Great places to sip a beer in Toronto's Little Italy

Little Italy may have long outgrown its traditional Italian roots, but it’s still one of the best places in the city to relax with a beer in hand. These great spots have outdone themselves in terms of perks, amenities and vibe. Hop on the 506 streetcar and start exploring.

The Modclub Theatre

1
722 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1C4

There’s almost always some kind of concert going on here, whether it’s international teen heartthrobs or local up-and-coming talent. For really popular events, The Mod Club can get pretty crowded. To find the sweet spot for enjoying your drink and being able to hear your friends instead of the big crowds, head to the far end of the bar that's close to the stage. Beer is reasonably priced and covers a good selection of basic and premium brews.

The Dakota Tavern

2
249 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 3A1

A word to the wise: Later concerts on Fridays and Saturdays tend to generate a bit of a lineup outside, so avoid being fashionably late so you can get in before the band’s encore set. The downstairs interior is laid out simply, with the back third consisting of tables and chairs, the middle third designated for dancing and the front being a Christmas-light-decorated stage. You can also get a seat at the bar for a great view.

No One Writes To The Colonel

3
460 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1A1

The name alone is worth the trip, but the folks here went the distance to make your beer-drinking experience memorable. You'll love the interior décor, complete with a wood bar and saddle stools, plus a fireplace and a stage backed by a wall covered in vinyl records. There’s a comedy night every Sunday at 8, but music reigns supreme with Choir! Choir! Choir! (the group that performed with Tegan and Sara at the 2014 Junos) practicing every Tuesday evening.

Bar Isabel

4
797 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1C7

If you’re looking for a fridge filled with Coors Light and Bud, this isn’t the place for you. Bar Isabel takes pride in sourcing out unique beers that are made at craft breweries and have a story to tell. The selection here should make the LCBO and Beer Store blush. Make sure to eat a bit so your night doesn’t end too early. The much-admired menu here ranges from easy choices like Cornish hen to wilder ones, such as bone marrow.

Sidecar

5
577 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B2

Prix fixe restaurants generally boost their prices based on foodie appeal, but you won’t find any of that here. Instead, Sidecar has priced the menu quite reasonably and provides food that’s local, free-range, seasonal, sustainable and organic. No matter what beer you order, the food and décor – exposed brick walls, curved bar, candle-like hanging lights – will make it taste so much better. You can also make reservations online for an even smoother experience.

With its cobblestone streets, beautiful stone buildings and appreciation for fine cuisine, Quebec City is a refined place. What better setting to treat yourself to a glass of champagne? Whether you want a cozy vibe or the grand rooms of an old hotel, Quebec City is just the place for you.
Toronto’s posh Yorkville neighbourhood may sometimes seem intimidating, but you'll find there are plenty of welcoming places where you can relax with a fine beer. The area's robust patio offerings make post-work pints a must. Don’t forget that it's also a prime hood for a little casual TIFF-ing – people-watching here might result in a few celebrity sightings.
Hitting the TIFF morning events and in search of a pre- or post-show breakfast? These classy-meets-casual brunch joints are steps away from the Bell Lightbox, on bustling King West. Whether you’re a Bay Street local or a film buff in search of some morning grub and daytime cocktail, these spots will keep you fuelled during the festival. [Image credit: iStock.com/golero]
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