Beer bars in Canada are varied depending which side of the country you live in. This page will provide some information on some of the better beer bars in a few of the major cities. In terms of beer bars we’re looking at bars that are showing good craft beer, whether that is in a brewpub, or publican who changes the taps around.
One of the joys of traveling a lot is running into the fun people in these bars whom are either locals, or there by chance, and sometimes people have read various websites to find the place. Sometimes websites can be a big let down for finding a beer bar that you hope is good.
In terms of beer in Canada, it can be described as exceptional in some regards, and needs improvement in the majority of cases. Canada is hampened by tougher liquor and beer regulations that the southern neighbor and this has to be taken into account when trying to judge Canadian beer or beer bars.
We are looking at Vancouver (including Victoria) and Toronto and Montreal. Though there are some great beers coming from the prairies, I have not been to bars in those provinces.
- Having a largely French Speaking population many of the brewpub names are in French, which makes sense.
Dieu Du Ciel – 29 avenue Laurier Ouest, Montreal, QC H2T 2N2
- Having been to Montreal a hand full of times, but never to this brewpub I can only it would be my 1st stop if I were to land in the city again. Their beers are exceptional and likely the best brewed beers, seasonal beers in the country. There are no Imperial beers that rate or are regarded outside of Canada as better than the Dieu beers.
- Being the business capital of the country it is not surprising that it has a wider selection of bars carrying ranges of beers. There are 4 bars that are worth noting for their beer selection. Though there are likely hundreds of other bars in the city, the best selling beer in these other bars is beers such as Kokanee or Alexander Keiths.
Bar Volo 587 Yonge St, Toronto
This bar was voted #14 in the top #50 bars in the world in Rate Beers 2009 Survey. The bar carries Dieu Du Ciel beers, and their bottle selection is one of the best in Canada for a beer bar. They have about 10 taps and 1-2 cask beers. Bar Volo is a definite stop when in Toronto for business or pleasure. The locals are also quite the characters too, as an ex-local to this bar I’m very partial to it.
Beer Bistro – 18 King St, Toronto
Located literally right on the King Subway station downtown. The beer selection is superb, as are the bottles. They have various sizes of beers of sought after Canadian and European beers. There are no macro brands on their taps and the bar is part owned (still?) by beer writer Stephen Beaumont, who can be seen around the place. The staff knowledge of beer is definitely a bonus, and the food is exceptional. Though its very restaurant in catering to the nearby financial market diners, it’s a bar that none the less caters to the city’s many beer nerds.
C’est What 67 Front St Toronto
Located not far from the great St Lawrence Markets, its a brewpub that brews their own beers. This bar is one I visited after work numerous times, and there can be times when its crowded beyond belief, but its a nice brewpub in the heart of the busiest cities in Canada. Beer can be average to excellent, and that depends on the beers available.
Victory Cafe 581 Markham St. Toronto
The feel of this bar is what I love about it, though its located in amongst a tacky building called ‘HONEST ED’S’. Don’t be afraid and venture forth to try the beers in this bar. The bar is owned by some Brit Expats that only have craft beer on tap.
The wonderful West Coast is where I call home now. Without doubt the most beautiful city in Canada and one that has a great and thriving Beer Scene. But beer on the coast is not all about Granville Island Brewing or Kokanee, but some great brewpubs combined with some exceptional beers that have made dents on the world stage. Primarily BC is filled with ‘Brewpubs’ and few beer bars that have craft taps.
Alibi Room - Alexander St (Cnr Main St) Vancouver @alibiroom
This bar is without doubt the best Beer Bar in Canada with their 26 taps and 2 hand pumped casks with a huge selection of Canadian beers with some US craft beers always available. The owner is another Brit Expat who loves his beer and is running his bar about the beer, not the location. The beers are rotated consistently and depending on when you visit will depend what’s available. Sitting at the bar and asking questions is your best bet.Note there are no TV’s.
Saint Augustines Vancouver – 2630 Commercial Drive, Vancouver Twitter@staugustinesvan
The area known as ‘The Drive’ is one that you either love or hate, but this bar is on the corner of Commercial and Broadway. There are 40 taps of quality Craft beer available with a growing selection of US beers making their way on the rotation. The owners are both lovers of beer and trying to provide a great venue to be able to watch Hockey games with great beers available. Always a Rogue and Deschutes tap on.
Rogue WetBar – Waterfront Station, Vancouver Twitter@roguewetbar
The bar is the sister bar to Steamworks brewpub next door and used to be called the transcontinental. There are 20 taps of both local and import beers on at this bar. Bar staff are fairly knowledgeable and they appear to have a not so changeable selection to make it interesting compared to Alibi or Augustines but enough beers for any non-locals to find both US and Canadian beers. They do beers by the ‘Jugs’ which can work out cheaper for some of the good craft beer on tap.