The best sports bars in Toronto function not only as places to drink beer while watching the game but sometimes doubles as the headquarters for sports fans to regularly come together as a community. Bonus: a lot of them have great hot wings.
Here are the best sports bars in Toronto:
- RS Real Sports Bar
Real Sports Bar is Toronto’s largest and busiest sports bar, part of the grouping of businesses connected to the ACC. Gigantic arching ceilings, inset lighting, and dark walls and furniture give that sports bar permanent sense of night, and the view of a huge screen from floor or balcony level is superb.
They once had a colossal menu that focused more on epic hot dogs and the like but they’ve since evolved to a more concise menu that changes seasonally. The hot brisket ($24) feels like real pub food, the sort of thing I’d want to get at a sports bar. Fluffy mashed potatoes are topped with a white bread grilled cheese sandwich layered with rich smoked and braised sliced brisket, stout gravy, bright little green peas and sweet crispy onions. All the elements together create a comforting symphony of blunt but loveable flavours. The space is humongous enough to hold all the hungry fans that might hit Real Sports Bar before or after a game, and even if you don’t have a view of that giant screen there are dozens of TVs every which way you look.
2. Wheatsheaf Tavern
The Wheatsheaf Tavern is Toronto’s oldest bar, located at the same corner since 1849. Following a brief hiatus for renovations, a 2020 reopening saw the space made over into an updated sports bar and live music venue. Original hammered tin ceilings, exposed brick, a new permanent stage and booths that are meant to be sat on top of and maybe even danced on have all been incorporated into the revamped look by Solid Design Creative. Spinach and garlic dip ($15) is fluffy and packed with spinach, with a crispy molten top, great for piercing with provided tortilla chips. Shawn Creamer (Dakota Tavern) is behind regularly scheduled programming from established and emerging artists including live music all weekend long, with three sets from bands every Friday and Saturday.
3. Loose Moose
The Loose Moose, located downtown at Front and University, claims to have the largest draught selection in the city. While we can’t say we’ve verified that 100 per cent, they do have an extensive list. They’ve also got a varied menu, with everything from pork belly sliders to salads hearty enough to make a vegetarian happy.
4. Dog & Bear
The Dog & Bear pub is the latest iteration of 1100 Queen Street West, a space best known as the former home of the Social . Converted by members of the team behind Parts and Labour and the Hoxton , the once club-like space is now an Empire-styled pub, and one that should prove quite popular in aneighbourhood that’s witnessed a massive influx of condo-dwellers over the last few years. While there’s no shortage of restaurant and bar options in the area, the Dog & Bear still fills a hole with its sports-friendly atmosphere and traditional pub offerings. While there were a few misses with the food, the overall experience here was pretty good, made even more exciting by the game. I’ll likely be back to have that cottage pie again, and hopefully the beer selection will be as diverse as it’s intended to be.
5. Dock Ellis
The Dock Ellis launched this week at Dundas and Dovercourt , in a neighbourhood already populated with an abundance of watering holes. Amidst a glut of hip joints full of craft cocktails and DJs, Andrew Kaiser and Callum Woods ( The Emmet Ray ) have teamed with friend Alain Pitout to build a sports bar that caters to those who love sports, but not the spots you’d traditionally be forced to head to in order to enjoy them.
Named after the star pitcher, infamous for throwing a no-hitter whilst high on acid (who also had a custom-built hat to incorporate the hair curlers he liked to wear on the mound), Andrew and company have fused the traditional “screens-behind-the-bar” aesthetic with communal tables and a number of gaming options (such as foosball and pool tables) towards the back. On the way to the bathroom is a running scoreboard for the Backyard Axe Throwing League (Alain and Callum are members).
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6. McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon
McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon takes its name from a book by New York writer Joseph Mitchell. Other than that, any relation to the NYC bar of the same name seems tenuous, but it equals its namesake in quirkiness if not historical relevance (though it has been open since 1991).
With 17 TVs and a decent view of them from almost anywhere, the 80-seat pub has become known as one of the best sports bars in Toronto. At the back of the bar, there’s a pool table, three arcade games, a Touch Tunes station and a pile of board games. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also open WiFi.