The best places to watch the Raptors in style
Clockwise from upper left: PICK 6ix, Walrus, Craft and Northern Maverick.
By Erin Henderson + Dick Snyder
Raptors fans, dust off your flags and jerseys, it’s time to take to the streets once again.
The fervor of last June has barely cooled, and Tuesday night it all heats up again as the 2019 NBA Champions start the season against the New Orleans Pelicans.
As always, if you are not one of the 19,800 or so fans earning a hard-earned replica championship ring, Drink Toronto has got your back with great places to casually take in the game in style and comfort with an excellent bites and top-notch drinks.
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.
PICK 6ix Sports
33 Yonge St.
A bit of an obvious choice to tip off this blog, but worth mentioning nonetheless. The Yonge Street bar co-owned by the Raptors’ most controversial Super Fan, Drake, was relaunched earlier this year 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 Financial District 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)
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 Scotia Bank Arena (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 truly love how the Raptors win has brought together an entire city and beyond with home-town pride and frenzied excitement, but I’ll show my support from the comforts of a five-star hotel. The heated, outdoor DEQ Lounge is still open for the season, and is close enough to the arena 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)
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 quarters. Food is inventive and excellent and cocktails are first-rate. (EH)
115 Bathurst St.
An upscale beer hall that offers neutral ground for sports fans and foodies. While sportos will get their fix from TV-lined walls blaring the live action of the game, drink lovers craving cocktails and quality craft beer (brewed on site) have a dozen or so reasons to saddle up to the bar. But don’t expect nachos and jalepeno poppers to fuel your barstool coaching. Instead, Northern Maverick is all about farm-to-table charcuterie, locally raised steaks, and one of the best burgers in the city, according to Toronto Life. And if your team wins, you can dance on the tables in celebration when the restaurant turns into a swanky, late night, King West-styled night club on weekends. (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, skip and jump from Scotiabank Arena, 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 to the tip off of another season, Craft Beer Market also serves an incredible range of gourmet hot dogs, the ultimate sports fan super 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. Or if you won’t be carving out your territory in Jurassic Park, you can pretend you are really there as the zillions of massive TV screens will make you feel court side. (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. 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)
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)