Sometimes dive bars offer so much more that anonymity and cheap drinks. Sometimes they provide really good music and that’s the name of the game at Silver Dollar. What began as the cocktail lounge for adjacent Hotel Waverly is now one of the best small live music venues in the city, going strong for over 50 years. The iconic spot was recently at risk for being torn down, to be replaced by a high rise, but was saved (for now) after being deemed a property “of cultural heritage value or interest” by the city council.
Best dive for a curry with your beer: Stella
This dive in Bloordale eschews your standard pub eats for a decidedly more Indian twist. Dark (as any good dive should be) and decorated with mismatched furniture, Stella is a dive bar in the best way possible, in that it feels like you’ve stumbled upon a secret that you may or may not let your friends in on. The back wall features a menu of various curries, of which we can vouch for the veggie option. There’s also a side patio featuring picnic tables for communal drinking.
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Jessica Padykula is a Toronto writer who has never been asked to kindly leave any of these establishments. Follow her on Twitter to see how long she keeps that up.