Where to find good vibes and a game of pool in Toronto

For many years, Toronto’s billiards scene was well, lacking. Elderly dives and pubs hosted rickety tables and a questionable clientele, while beloved brewpubs and craft cocktail spots remained mysteriously billiard-less. For a while there, it seemed there was nowhere in the city where you could enjoy some good company, delicious drinks and a few rounds of pool – that is, until these sweet bars stepped up.

The Dock Ellis

1
1280 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1X7

Named for the famed professional baseball player who threw a no-hitter on LSD, this Dundas West bar brings together sports fans and hipsters alike for craft cocktails, gourmet pub fare, and an assemblage of easy-to-engage-in bar games. Hang out in the loungey front area with antique crushed velvet couches and romantic lighting, grab a communal table to watch the game, or head to the back of the main floor for a round of foosball, shuffleboard, or pool. Double down and head to the basement for a late-night dance party or quick game of ping-pong.

Disgraceland

2
965 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1L7

There’s fun to be had in many forms at this long-loved Bloorcourt bar. Drink down a locally brewed pint and pull a board game off the shelf, or head to the backroom for a few rounds of billiards. There’s the perfect divey quality of colourful Christmas lights, a wraparound bar, comfy booths, and relaxed bartenders at this seasoned spot. Wildcard: Disgraceland’s vegan mac ‘n’ cheese has made a name for itself as one of the best in the city.

Rhino Bar & Grill Inc

3
1249 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L5

Not one but two pool tables populate the back room of this sprawling Parkdale brewpub. Open all day, it’s a sweet spot for an afternoon pint (they host an entirely impressive selection of local and international craft beers and even a few on-tap ciders), and a few rounds of pool with a pal. Or, trade bustling Fridays on the dance floor for a few casual drinks at the horseshoe-shaped bar in the main room.

Duffy's Tavern

4
1238 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1N3

This long-time Bloordale watering hole got a 2012 makeover which brought an upgraded menu of traditional pub favourites, a charming and more restaurant-y diner beside the bar area, and a few decorative nods that create a charming, friendly and cool vibe. This is the type of spot that hosts open-mic nights, group readings for emerging writers, weekly wing specials and heaps of sports fans for the Saturday afternoon Jays game, lending it an eclecticism that suits the multi-faceted Bloordale neighbourhood in which it finds itself. Oh, and they have pay-by-the-hour pool in the back room ;).

Rivoli

5
332 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A2

Ah, the heralded seven-days-a-week live music bar at the foot of Chinatown. The multi-story Rivoli is a veteran dive with an irresistible local charm and young clientele, making it an evergreen hangout spot for a pitcher of sangria or a few rounds of pool in the billiards room upstairs.

The Silver Dollar Room

6
486 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 2H1

With its giant blue-neon signage and frequent crowds outside the entrance, Chinatown’s old-school bluegrass bar turned eclectic live music venue is hard to miss. You’ll find the young and old gathering here for nightly concerts and group shows, a budding hipster crowd alongside seasoned, music-loving regulars. Take a break from the tunes in favour of a few rounds of billiards in the semi-enclosed room of pool tables neighbouring the stage and main bar.

Bedford Academy Inc

7
36 Prince Arthur Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 1A9

Frequented by maybe the entirety of UofT, this pub is located in a gorgeously quaint Victorian home in Yorkville, providing the cozy vibe of small and separate rooms, each well-supplied with booths, tables and servers slinging upgraded pub fare and pitchers of craft beer. There’s no pool table on the main floor, but a little-known secret of the academics-gone-wild spot is a billiards area in the private Prince Arthur room upstairs, which you can reserve for group get-togethers and end-of-term parties, allowing a little friendly competition to permeate the highbrow conversation.

Our talented brewmasters are among the most beloved makers in the city, having carved out Toronto’s status as a destination for award-winning craft beer. Although the culture is home-grown and goes way back, post 2011, a slew of new spots have popped up across the city. Here are the stories behind both our famed microbreweries and innovative newcomers on the scene. [Photo credit: Celine Kim]
From second-storey terraces to canopy-covered courtyards, 2016 has been a good year for Toronto’s patio game. We’ve got the goods on the brand-new brewery on Roncesvalles and the Lakeshore’s most recent party-worthy spot. East to west, these resto-bar newcomers have created inspired outdoor spaces so you can start patio season off right. [Image credit: iStock.com/Sean Pavone] 
On Sunday May 1st 2016, the Artscape Wychwood Barns hosts TO’s largest festival for gluten-free foodies. With workshops led by gluten-free experts and over 65 food vendors to sample from, this event is a must-attend for wheat-sensitive Torontonians. From cupcakes to malt beer and cider tastings, the Gluten Free Garage is where to snack up and stock up this weekend. [Photo by Franco Deleo; courtesy of the Gluten Free Garage]
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