We’ll see you in there.
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I get it. You’re sad that you can’t go out with your best friends, to the best bars, with the best food and drinks in the city you live in and love. You think about it every Friday at 3 p.m. because that’s what you would be doing if we weren’t stuck in these strange times we’re living in.
I get it, because I feel the same way.
To that I say, why not prepare for when this storm finally clears? I’ve been thinking about it lately and here’s what I came up with, a 'to-go list' if you will. Here are my eight favourite bars that I miss and can’t wait to get to once we all legally can.
1. Pour Boy
This well known yet unassuming bar in Koreatown, at the corner of Bloor Street and Manning Avenue is the definition of a neighbourhood bar. The staff is friendly, the music is better than average and the food is delicious but affordable. Asian-inspired pub food, pitchers of beer and a great patio make Pour Boy a perfect bar to hit up whenever you want to relax with your close friends and keep it simple. Monday nights are Trivia Night upstairs, so bring your smartest friends.
What I miss most: The laid back atmosphere and Korean spiced chicken wings.
2. Mahjong Bar
Mahjong is a great all-purpose bar. It’s hip enough for the cool kids with its faux speakeasy layout, a la its convenience store entrance, and the food is fantastic on its own. Come for the dinner and stay to get loose and have cocktails under the dim red lights. Definitely one of the best bars to get to on Dundas West.
What I miss most: The ability to spend an entire night in one spot and not worry about hopping to the next.
Sweaty Betty’s at Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue is a Toronto dive staple that’s having some tough times right now like most others. If you like cheap beer, a good atmosphere, better music and simplicity on your nights out, this is the spot. With a great patio in the back and located at the top of one of Toronto’s best stretches of bars and restaurants, it’s tough to go wrong coming here for a couple quick ones. If you own a Stooges t-shirt, this is definitely the spot.
What I miss most: The music. Not too many bars busting 80s Post Punk out the speakers these days.
I will admit without any hesitation, this Bloor West bar is my favourite in the city. The staff are known for two things here––incredible customer service and their ability to expertly make any drink you desire. You tell them a few simple ingredients you love and they will craft you something special. Trust me. If the bar is packed, the staff will make sure to get your drink order and greet you with a nice hello when you enter. For their first COVID summer season, they have made good use of their backyard and now have a cozy patio.
What I miss most: Everything.
5. The Piston
The Piston is a convenient hop across the street from Civil Liberties, so when you’ve had enough customized cocktails and you’re ready for a drunken dance party, head on over. I challenge you to not have the best Friday night you can have at a disco. The DJs here will have you agreeing, you do in fact, love disco.
What I miss the most: Forgetting the week’s stresses and acting a fool on the dance floor.
Local beer, pizza, arcade games, need I say more? The Greater Good, with Parallel and Blood Brothers to the right, is located on Geary Avenue just east of Dufferin Street. With a North of Brooklyn Pizzeria and arcade games on the top floor and a huge selection of local beverages on the main, I would definitely recommend a night out on Geary and some time here.
What I miss most: A slice in the left hand and a sour on the right.
With the on and off stay-at-home orders, it’s tough to say when we’ll be able to get back to patios. But, when we are able to, the Black Bull is where I’m heading first. I’ve been coming to this pub’s massive patio on hot weekend days in the heart of Queen Street West since Kyle Wellwood was a star centre on the Leafs and I’ll be there when Auston Matthews lifts the cup.
What I miss most: A cold one in the hot sun.
8. Sneaky Dee’s
Who doesn’t miss having a giant plate of Sneaky Dee’s nachos and one too many at this College and Bathurst landmark? There’s not much anyone can say about Toronto’s famous Sneaky Dee’s that hasn’t already been said. Let’s just hope we can get back there soon for some late night unpretentious food and drink.
What I miss most: Come on. You know.