Toronto sports fans are a unique bunch. They have their favourite sports (basketball, soccer, baseball, football, tennis, golf, auto racing, you name it…), but almost all of them have a passion for hockey too. Go to any sports bar in downtown Toronto and you’ll meet die-hard Maple Leafs fans. But where can you go to find fans of other sports? We not-so-reluctantly did a tour and figured it out.
Soccer fans — Scallywags
It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but don’t let that fool you. When the footy’s on the telly, Scallywags goes bananas (they even get a special permit to open early during Euro and World Cup). The owners are proud Manchester United supporters, so enter Scallywags wearing anything but red at your own risk.
Basketball fans — Hoops
With the Scotiabank Arena right down the street and the Toronto Raptors on track to bring home their first championship ever, showing up at Hoops on game day is all kinds of fun. It helps that they crank the volume up for the games and that the play-by-play team on TV (Matt Devlin and Leo Rautins) are fantastic to listen to.
Baseball fans — The Dock Ellis
Named after only baseball player to throw a no-hitter while on LSD, the Dock Ellis is Toronto’s long-standing home for watching baseball and talking baseball. But be careful who you strike up a conversation within there: the regulars know EVERYTHING about baseball, and they’ll call you out if you don’t.
Rugby fans — Hemingway’s
Less of a sports bar and more of a Yorkville hangout, Hemingway’s has one of the best patios in Toronto, and definitely some of the nicest wait staff. The owner’s a Kiwi and never misses a chance to show the All Blacks on his TV screens. If you want to catch some rugger and you don’t mind hobnobbing with Toronto’s beautiful people, this is your spot.
Horse racing fans — WEGZ Stadium Bar
WEG stands for Woodbine Entertainment Group, and Woodbine Racetrack is Toronto’s oldest operating racetrack and the yearly host of the Queen’s Plate (which the Queen of England attends with relative regularity). WEGZ has live betting in the bar itself, a golf simulator and enough room for as many people as you want to bring. It’s a bit of a trek, but well worth it.
Gay sports fans — Strikers
It took forever to put a sports bar in Toronto’s gay village, but now that Strikers is there, it’s doing very well. They have a fantastic cocktail list and Canada’s first frosted bar rail to keep drinks cold. Very cool.
Sports bar fans — Real Sports
Everybody talks about Real Sports as being the classiest, coolest and most happening sports bar in Toronto. And it’s hard to argue with that. It’s attached to the Scotiabank Centre. It has what feels like a 75-storey big screen at the front and the food is outstanding (especially the wings).
But the BEST sports bar in Toronto for you is right downstairs
The Strath Pub has thirty-five domestic and imported beers. Wine from across Canada. Forty-two plasma flat panel TVs. And no travel at the end of the night. Perfect.