The best places to watch the Blue Jays in style
By Erin Henderson + Dick Snyder
The boys of summer are back and there is a fabulous air of excitement in Toronto right now.
Perhaps because Blue Jays’ home opener truly is the promise the lazy, hazy days of summer are on their way. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing quite like spending a Saturday afternoon with a hot dog and beer at the old ball game. Or it could just be the easy joy of watching really fit young men flex their muscles in relatively fitted pants. Everyone’s got their reasons.
Drink Toronto visited the SkyDome (ahem, Roger’s Centre) earlier this week to see what is new for the season. Check out our Instagram stories for a sneak peak at the freshly renovated hotel rooms overlooking the field, and our lunch at SportsNet Grill — the sleek restaurant that opened late last season, so 2019 is its grand debut. In later posts, we’ll also have some pointers for eating and drinking on the cheap while taking in a game.
In the meantime, if your bum is not in one of the 53,506 seats inside the Roger’s Centre over the next four days, fear not BJ lovers, we’ve got the inside scoop on cool places cheer on the good guys in the comfort of several big screen TVs, with an excellent bite and top-notch drink.
Hey, anyone can find a sports bar, but only Drink Toronto goes in search of unique spots, that thrill, delight and deliver on every level.
301 Front St. W.
Let’s start at the top, shall we? I mean the very top. The CN Tower needs no introduction, but located right beside the Dome, those who want to be part of the energy of the return of Blue Jays baseball, but maybe not right in the thick of it, can take in the game from an 1,814 foot view. Renovated last year, the Tower upped its food and beverage game, so grab a glass and look down on the hustle and bustle below. (EH)
The Pint Public House
277 Front St. W.
OK, fair. Up above I said anyone can find a sports bar, and The Pint does kind of fall into this category. But I got to talking to one of my dearest friends, who is also a ridiculously intense sports fan, and she said this needs to be on the list. Here’s why:
- Steps from the Roger’s Centre (so you’re right in the frenetic fray)
- Two floors
- Over 100 TVs
- 40 flavours of wings
- Loads of beer taps
Basically, every sports’ fan’s nirvana. (EH)
The Ritz-Carlton Toronto – The DEQ Lounge + Terrace
181 Wellington St. W.
Now this is more my speed. Don’t get me wrong, I luvs me some live Blue Jays baseball, but if I’m not at a game, I’d rather enjoy my BJs in the comforts of a five-star hotel. The outdoor Terrace is close enough to the stadium that watching jersey clad fans come and go is super fun, and when it’s time to watch the game, inside in the lounge there’s a TV above the bar perfect for some barstool coaching. (EH)
PICK 6ix Sports
33 Yonge St.
The downtown bar co-owned by Toronto’s most beloved sports’ fan, Drake, has recently relaunched as an elevated sports bar aimed at the ballers’ ball lover. Bright, airy, and sleek, with a stunning array of high definition TV’s, PICK 6ix is tailor made so Bay Street sportos can run up their expense accounts with a wide selection of craft beers, quality cocktails and a menu of upscale classic pub fare. There’s also daily happy hour specials and nightly burger specials for those of us in the cheap seats. (EH)
1 Blue Jays Way
You can’t get much closer to the action than the SportsNet Grill. The restaurant is technically part of the adjoining Marriot hotel, and has dozens of tables of field-facing seats. Having just renovated and reopened at the end of the season last year, consider this weekend to be the Grill’s grand coming out.
Sleekly designed, with a menu full of fan favourites (burgers, nachos, flatbreads, tacos...) this is the place to be to take in all the action, but in a far more comfortable space than a stadium seat (and every time you get up to go to the bathroom you won’t have to repeat the familiar fan-chant of “pardon me... ’scuse me... sorry... can I just squeeze by ...” while weighing whether to face front or back while you shimmy down to aisle.)
Understandably reservations go fast for big-ticket games, but surprisingly walk-ins can usually be accommodated. For premium window seats the minimum spend is $60 ($50 on food and beverage and $10 for the levy applied by the Roger’s Center). (EH)
Walrus Pub and Beer Hall
187 Bay St.
The Walrus is a terrific spot to grab an excellent cocktail and delicious bite while taking in the game. Generously outfitted with tons of TVs throughout the cavernous space, there’s also other elements of entertainment if perhaps not everyone wants to stay glued to the game. Shuffle board on the top level, ping pong in the basement – there’s even a barber shop if you need a quick trim between innings. Food is inventive and excellent and cocktails are first-rate. (EH)
The Shore Club
155 Wellington St. W.
An emphasis on seafood, steak and cocktails makes this sleek and comfortable oasis just our kind of place. And the wine list is killer too, courtesy of sommelier Allison Vidug. The Shore Club is where you want to kick it with a nice seafood tower and a chilled Muscadet while catching up on the game via a few discrete TVs at the bar. No giant screens and painted faces here, just dignified sports viewing in estimable surroundings. And you're just a hop and a skip from the Rogers Centre, if you feel the need to take in some live street action pre- or post-game. (DS)
Craft Beer Market
1 Adelaide St. E. (at Yonge St.)
This place is craft beer heaven on earth. But à propos of the launch of baseball season, Craft Beer Market also serves an incredible range of gourmet hot dogs, the ultimate ballpark food. With its central location right on the Yonge Street strip, CBM is a perfect stop on your way to the game... or on the way back. Starting today and going all weekend, get beers from Toronto's Left Field Brewery for just $6, along with a featured hot dog menu. Oh, yeah, and there's tons of massive TV screens here! Family friendly too! (DS)
100 King St. W.
A favourite destination in the Financial District, King Taps is another not-really-a-sports-bar that nonetheless is a great place to take in a game. It's also nice and close to the Rogers Centre. Pizza is the name of the game here, and beers, of course. But we love the cocktail and wine list too, with some lovely Ontario selections including our desert-island wine, the Ladybug Rosé from Malivoire. (DS)
255 Bremner Ave.
The Steam Whistle roundhouse is the place to be for whetting your whistle (get it?) this weekend, as its located right beside the Rogers Centre. They are having a pre-game bash with live music and, you know, fresh glasses of their signature Pilsner. They will not be showing the game at the brewery, but you will be close to the action. And, you know, beer... (DS)
The Dock Ellis Sports Bar
1280 Dundas St. W.
OK, so here's a real sports bar... it even has "sports" it in its name! But it's also a great neighbourhood pub with killer food. It's a bit of a trek west of downtown proper, so you won't be able to feel the Jays vibe here, but you can watch the action on TV. The menu at The Dock Ellis goes way beyond the usual sports-bar grub, unless you're used to having fried duck dumplings with your game action. Great burgers too and — I know everyone says this — they have the best nachos, including a poke nacho with miso and tuna. Point of trivia: Dock Ellis was a Major League Baseball player who pitched a no hitter in 1970, and later said he did it while high on LSD. Isn't that interesting? (DS)