Best Sports Bars Downtown Toronto

With Toronto’s rich sporting history and the fact that Ontario’s capital city has professional teams – think the Blue Jays, the Raptors and the Maple Leafs, to name just three – in almost every single major league in North America, it is no surprise that there is a wealth of choice when it comes to sports bars where you can camp out for an evening and support your side.

And when it comes to the downtown area, in particular, you can barely move for establishments featuring multiple televisions, beers on tap, and hearty pub grub to keep you going while the games keep playing on the screen.

So here – in no particular order – are a selection of our favourite places to enjoy a few drinks with friends while taking in a game.

Round the Horn

331 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto (416) 785-2123

Right on the western fringe of downtown Toronto is Round the Horn, a sports bar that isn’t an ‘in your face’ sports bar whatsoever.
What Round the Horn offers is something a little more subtle: it’s definitely geared for sports – it has a ‘man cave’, pinball machine and televisions aplenty, after all – but whereas other watering holes tend to have the latest live game-playing loud and proud, here it almost becomes part of the décor.

There are trophy displays, the man cave boasts PlayStations and board games, but the overall vibe here is of a friendly local bar that you will just love to spend time in – and you can catch the game while you’re here if you want to.

The drinks list is excellent – mostly local beers available on tap or in cans, with a smattering of cocktails too – while there is a light menu dominated by hot dogs and nachos, and a great outdoor patio to hang out with friends. And did we mention the free candy at the bar? We told you this was a place you’ll love to spend time in…

The Loose Moose

146 Front St W., Toronto (416) 977-8840

Thirty years in the bar trade is no mean feat, so there’s a very good reason The Loose Moose has remained one of the top drinking venues in Toronto for three decades: it’s simply a fantastic place to go for a night out.

A staple on downtown’s Front Street and recently given a spit and polish – described as ‘putting lipstick on a moose’ – to add yet more slickness to the operation, this second floor bar-cum-restaurant peppered with vintage signs, rustic tables and an excellent vibe remains a true favourite and now offers even more to its patrons. Boasting an eye-popping liquor collection – nudging three hundred bottles of some of the finest or on-trend spirits available – as well as an array of draught beers, you are well looked after in terms of drinks, while the revamped, extensive menu has a mouth-watering selection of Epic Burgers with a supporting cast of the usual belly-filling favourites such as nachos, shareable slider platters, ‘Big Ass’ sandwiches and much more.

Throw in multiple screens above the bar area to catch whatever game you want, a huge interior to hang out with friends, plus The Antler Room housed below The Loose Moose for live music and events, and this place comfortably has at least another thirty years left in its tank…

Striker Sports Bar

31 St Joseph St, Toronto, (416) 929-9595

Opened in 2016, Striker Sports Bar is located a short hop from the city’s gay village and is the only LGBTQ bar in Toronto. With its motto of ‘All inclusive, All the Time’, Striker’s owners Vince Silva and Oliver Douglas have established a thriving mecca for people wanting a place where judgement is left at the door and where they can simply be themselves.

The bar is modern and welcoming, with super-attentive – not to mention sports-knowledgeable – staff, and there is ample space for large groups to get together and enjoy myriad sporting events across the venue’s sixteen large screen televisions – on which Toronto games are always given precedence.

Proudly boasting the first ‘Frost Rail’ (where drinks are kept cold on a line of shaved ice that runs the length of the bar) and a good selection of beers available in cans, pitchers or via draught, plus signature cocktails – Maple Leaf Dreams, anyone? – and a raft of wine choices, there is plenty to sip and slurp on while you catch the latest NFL match.

Add to this a small but perfectly formed menu containing classics such as wings, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas or shareable platters, and Striker Sports Bar is a perfect spot for a relaxing, hassle-free night out.

The Pint Public House

277 Front St W, Toronto, (647) 340-6395

Located within spitting distance of the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto, The Pint is a good old down-to-earth beer and pub grub chain bar with little pretentiousness but a whole lot of easy-going atmosphere.

Stuffed with dark woods, acres of lamp-lighting and enough levels within its walls to hold more than eight hundred people, The Pint is something of a tourist trap and boasts two dance floors offering weekend DJ sets, an impressive outdoor patio space, and enough sports entertainment to satisfy even the most demanding of fans.

‘The bar’s ‘Upper Deck’ – or second floor – has an array of games including billiards and arcade games, along with live music nights on Wednesdays and Fridays, and is a further massive area that can be enjoyed during an evening out or as a rentable space for private events.

With a great menu of award-winning ’40 way wings’, tacos, shareable plates and much, much more, there is something for everyone at The Pint, and the large selection of big screen wall-mounted televisions means none of the action will be missed during game-time.

Real Sports Bar & Grill

15 York St, Toronto (416) 815-7325

The very definition of huge, Real Sports Bar & Grill is a cavernous space boasting the Daddy of sports screens that dominates the colossal room and easily dwarfs the large amount of televisions that dot the walls everywhere else you look.

Almost a mini-stadium in itself, Real Sports draws Raptors and Maple Leaf followers in equal – and very large – number, meaning the atmosphere inside the venue is frequently loud, enjoyable and a whole lot of fun. Multiple beers, shots, coolers and cocktails make up the lengthy drinks list, while for those who need to demolish some hearty favourites while watching a game are well-served here: the menu isn’t massive but what is on offer is classic and very tasty.

Think wings, nachos, a choice of burgers, ‘greens’ and an array of dishes from the smoker and you’ll know what we mean – this is finger-licking stuff to enjoy while you pan from screen to screen to watch all the sporting action Real Sports has to offer.

The Dock Ellis

1280 Dundas St W, Toronto, (416) 792-8472

As with the aforementioned Round the Horn, The Dock Ellis – named after the infamously perma-stoned baseball pitcher – does sports-bar-but-subtle very well indeed.

Essentially a relaxing, no-frills entertainment spot for all-comers, The Dock Ellis has its televisions mounted behind the bar and a neat ‘play area’ tucked away towards the back of the venue, so the games are there if you want them but it’s not so up in your grill as to be off-putting.

The place offers low lighting and plenty of stark, wooden furniture to drape yourself across, and while not a huge drinking hole it has enough room to cater for large groups of patrons and even crams in pool tables, foosball, darts and ping pong, should you be inclined to play sports rather than watch.

The real stars of the show here, though, are the food and drink: draught beers are plentiful with an impressive selection of brands and a rotation of craft choices, while the food is uniformly excellent, considering it’s ‘just’ pub grub on offer.

Brunches, nachos, wings, briskets, sandwiches and poutine abound, so there’s plenty to get your mouth around while you catch a live game.

King Taps

100 King St W, Toronto, (647) 361-2025 

Rocking an upscale industrial diner vibe with décor consisting of exposed redbrick and spartan wood furniture, King Taps is, to say the least, spacious. Set over two floors – Dougie’s bar downstairs, Maria’s above – and a number of levels within each, with multiple seating areas and exterior patios, it can comfortably fit close to five hundred people at a time and at peak hours does just that: there are occasions when you’ll struggle to get in, never mind grab a table, so popular is the venue.

Tucked in between a warren of offices in downtown’s First Canadian Place, it’s a go-to drinking spot for staff looking to lunch or blow off post-work steam and catch a game on one of the myriad television screens bolted to walls behind bars or hanging from the rafters and pillars.

A massive selection of beers – at least fifty at the last count – along with some high end pub meals prepped in an open kitchen as well as superb pizzas make a visit to King Taps something to add to your to-do list.

The Football Factory

164 Bathurst St, Toronto, (416) 368-4625

No, not that football – this is soccer football we’re talking about here. The Football Factory is a niche bar within the sports bar staple, as it is one of few solely dedicated to the spherical ball game of English origin, but it’s none the worse for it.

Just because it’s soccer, however, don’t assume it’s going to be loud and stuffed full of rowdy, drunken footy (to use the British slang) fans – this place is actually pretty high end, with an upmarket vibe and some fabulous food on offer.

The regular haunt of Toronto FC followers during season-time, The Football Factory isn’t the largest but its interior is a sleek and modern mix of black wall tiles and matching leather seating, complemented by an outdoor patio area and stuffed with more than a dozen large wall-mounted televisions to watch the various sports on offer, plus four private booths where you control the viewing.

Drinks are extensive and the food is pub grub staples but done with real panache; oysters feature in a plate of ‘Angels on Horseback’, while the rest of the menu contains similarly grand plates along with market-fresh ingredients and a raft of upscale bistro dishes to enjoy.

Also, if you’re at Exhibition Stadium on game day, there are a few bars in Liberty Village, across from the stadium, that are popular with fans. Check out The Craft Brasserie, Local Public Eatery, and Liberty Commons, if you’re looking for pre-game bites, or celebratory pint afterwards.

Shark Club

10 Dundas St E, Toronto, (416) 506-0753

If you’re looking for TV screens, Shark Club at Yonge and Dundas Square is the place to go in terms of sports bars in downtown Toronto.

Like Real Sports Bar, Shark Club has an enormous fifteen footer of a viewing screen that dominates the bar area, and if that wasn’t enough then there are fifty-seven smaller LED televisions dotted around the venue just in case you’re the type who likes to watch multiple games at once.

The pièce de résistance though is the ace ‘ticker-tape’ that stretches for ninety feet, with constant scores and updates rolling past your eyes as you sup on your drink or chew your food.

Shark Club is part of an ever-expanding chain, with venues across Canada and the UK, and its owners consider it ‘Sports HQ’. The atmosphere in the Toronto bar is lively and great fun, with a hugely impressive drinks selection – from draughts to cans to ciders, excellent cocktails and wines – and a menu that offers everything from pizzas, jambalaya and ‘handhelds’ (think burgers, sandwiches and wraps).

Rec Room

255 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, (416) 815-0086

Huge, high-ceilinged and airy, Rec Room is a big (and little) kid’s paradise, set in a truly stunning forty-thousand square foot space in downtown Toronto, right next door to the CN Tower.

A quite breathtaking mash-up of industrial piping, acres of wood, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views and enough seating, nooks and crannies to lose yourself for many hours – and that’s before we start on the entertainment – this venue is quite exceptional and well worth a visit, set as it is in the old John Street Roundhouse.

A mixture of an amusement park, restaurant, sports bar and enormous play centre, Rec Room boasts a multitude of things to see and do, including dozens of arcade games, a live music stage and billiards, as well as the country’s only world-class virtual reality system dubbed ‘The Void’.

Sport fans are well catered for in terms of viewing with a huge projector screen at the rear of the stage as well as a number of impressively big TVs, but if you long for some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the interior Rec Room has lots of outdoor seating areas for you to enjoy, while Three10, the in-house restaurant, serves up a host of filling classics such as wood-fired pizzas, lasagne and even pretzels with beer cheese.

As you would expect given its size, there’s something for everyone at Rec Room to enjoy.

Well there you have it, ten of the best places to watch some games when you’re in downtown Toronto.

Mississauga Sports Bars

Mississauga has all the usual entertainment venues you would expect from a bustling modern city, with a whole host of eateries, wine bars, and high-end restaurants to visit for that special occasion. But sometimes you just want a good old unpretentious night out with friends or family, and a chance to let your hair down – and that is where sports bars enter the frame. Need a chicken wing hit, or a draft beer selection to boggle your mind? Hitting the town with the guys after work and want to watch the live game or fight? Mississauga has all the sports bars you will ever want, so here are our fave Mississauga sports bars to kick back and relax…

Wingporium

170 Lakeshore Rd. East, Mississauga (905) 990-4300

Just a few hundred metres from Tall Oaks Park and the shore of Lake Ontario’s Port Credit, Wingporium takes a simple concept – bar food, dominated by chicken wings, and lots of them – and does it exceedingly well.

So popular it now has multiple restaurants across the region, the eatery first opened its doors in 2005 but has quickly expanded, its rapid success underlining just how good it really is. Family-owned, and with a welcoming, casual vibe across its six locations, Wingporium offers a comprehensive selection of dishes that include appetizers such as jalapeño poppers and beer-battered shrimp, ‘pub grub’ such as pulled jerk chicken sandwiches or fish and chips, as well as wedges, salads and a host of beverage choices.

Wings, though, are the main draw here: the flavour, heat and combo choices are amazing, from 10 lb platters to plates of plump, juicy chicken smothered in Black Mamba sauce that is so hot it comes with a health warning. Throw in daily specials, takeout and pick up options, an outdoor patio and enough live sports to keep the most demanding fan happy, and Wingporium is pretty hard to beat.

Cities Sports Bar & Grill

5835 Dixie Rd, Mississauga (905) 795-7775

Unassuming yet enjoyably lively, Cities Sports Bar & Grill is located on Dixie Road just off the 401 Express and describes itself as ‘Your Home Away from Home’. While not the largest bar in Mississauga, it makes up for its lack of size with its big heart: there are fun times to be had here, with a thoroughly hospitable atmosphere, great staff and half a dozen televisions – along with a huge projector screen – to catch up on the latest sporting action.

The boisterous atmosphere is further enlivened by a great selection of draught and bottled beers, enjoyable – and pretty large – bar meals such as burgers, nachos or wings, and occasional live music. Shed your pretensions at the door with Cities Sports Bar & Grill, and enjoy a relaxed, casual night out with family or friends.

The Crown and Lion

7985 Financial Dr, Brampton (905) 453-1000

A short drive north of Mississauga, The Crown and Lion English Pub in Brampton doesn’t particularly resemble a traditional UK watering hole from the outside – its façade is more shopping plaza chic than grand Victorian edifice – but it more than makes up for it with its interior: with plenty of rich mahogany panelling, lush red carpets and lots of comfortable seating cross the tables, bar stools and banquettes that surround the lengthy bar, what you have is the ambience of a proper Brit ‘boozer’ right in the middle of Mississauga.

For beer enthusiasts The Crown and Lion offers an impressive amount of bitters, ales and lagers imported from ‘The Motherland’, most of which are on tap, and its menu it positively enormous, running the gamut from soups and salads to starters and sharing plates, daily specials (for example, Monday is ‘Wing Day’, while Saturday is for fajitas), along with a choice of burgers, grill items and hearty comfort food including steak and Guinness pie, liver and onions or the house curry.

Cooper’s Pub

780 Burnhamthorpe Rd W, Mississauga (905) 275-3245

Running the Crown and Lion a close race for best classic wood-accented pub interior in Mississauga is Cooper’s Pub, found right in the heart of the city on Burnhamthorpe Road West.

With décor that screams ‘traditional Irish’ – think emerald carpeting, raised drinking and dining areas, glass and brass room dividers and an abundance of leather Chesterfield sofa-style cubicles – Cooper’s simply demands sinking plenty of the black stuff while you enjoy the buzzing atmosphere and watch a choice of sports on fifteen televisions dotted around the walls and above the redbrick fireplace.

Cooper’s prides itself on being your ‘neighbourhood pub’ providing great food, service and atmosphere, and the menu is something to behold: packed with crowd-pleasers such as steak & kidney pie, bangers ‘n mash and shepherd’s pie, along with handcrafted burgers, grill choices, a raft of appetizers and salads, soups, poutines, spuds and sandwiches.

Big Slick Bar & Billiards

1965 Britannia Rd W, Mississauga (905) 858-7768

When simply watching sports is not enough, Big Slick Bar & Billiards allows you to get involved in a little healthy competition while you sink a few drinks with friends.

Situated on a somewhat tired-looking strip mall at Streetsville Junction, Big Slick’s interior is in sharp contrast to its drab exterior and surroundings: it’s a surprisingly roomy place, packed with billiard tables, bright décor and offering a laid-back yet buzzing atmosphere where games are constantly ongoing and the staff are happily serving cold draft beers to patrons from midday to the early hours of the morning.

Very popular during peak times – you may have to wait a short time for a pool table, for example – Big Slick’s is great for just hanging out with friends while you listen to music (there’s often a live DJ set from Thursday to the weekend) and chow down on chicken wings while you wait to take your next shot.

Fred’s Bar & Grill

636 Bloor St, Mississauga (905) 279-0097

Located on a busy little shopping plaza just off Bloor Street, Fred’s Bar & Grill is a family-owned and run establishment that has been serving customers since 1990.

Original owner Fred Fazzolari’s mission statement was to provide a friendly neighbourhood bar ‘where customers could unite for the enjoyment of his three passions – food, drink and sports’. Given its longevity, it’s safe to say Fred’s Bar & Grill has succeeded magnificently: the place continues to go from strength to strength, providing a modern, cosy and very lively space where patrons can enjoy each other’s company, along with the excellent drinks and pub grub on offer.

The menu is extensive, with favourites including fish & chips, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and seafood linguine, coupled with a whole host of pizza choices, pasta dishes, salads, appetizers, burgers, fingers and bites.

Every major sporting event is covered on the selection of televisions, while if you just want to eat, drink and chat with friends in relative peace there’s a fab outside patio area where you can kick back and watch the world drift by.

So next time you’re looking for a night out, try some of the Mississauga sports bars that are just a bit past Toronto.

Italian restaurants in Brampton

Resting on the northwestern fringes of Toronto, the city of Brampton is proud of its vibrancy and sense of community, with a thriving arts, culture and entertainment scene along with an exciting and varied choice of places to dine out. Brampton boasts ultra-hip coffee joints that rub shoulders with gastropubs, high-end eateries, Asian-influenced all-you-can-eat places and a raft of takeout spots, but when it comes to that old favourite – Italian cuisine – the city really shines. Italian restaurants in Brampton are as classic, comforting yet diverse as the dishes they serve, so here is a selection – in no particular order – of our favourite places to grab some of those beloved plates of food.

Italian restaurants in Brampton

  • Fanzorelli’s

    50 Queen St W, Brampton (905) 450-9752

    A Brampton stalwart since 1989, Fanzorelli’s Restaurant and Wine Bar is your quintessential Italian trattoria: homely, welcoming and with understated elegance – think plenty of natural wood, tiled floors and white linen – where the friendly and attentive staff serve up tasty, heart-warming dishes that everyone will recognise. Menu highlights include slow-braised lamb rack, curried coconut gnocchi and a huge selection of pasta and pizzas, the latter of which are baked in a stone oven. An authentic and wonderful place.

  • Antica Osteria

    3088 Mayfield Rd, Brampton (905) 495-5555

    Sophistication is the keyword with Antica Osteria, because this eatery serves up genuine Italian thrills with its warm, charming interior of whitewash and wood-panelling, coupled with an unhurried, high end yet casual vibe. This makes Antica Osteria the ideal place for a special evening out with family or a loved one, with a menu offering items such as medley of mussels, clams, jumbo shrimps, sea scallops, calamari and lobster tail or certified Angus beef steaks, as well as options for private dining, special events and catering. Owned and run by Silvana and Domenic Greco, who use their extensive knowledge of Calabrian cooking – Silvana herself is the descendant of a family of cooks – to serve dishes packed with fresh ingredients, top quality meats and exquisite seafood, many of which are imported from Italy.

  • Vesuvio Restaurante

    91 George St S, Brampton (905) 459-0511

    Sleek and enjoyable, Vesuvio is a well-appointed eatery located just off Main Street South in the heart of the city. Décor of creams and browns provide an inviting interior while the service is impeccable and the food top-notch: this is fine Italian dining and often described as one of the best restaurants – not just Italian – in Brampton. Opened since 1963, Vesuvio continues to thrive amongst an ever-growing dining scene in the city, holding its own against myriad young upstarts and the changing palates of foodies. A TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Winner for several years straight, Vesuvio Restaurante is one for those seeking absolutely classic trattoria dishes – think mussels and clams in marinara, ground beef ravioli or veal parmesan – but done very well indeed.

  • Italian Garden

    10069 Hurontario St, Brampton (905) 846-0229

    At the opposite end of the scale to Vesuvio, but certainly, no worse for it is the Italian Garden. While the interior may be charitably described as functional – picture a small but colourful and welcoming diner-style place tucked at the end of a small mall – it more than makes up for any lack of pizazz by offering excellent service, fast takeout and some mouth-watering comfort food selections. Italian Garden Restaurant is family owned and runs, with authentic dishes – you can even concoct your own dinner combos – and an extensive menu for eating in, taking away or even as a catering option. When you need a genuine Italian meatball sub or to grab a sausage sandwich on the run, Italian Garden is the place to go in Brampton.

  • Nancy Trattoria

    2023 Williams Pkwy, Brampton (905) 792-7822

    Nestled on the northern outskirts of the city, Nancy Trattoria is a charming, cosy little place that makes up for its lack of actual size by offering generous portions of scrumptious homemade Italian faves. There’s nothing flash here – the exterior is unassuming, to say the least, and the interior is clean yet basic – but the food is as lovely as the atmosphere with the husband and wife team that owns the place making sure that guests leave after a good, hearty meal of classics enjoyed in casual, friendly surroundings. A great selection of pizzas, pasta and decadent desserts make up the menu – Brampton locals refer to Nancy Trattoria as a hidden gem, and one that is well worth seeking out.

  • Bucatini Restaurant and Wine Bar

    170 Bovaird Dr W, Brampton (905) 459-6777

    Safely tucked within the top twenty list of best eateries in Brampton, Bucatini Restaurant and Wine Bar is a slick, modern affair located just off Main, and the recipient of multiple Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor over the years.  Frequently busy, with a capacious interior to handle the steady flow of patrons, the restaurant interior is elegant yet contemporary with a wide choice of tables, high seating and banquettes for those more romantic occasions. Food-wise there is much to admire, with – much like the décor – a simple yet attractive selection of plates and platters, from antipasto to insalata, a healthy choice of pizzas and pasta, plus entrees that boast dishes such as Osso Buco (braised veal shank) and striploin Black Angus steaks done to perfection. Bucatini states its main ingredient is simplicity, and it’s safe to say keeping it simple – yet excellent – is doing it no harm whatsoever.

  • Gusto Pizzaria

    135 Main St N, Brampton (905) 455-1010

    Right in the heart of the city on Main Street North sits Gusto Pizzaria, a classic pizza takeout place and ‘Brampton’s Slice of Italy’. Described as an authentic mom ‘n pop Italian eatery by its (many) fans, Gusto occupies a small corner redbrick on a busy junction, making it a perfect location for hungry passers-by to just drop in and order something to go. And drop in they do, with a wide variety of pies, slices, calzones and panzerottis to choose from, accompanied by a huge selection of toppings and dipping sauces. Throw in some classic Italian sandwiches such as veal, sausage or steak, along with pasta dishes including cannelloni and fettuccini, as well as the option to eat in, take out, or have them provide catering for you, and Gusto ticks all the right boxes.

Hopefully, this list of Italian restaurants in Brampton gives you some ideas next time you’re visiting the city.