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

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.


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

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

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 ;).


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

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

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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