Toronto's Best Guinness: A Comprehensive Guide | TasteToronto

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Toronto's Best Guinness: A Comprehensive Guide

Toronto's Best Guinness: A Comprehensive Guide

Toronto's Best Guinness: A Comprehensive Guide

Guinness. The beer. The myth. The legend.

So you're on the hunt for the best Guinness in Toronto? Before we get to the list, a brief history of the beer, in 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a lease for the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin for 9000 years (really) at an annual rent of £45. Guinness, a dry Irish stout consumed worldwide that has passed the test of time with flying colours, was born in this very brewery. The four ingredients that make up Guinness are malted and roasted barley, hops, Guinness yeast and nitrogen. The quality of water used to make the stout is also very specific, ensuring consistent high quality.

I would like to start this guide off with a disclaimer, after consulting with many Irish™ people, the Guinness in Toronto is completely incomparable to the authentic stuff you get in Ireland. By the time Guinness is transported to Toronto from casks in the Emerald Isles, it no longer retains its freshness to the same extent. In Ireland, given its the beer of choice, the kegs are rotated extremely quickly and the draught lines are always clean with the sheer amount of pouring. Also, nothing really beats the atmosphere of an Irish pub. It's why they're located worldwide and why whenever we enter one, a feeling of joy and coziness overtakes us. However, there are pubs in the city that try their best to give Canadians an authentic pour, have lovely atmospheres and, in our opinion, do a fairly excellent job of a tasty Guinness.

My Irish partner was very personally committed to this guide, so he went around trialing every upvoted (yes, there was indeed a Reddit research post) pint of Guinness on draught you can get in Toronto to ensure that they met all the qualifications of a correct pour:

  1. 45° angle for the perfect head 
  2. 119.5 seconds post-pour rest for the Guinness to "surge" 
  3. Temperature should be 38 degrees 
  4. Tulip glass for prime nitrogen bubble travel 
  5. Clean draught lines to ensure freshness

The science of a Perfect Guinness Pour™ might be intimidating, but there's a reason why it's one of the world's most popular stouts. Here are Toronto's best takes on a pint of Guinness:

537 College St

The Dog and Tiger

The Dog and Tiger

The Dog and Tiger isn't an Irish bar, but their Guinness is excellent (allegedly have some "splicer" to perfect the layers of nitrogen in their pour). The bar is globally inspired but still manages to have the warmth necessary for a cozy pint (exposed brick, paperbacks, gilded mirrors) and a fantastic food menu.

396 Roncesvalles Ave

The Local

The Local

When The Local was designed 17 years ago by its owners, who are native to Limerick, Ireland, it was built around where the Guinness keg sits in the cellar so the line could go straight up into the bar, if that isn't dedication to the perfect pour, I'm not sure what is. Their pour was fantastic, and the Guinness had a creamy, thick head and fresh taste.

202 Ossington Ave

Man of Kent

Man of Kent

Man of Kent is both the only English pub that made the list, and it's the most expensive pint, but given its real estate on one of the busiest sections of Ossington, that's to be expected. Their Guinness is so popular that their tulip glasses are constantly stolen for folks to play "Split the G" both at home and at Man of Kent. The Guinness pour was excellent, and it's worth going for dinner to pair your pint with their really tasty English pub fare.

548 King St W

Belfast Love

Belfast Love

Belfast Love isn't an Irish pub, but a Northern Irish bar reflective of the eclectic spaces you get in Belfast. Given its spot on King West, it's constantly hiving, and will get you a much younger crowd than the other pubs on the list. Guinness is still one of their most popular beers, they have four lines running throughout the bar, and two get prime real estate on their wall of draughts at the front.

124 Church St

McVeigh’s

McVeigh’s

Although quieter than its neighbour PJ's, the glasses are chilled, Guinness perfectly poured, and the inside welcoming. McVeigh's has been around since Jimmy McVeigh opened its doors in 1962 and is very likely Toronto's first Irish pub, still completely family-run.

250 Adelaide St W

Dublin Calling

Dublin Calling

At $5.95, Dublin Calling is REALLY hard to beat, because despite possibly being Toronto's cheapest Guinness, it does not lose anything in quality. It's a real boys' boys atmosphere and feels more like a sports bar than a pub, but there is plenty to keep you busy, like darts and billiards and affordable, quality pints.

141 Danforth Ave

Noonan's Irish Pub

Noonan's Irish Pub

Danforth stalwart Noonan's (previously called Dora Keogh) has been open since 1997 and has even placed #6 on a world list of Irish pubs. They have weekly "trad" performances (traditional Irish music) on Tuesdays and Sundays, an incredibly cozy and lively atmosphere, and some exceptional Guinness. They have "snugs" authentic to real Irish pubs (sweet little alcoves to sup your drinks) and some exceptionally friendly staff who love to talk about Noonan's history.

39 Colborne St

P.J. O'Brien Irish Pub

P.J. O'Brien Irish Pub

The best Guinness in the city easily goes to PJ's (and I'm trying not to be biased just because their lovely bartender created a foam clover on the pint); it was incredibly fresh, perfectly chilled, scientifically poured, and with the sheer amount of Irish people ordering Guinness at PJ's, you know you're in the right place. The atmosphere is always buzzing, and given it's a popular happy hour spot for parts of the financial district, you'll be fighting for standing room on busy Fridays.

Toronto's Best Guinness: A Comprehensive Guide

Guides / Dishes & Drinks

2 months ago

Toronto's Best Guinness: A Comprehensive Guide

Rosa Kumar

Rosa Kumar

Instagram

Guinness. The beer. The myth. The legend.

So you're on the hunt for the best Guinness in Toronto? Before we get to the list, a brief history of the beer, in 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a lease for the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin for 9000 years (really) at an annual rent of £45. Guinness, a dry Irish stout consumed worldwide that has passed the test of time with flying colours, was born in this very brewery. The four ingredients that make up Guinness are malted and roasted barley, hops, Guinness yeast and nitrogen. The quality of water used to make the stout is also very specific, ensuring consistent high quality.

I would like to start this guide off with a disclaimer, after consulting with many Irish™ people, the Guinness in Toronto is completely incomparable to the authentic stuff you get in Ireland. By the time Guinness is transported to Toronto from casks in the Emerald Isles, it no longer retains its freshness to the same extent. In Ireland, given its the beer of choice, the kegs are rotated extremely quickly and the draught lines are always clean with the sheer amount of pouring. Also, nothing really beats the atmosphere of an Irish pub. It's why they're located worldwide and why whenever we enter one, a feeling of joy and coziness overtakes us. However, there are pubs in the city that try their best to give Canadians an authentic pour, have lovely atmospheres and, in our opinion, do a fairly excellent job of a tasty Guinness.

My Irish partner was very personally committed to this guide, so he went around trialing every upvoted (yes, there was indeed a Reddit research post) pint of Guinness on draught you can get in Toronto to ensure that they met all the qualifications of a correct pour:

  1. 45° angle for the perfect head 
  2. 119.5 seconds post-pour rest for the Guinness to "surge" 
  3. Temperature should be 38 degrees 
  4. Tulip glass for prime nitrogen bubble travel 
  5. Clean draught lines to ensure freshness

The science of a Perfect Guinness Pour™ might be intimidating, but there's a reason why it's one of the world's most popular stouts. Here are Toronto's best takes on a pint of Guinness:

396 Roncesvalles Ave

The Local

The Local

When The Local was designed 17 years ago by its owners, who are native to Limerick, Ireland, it was built around where the Guinness keg sits in the cellar so the line could go straight up into the bar, if that isn't dedication to the perfect pour, I'm not sure what is. Their pour was fantastic, and the Guinness had a creamy, thick head and fresh taste.

202 Ossington Ave

Man of Kent

Man of Kent

Man of Kent is both the only English pub that made the list, and it's the most expensive pint, but given its real estate on one of the busiest sections of Ossington, that's to be expected. Their Guinness is so popular that their tulip glasses are constantly stolen for folks to play "Split the G" both at home and at Man of Kent. The Guinness pour was excellent, and it's worth going for dinner to pair your pint with their really tasty English pub fare.

548 King St W

Belfast Love

Belfast Love

Belfast Love isn't an Irish pub, but a Northern Irish bar reflective of the eclectic spaces you get in Belfast. Given its spot on King West, it's constantly hiving, and will get you a much younger crowd than the other pubs on the list. Guinness is still one of their most popular beers, they have four lines running throughout the bar, and two get prime real estate on their wall of draughts at the front.

141 Danforth Ave

Noonan's Irish Pub

Noonan's Irish Pub

Danforth stalwart Noonan's (previously called Dora Keogh) has been open since 1997 and has even placed #6 on a world list of Irish pubs. They have weekly "trad" performances (traditional Irish music) on Tuesdays and Sundays, an incredibly cozy and lively atmosphere, and some exceptional Guinness. They have "snugs" authentic to real Irish pubs (sweet little alcoves to sup your drinks) and some exceptionally friendly staff who love to talk about Noonan's history.

39 Colborne St

P.J. O'Brien Irish Pub

P.J. O'Brien Irish Pub

The best Guinness in the city easily goes to PJ's (and I'm trying not to be biased just because their lovely bartender created a foam clover on the pint); it was incredibly fresh, perfectly chilled, scientifically poured, and with the sheer amount of Irish people ordering Guinness at PJ's, you know you're in the right place. The atmosphere is always buzzing, and given it's a popular happy hour spot for parts of the financial district, you'll be fighting for standing room on busy Fridays.