warm weather”. Oh, Canada.

In any case, check out the Black Bull for a classic Toronto patio experience.

The Loose Moose

Navigation Address: 146 Front St W, Toronto

Ah yes, The Loose Moose. Located on Front Street, the Loose Moose is a pretty established place to head to for food, drinks, watching the game, whatever.

In fact, it’s basically across from Union Station downtown so it’s been used as a place to take new visitors/friends to the city as a “welcome to Toronto, let’s have a pint here” kind of place.

The Loose Moose is actually two places – up the stairs is more of the normal restaurant and bar with lots of seating. Downstairs is also seating and a bar and you can order food – but it’s also used as a venue for live music, for example.

It’s nothing crazy fancy or anything – just a good solid choice for lots of beer on tap and good pub food.

Given the location, it’s also popular to grab a drink before or after a game at the Scotiabank Arena (the home of hockey and basketball in Toronto) so it can be pretty busy on game nights and weekends!

Eric has had lots of great memories at the Loose Moose with friends.

Cactus Club Cafe

Navigation Address: 77 Adelaide St W, Toronto

If you are looking for a more stylish or fancier place with a slight cocktail feel, then Cactus Club might be for you.

Located right in the heart of the Financial District and accessible from Adelaide Street, Cactus Club is a popular name in Toronto. It’s actually a chain from Western Canada (they are popular in Vancouver) and there are now two Toronto locations (only one downtown, though).

The location in Toronto is a good place to meet for drinks – cocktails or otherwise. The food menu also looks pretty nice but we haven’t eaten there – only drinks.

Eric met a friend there for drinks one weekend evening and we were lucky to be two people because there was quite the wait.

Given the location and the popularity on weekends/weeknights, it’s a wise idea to reserve a table if you know you want to go. Oh, and they also have a patio for patio season!

Related Articles

If you are looking to explore more of Toronto, we have that covered, too:

And there you have it – some of the best bars downtown that we love! This obviously isn’t all of them – just some of the ones that we have been to and had a nice time at.

We think we covered a pretty good spread of themes and styles here so hopefully, you find something you like! Let us know where you end up!

As always, Keep Exploring, eh?

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photo of glass storefront with text overlay about Great Bars in Downtown Toronto.
Eric Wychopen is a Canadian content writer who loves to share his passion for Ontario. Originally from a small town in Simcoe County, he has almost 50 countries under his belt - but Ontario will always be home. Having travelled thousands of kilometres across the province for work and play, Eric has a wealth of knowledge about the province and is always looking for new experiences in Ontario.