We learn when we’re young that hiding in secret spots is a lot fun. As we grow older, we learn that drinking beer in those spots is even better. Here are some of the best, offbeat bars in Toronto.
What you're drinking: Literally whatever the barkeep recommends.
To find this spot, cut through the discreet Kensington Mall and keep your ear close to the wall. You’ll come across a secret doorway with muffled music and chatter behind it. Open it up and enter the promised land, wherein beer & cocktails can be had. There are no menus, so tell the bartender what you like, and they'll rustle you up something tasty.
What you're drinking: A sub-$5 bottle of beer (!)
Smiling Buddha looks anything but smiley from the outside. It’s a run-down dive. But it’s wonderful. Go there for cheap drinks, and talk to the friendly owners about renting it for a night and hosting your own little soiree.
The Hole in the Wall
What you're drinking: Something from the craft beer list -- Flying Monkeys, or Beau's All Natural are recommended.
This place literally is just a hole in the wall along Dundas St West. You’ll find a huge drink list and great food here. It’s a long, narrow, dimly lit bar -- and inescapably comfortable. They also bring in live music that fits right in with the mood.
What you're drinking: One of the tallboys -- the PBR is only $5.
An unmarked basement bar in the west end, Unlovable is actually quite lovable. It’s underneath a travel agency and even if you’re standing in front of it, you might miss it (just look for the stairs). Inside you’ll find a good, dependable beer list and a mid to late '20s hipster crowd.
What you're drinking: A pitcher of Steam Whistle.
Existing in a back alley off Brunswick Ave, Green Room is a cheap place to start or end your night. Don’t eat the food, this is strictly a beer chugging affair -- the crowd is mostly students usefully exploiting their loans.
What you're drinking: Creemore Springs.
Granted, Communist's Daughter has blossomed into one of the more popular bars in the west end of the city, but it’s still a great retreat to mingle with a laid-back crowd, and it's still basically hidden. Don’t let the "Snack Bar" sign fool you, follow the smell of the booze.
Located on Dundas St W, Unlovable is actually a pretty lovable dive bar, featuring decently priced drinks and live entertainment.
This Kensington Ave spot certainly isn't the easiest to find. You must enter through a discreet Kensington Mall doorway through which you can hear faint music. But once you make it inside, it's a quality speakeasy with plenty of 'tails and beer options.
It's a little run down and divey, but don't let that scare you. It's fantastic for cheap drinks and even available to rent for a night for your own private party.
So much more than its name suggests, this place may be long, narrow, and dimly lit, but it also has a massive drink list and a loaded menu of delicious bar food.
GR may look a little divey from the outside, but once you're through the doors, it's a bustling cozy place with dim lighting, cold drinks, and a friendly crowd. And they've got drink specials nearly every night of the week.
Although this has become a relatively popular place, it still features a laid-back atmosphere in the west end of the city. And the "Snack Bar" sign out front? Pay no attention, that means you've found it.