Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat September 03 2016

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | September 3, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Toronto’s Top 7 Dive Bars

    Toronto’s Top 7 Dive Bars

    PHOTO: Disgraceland is a cool place with live DJ sets, an ever-changing music list and mouthwatering meals. (All photos by Shannon Wolf) 

    One of the many things I love about Toronto is that even on a tight budget, there’s a slew of independent, cool and quirky bars that won't break the bank or leave you bored. Each one is vastly different from the other with its own little charm that keeps us coming back time and time again.

    Note: Most independent shops are cash only, so be sure to hit the ATM before a night out on the town.

    Disgraceland: A Vegan Era’s Bar

    This is my favorite budget-friendly vegan bar just minutes from Ossington station with an owner that truly cares about his clientele. The establishment serves up one of my favorite vegan wraps and vegan ribs in the city, made with quality ingredients along with a range of beers on tap, plenty of seating, a pool table, darts and board games on the 2nd level.

    Sweaty Bettys: Vintage & Relaxed Vibes

    This place is often missed and tucked away on the corner of Queen and Ossington. It’s a tiny little bar with standard priced pints, but the ambiance is what keeps you coming back. On the second level past the bar, you’ll find vintage sofas, old photographs and artwork covering the walls with dim-lit warm table lights illuminating the reddened walls. Here you don’t have to scream over the music or be elbow to elbow with the people beside you. It’s quiet, cozy and the perfect spot to spend time with people for quality conversations.

    PHOTO: The interior of Sweaty Betty’s is one of the coziest places in Toronto to have a beer and kick back.

    Java House/The Green Room/The Red Room: Student Hangout

    All three spots are made for the budgeter in mind with cheap meals and cheap pints of lager. The Pad Thai is one of the biggest sellers, as well as the edamame, soups and sandwich combos, which cost no more than $7. Out of all three, The Green Room is the best. They have a little backyard, plenty of space and it’s also hidden in an alleyway and otherwise often missed.

    READ MORE: Top 6 Budget-Friendly Ways to Enjoy Toronto

    Get Well: Craft Beers & Video Game Junkies

    PHOTO: With a massive selection of video games to pick at Get Well, the hours will fly by — and so will the drinks.

    For anyone who loves video games, this is a bar of your dreams. What’s even better is that they’re all free! Grab a tasty craft beer from the massive list and spend your night playing anything from Ms. Pac-man to pinball.

    Cold Tea: A Proper Speakeasy

    This quintessential speakeasy is hidden within an old Asian mall in Kensington Market. When the light outside the door turns red, it’s time to go in! This dive bar has a large outdoor patio, quaint lil’ dance floor and decent priced drinks with nothing but Torontonian hipsters and good tunes. 

More Toronto


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships