Let the games begin! Here are 10 Toronto bars to watch World Cup soccer

So many games, so little time.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins Thursday (June 14) in all its celebratory glory as host Russia plays Group A opponents Saudi Arabia in Moscow at 11 a.m. TSN/CTV (they are seven hours ahead).

It’s the first of 64 matches as 32 teams play in 12 venues across 11 host cities until the final July 15.

Toronto’s multicultural population will transform Canada’s largest city into one gigantic soccer lovefest for the next month, as it’s done during previous World Cups, and if you’re not actually going to Russia the next best thing is to watch the game on TV with a bunch of sweaty, face-painted fellow soccer enthusiasts.

Here’s my list of 10 Toronto bars (and restaurants) to watch world-class matches of “the beautiful game:”

(Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

Real Sports Bar and Grill, 15 York Street, 416-815-REAL (7325), reservations recommended: Voted the No. 1 sports bar in North America by ESPN, you can watch the game here on a 39-foot HD big screen or one of 199 HD TVs. There’s also 50 beers from over 126 draught taps in a 25,000 square foot room next to the Air Canada Centre. Go big or go home.

(Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

Cafe Diplomatico, 594 College Street (and Clinton), 416-534-4637: Less slick but so authentic, soccer fans will be out in droves at this Little Italy hot spot known affectionately as “The Dip,” which has been around since 1968. Despite their beloved Italy not qualifying, fans can cheer on other teams on the hard-to-beat patio, and the final game is always fun here with a street closure and video wall outside.

Michael Peake/Toronto Sun files

Irish Embassy, 49 Yonge Street (and Wellington), 416-866-8282: Located in the Financial District, there is no Ireland or Northern Ireland to cheer for this year, but that won’t put a damper on the World Cup celebrations at this large bar and restaurant. And if it’s too crowded there’s always their sister property, P.J. O’ Brien’s around the corner (39 Colborne Street).

( function() { pnLoadVideo( “videos”, “woqM76xkl88”, “pn_video_699599”, “”, “”, [] ); } )();

The Dock Ellis, 1280 Dundas Street West (and Dovercourt), 416-792-8472: Named after the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher who said he threw a no-hitter in 1970 under the influence of LSD, this fun sports bar has communal tables, Ontario craft beer on tap, and numerous big and small TVs. And situated between Little Italy and Little Portugal, it’s definitely centred in one of the city’s soccer hot spots.

(Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

Football Factory, 164 Bathurst Street (and Queen), 416-368-4625: One of the regular meeting places for Toronto FC fans before BMO Field games, this 80-seat soccer bar has 13 HDTV’s and four private booths. Best of all it will be open daily at 7:00 a.m. daily during the World Cup until the Canada Day long weekend and 9:00 a.m. following that. Don’t forget, there’s also Red Card/Yellow Card Martinis.

(Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

Scallywags, 11 St. Clair West (and Yonge), 416-922-3737: During the recent Champions League Final, there was an early long lineup around the block at this Liverpool supporters bar in mid-town Toronto. So it’s bound to be England territory during the World Cup especially at their upstairs patio and second bar.

The Oxley, 121 Yorkville Ave (and Hazleton) 647-348-1300: This red house in Yorkville with an inviting forest green interior is for the more refined soccer fan with two patios, and two bars including the adorable upstairs pub, The Snug. Also, among their “classic British dishes” are roast beef with Yorkshire pudding for Sunday brunch. You may also like to check out its equally stylish sister property, the Queen & Beaver, at 35 Elm Street, between Bay and Yonge, especially the second floor outside deck.

Don Quixote, 1331 St. Clair West (near Lansdowne), 416) 652-7777: Right in the centre of St. Clair “the capital of soccer when it comes to celebrations during the World Cup,” according to Toronto City Councillor Cesar Palacio, this restaurant has a huge patio and outdoor TV screens. Palacio also likes Rio 40 Degrees and Tricolore Bar & Cafe on St. Clair.

The Monarch, 12 Clinton Street (and Henderson), 416-531-5833: Another neighbourhood gem in Little Italy, between Dundas West and College, this one’s a real landmark having served the area since 1927. Fifteen local craft beers and the best selection of bourbon whiskey is on tap upstairs.

(Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

Firkin on Yonge, 207 Yonge Street (and Shuter), 647-345-0455: Choose a Firkin, any Firkin. There are 25 Firkin pubs in Greater Toronto so I just went with the one I most recently visited in downtown Toronto, where I walked up to the second floor, and enjoyed myself with friends on a Union Jack patterned couch. Britannia definitely rules here.

BEERS AT 9 A.M. A REALITY IN TORONTO DURING WORLD CUP

Toronto bars are getting month-long permission to start serving alcohol at 9 a.m. during the 2018 FIFA World Cup (June 14-July 15) given host country Russia is seven hours ahead where the games are played.

Councillor Cesar Palacio, who recommended the motion to council which passed it unanimously, says the soccer tournament resonates not only with local residents and businesses in his ward of Davenport but is watched around the globe.

“Soccer and the World Cup, don’t forget is seen by more than three billion people around the world,” said Palacio who will be at Don Quixote Restaurant on St. Clair West with hundreds of others on Friday (June 15) cheering on Portugal when they face Spain in B Group action.

“So it’s one of the most exciting, the most popular games within all continents. So Toronto, and my community, being the most diverse community in Ontario, there is a tremendous level of interest about this popular game that embraces every single culture. And this is an opportunity for people to celebrate, to cheer for their own teams and countries, and a great opportunity for companies and small businesses, to make more money. And that brings life, vitality, excitement, enjoyment to our local street.”

( function() { pnLoadVideo( “videos”, “Rs4HjWWgVw4”, “pn_video_762971”, “”, “”, [] ); } )();

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

Comments

comments