So you’ve finally gotten up the nerve to ask your crush out for a drink, but you don’t want this to be just like any other first date. You need the best pub experience Toronto has to offer and we’re here to help. [Feature image: Amsterdam Brewhouse]
Bar Volo has been voted one of the best pubs in the world by RateBeer. The historic exterior of the building (red brick strung with vines) sets the tone for the classy-meets-casual atmosphere inside. The menu encourages sharing between diners, allowing an “accidental” hand-brush with your date over a charcuterie board. But more importantly, take advantage of the twenty-six rotating regional craft beers and six casks on offer at this midtown bar.
Does your date like skinny jeans and Buddy Holly glasses? The Bellwoods Brewery is a high-end pub with a subtle hipster undertone. You can buy a $40 bottle of specialty beer from Belgium or stick with one of their more reasonably priced craft beers. Most of their menu is meant to be shared between diners and its intimate interior is sure to bring you and your date a little bit closer by the end of the night.
Book a table at the Amsterdam BrewHouse and watch the stars over the Harbourfront as you sip on their award winning Amsterdam Framboise (a hard-to-resist strawberry flavoured brew). If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of the craft, indulge in a beer tasting with your date and discover new favourites together. And although the rustic interior is very spacious (sprawling, really), it fills up quickly on weekends, so be sure to make a reservation.
This Junction-dwelling brewpub puts an emphasis on full-bodied beer and doesn’t shy away from experimenting with their recipes. If you’re feeling brave, go for one of the Fates and Furies brews, like the Sun Kicked Anejo, aged in a tequila barrel. The menu includes everything from black truffle popcorn to bison burgers, but make sure you save some room for dessert (they offer bite-sized delicacies designed to be sampled and shared).
If you’re going for something a bit more casual, head to the Left Field Brewery. This tasting room boasts an atmosphere that is baseball-themed, with a scoreboard, bat tap handles, and picnic tables. The beer is that rare combo of good and cheap. Be sure to try the Eephus, a brown ale that has become a fan favourite. And although they don’t serve food at Left Field, they’ll let you bring your own. So feel free to pack your own romantic picnic and go for a pint. If you play your cards right, you could end up at first base.
Looking to pull out all the stops? The romantic Bloordale eatery and microbrewery is a triple threat of great beer, food, and live music. If you’re peckish, Burdock hosts a menu of inspired fusion dishes made from fresh, local ingredients (and a baked-fresh bread basket that’s getting rave reviews). Afterward, check out the concert hall in a separate soundproof space next door. Burdock usually offers eight made-in-house brews and a few guest taps, and if you’re taking things back to your place, you can grab a few cold ones from the bottle shop at the back of the restaurant.
Want to cover all your bases and get a little active on your date? Check out the Distillery District for a Segway tour. While you could end up looking a bit dorky, neither of you will notice because you’ll be too busy having fun whirring along the cobblestone streets learning about Toronto’s beer-soaked history and sampling the goods at Soma Chocolate and the Mill Street Brewery. After the tour, hang back at Mill Street, relax with a pint in front of the fireplace and toast to a great first date.