Dad’s Day is coming up all too quickly. (Didn’t we just celebrate Mom’s Day?). And instead of flowers and candy, you might buy a cool money clip or pearl-handle pen knife for Pops.
Here, then, are a few spots in Toronto, good for the entire family, but perhaps more laid back and comfortable for The Guys and/or The Sports Fan in the family. As a bonus, many of these places will take Dad back to his more casual student days.
Perhaps you are taking Dad to the game in one of Toronto’s major sports stadiums. This 14,000-foot brewpub is easy walking distance from either the Rogers Centre or the Air Canada Centre. This is one huge craft brewery/sports pub with four summer patios and servers that will suggest various beer and ale pairings with some upscale pub grub.
For a Dad of Irish descent — or someone who wants to get into the Irish spirit for an evening — there is no better place that Dora Keogh. This is an extremely comfortable pub, a friendly local just like you would find in The Olde Country. There is a separate room for a party as well as the back section known as ‘Yer Ma’s Kitchen’ which looks like an authentic Irish farmhouse kitchen from a past century. Oh yes, and Dora is known for its massive beer list and a packed bar of spirits, featuring, of course, their specialty drinks made with Irish whiskey.
Lone Star Texas Grill
Another big barn of a restaurant located steps from the city’s two major downtown sport stadiums — the Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre. This is one of the few places to go for authentic “Tex Mex” delights. Due to the location, this is a massive sports bar with TV screens throughout to broadcast sports on a global level. Good spicy cuisine — try the Mexican Shrimp Salsa Tostada with your choice of too many beers on tap.
McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon and Grill
A favorite spot for the Bayview residential crowd who live just east of the trendy Yonge and Eglinton area. This is a large, two-level neighbourhood spot, casual, filled with games, and a great outdoor patio. The food is good with an emphasis on burgers, wings, fries and some good finger foods. The beer choices are plentiful at this very friendly saloon.
Paradise Bar & Billiards
Does your dad like jazz? Perhaps a game of billiards? The perfect blend of the two can be found at the Paradise. There are eight billiard tables in the rear of the room while “The Unit” jazz quartet plays every Sunday. Father Jimmy and son Danny also serve up some of the best bar food in town; chicken wings, hamburgers, Greek fries (French fries with olive oil and feta cheese) and possibly the best Pork Souvlaki in town — which is saying something, since this billiards parlour is located in Greektown.
A very upscale restaurant/bar with a feel of a New York Upper East side neighborhood pub where everyone knows your name. The horseshoe-shaped bar is a friendly after-hours meeting spot with plenty of beer taps, wine choices and full bar. The food is imaginative and a step above pub fare — Organic Bison Burgers replace a standard hamburger and the Gastrohouse Poutine is made with duck confit.
This is the place to see any sports game in larger-than-life format; this bar boasts the largest TV screen in the world at two-and-a-half storeys tall! As well, any game in the world, anytime, can be found on the 199 flat screen TVs throughout this 25,000-sqare-foot space. There are 1,000 seats in the place which is a Mecca for sports fans with 114 beer taps constantly in action. Conveniently located just beside Union Station. Voted the # 1 Sports Bar in North America by ESPN.
Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar
The Rex has always been one of the city’s best and best-known little music clubs right on the middle of trendy Queen Street West. There is a steady stream of acts — from a solo singer to a blues band — during the day, evening and late at night. The food is dependable and plentiful pub fare with a steady supply of beer for the music lovers.
This is the downtown spot, right in the Entertainment District, that features 10-pin bowling. Ping pong, foosball and video gaming. And yes, they have lanes and lanes for bowlers who normally have to find an alley somewhere in the suburbs. You will always see some stressed-out lawyers or bankers from the nearby Business core blowing off some pressure - with a burgers and brew – as they mow down those 10 pins. Try the Tailgate Sliders or Thai Nachos.
Fancy pub food and a changing creative menu keep the regulars coming back along the ever-expanding restaurant row of King Street’s Entertainment District. The restaurant features vintage sports memorabilia (some of it for sale) with eight big screen TVs mounted behind the sea of beer taps at the bar.