C'est What?

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BEER AVG
3.64/5
Based on:
6 Beers
124 Ratings
Place Score: 92
Ratings: 81
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: n/a
Taps: 44
Bottles: 15
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

67 Front St E
Toronto, Ontario, M5E 1B5
Canada
phone: (416) 867-9499

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

Beers are brewed at / by another brewery.

C'est What? brand beers are brewed by County Durham Brewery.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 | Reviews: 64
Photo of MarcatGSB
3.85/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Clearly C'est What? is a mainstay in the Toronto beer scene. And as it appears to me, is the cask ale headwaters for Toronto. After talking with people through out the week I stayed in Toronto, it seems C'est What? really pushed the boundaries of beer in Toronto from the start.

Place is kind of hard to find as well, as there is a small door that leads you into the basement of an office building. It's a cool, English Style pub feel. With center posts, low ceilings, and many smaller, broken up spaces. It's rather well lit, and very clean. It's a nice looking place.

Great selection of Ontario beers, quite a few of their own on tap. Food was pretty middle of the road...But good. Make it a point to check out C'est What? on your next visit.

Photo of sahd-1
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 3.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

This place is a must try if you find yourself in down town Toronto. The outside is deceiving as it is merely a door nestled between restaurants/bars with outdoor seating. Once inside it has a nice Euro-pub feel. They had approximately 8 - 10 beers on cask! The only bad thing I can say about this place is that they serve mostly Canadian beer.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

If you aren't careful, you might walk right past this place, and that would be too bad. This is a great beer bar nestled into a posh area of downtown Toronto. Not much frontage to find it, but if you spot the awning then you are in for a treat. You enter the doorway and walk down a flight of stairs to enter a cool, mid-lit bar that is reminiscent of a Prohibition-era American speakeasy. There's even an old-school vault in the wall. Plenty to do, with pool tables and dart boards. There's even an aquarium when you first walk in, which my little one was enamored with long enough to provide me time to actually taste some beers. Plenty of seating at tables and booths, as well as some couches around an old, sealed up fireplace. The bar is a long, straight shot of bright oak, with plenty of seating and a plethora of tap handles. The staff was fantastic, and was overly accommodating to my family, including my 18 month old. They cranked our food order out faster than I have ever seen in a restaurant setting, and were very attentive to get to-go boxes when our little one decided she was done with dinner. Very decent tap list, including 6 of their own brews. Beers from all-over Canada, as well as a few imports. I stuck to their brews, as we were visiting for a short time. Very solid beers, and the food was damn tasty, too. Very mixed food menu, including plenty of apps, entrees, and desserts. Really, there is something for everyone. Also, while there we saw plenty of advertisements for bands, art exhibits, and other events held at C'est What?. Seems like a really cool place overall, friendly and affordable. If we lived in the city, I would find myself there a lot. What a treat to hang out for a short time!

Photo of 307x
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Pretty much a hipster haven, which isn't normally my bag but it definitely works for this bar. Always a great selection on tap - and in fact they are undergoing renos to expand the tap selection. Some bartenders are good but some are pretty bad. Table service is spotty at best, and quite poor when it's busy. Great looking place with two separate bars, and a little nook for bands to play. I've never had a bad meal there, and they make the best jambalaya in Toronto, easy. One of my favourite hangouts in the city, with the below average service being the only downfall.

Photo of Bieregod
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Located across the street from the Flat Iron building downtown Toronto. After going down some stairs you enter one of the best craft beer joints in Toronto. They have their usual suspects as well as a rotation of different Ontario craft brews. Staff was great and knowledgeable. While in Toronto it is a must. Two blocks away from the hockey hall of fame. It is also near the Biermarket another beer location that ismore suited towards Belgians and English brews. I enjoyed a Muskoka Mad Tom Ipa and a Flying Monkey Atomic Smashbomb.

Photo of vladimerjr
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I have not been here in a while but business used to frequently bring me to Toronto. I would make sure to stop here every time. A fellow BA who I had made some trades with back in the day introduced me to this place and I am very grateful to him for it. As normally I would have walked right by not even realizing what this was.

Located esentially in a basement it is very unassuming. Once you walk down the stairs the place is much bigger than I imagined. It has a little something for everyone with pool tables louncge chairs restaurant table and nice long bar areas. Great selection of beers mostly locals(I highly recommend the Carraway Rye) and good atmosphere. Have had a couple instances were the service was great but a couple also were it left something to be desired.

The food is great. My favorite is the lambburger. and all reasonably priced.

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.18/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I popped into this place for some lunch and a few beers on a recent trip to Toronto. I ordered two different beers (The Big Butt Smoked Porter and the Caraway Rye Beer). The beers were both pretty solid. They have a few nitro taps and casks, which is rare for me to find in the US.

The food was awesome (I had the falafel). One of the other people I was with seemed to really enjoy the his Buffalo Burger. Our bartender was very pleasant and attentive. The atmosphere was quite nice.

I'd recommend this place to anyone interested in a nice place to eat and enjoy a brew.

Photo of hopsolutely
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Perhaps my favourite bar in the world, so I'm overdue in reviewing it!

35 Ontario Craft Beers on tap at any given time with something to suit any taste. I am told their wine is also decent, although have personally never gotten beyond the draught. They support the local music scene and have numerous seating areas, so you can choose the "vibe" that works for any particular group - whether it be the restaurant, lounge, or one of the two bars. The servers have outstanding beer knowledge and complement the very casual, pleasant atmosphere. Multiple casks at all times and the food is also excellent. I tend to stick to the lamb burger as it's the best I've ever found, so haven't sampled the full variety of their fare.

All in all I don't get to Toronto nearly as often as I like, but any decent visit will always include some time at this pub. Can’t recommend highly enough!

Photo of heebes
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Walked to Cèst What from the Skydome for lunch before the Jays game. Unassuming little gem of a bar with what could only be described as a mecca for quality Canadian micro-beer. Nice looking entrance, down the stairs and into the large basement - its got plenty of space. Not busy at all on a Sunday for lunch but im sure it can be packed with alot of people at nights. Dim lighting and craft posters line the walls. Cozy / welcoming atmosphere.
Lots of choice to appeal to anyone looking for new Ontario craft beers, casks even and plenty of taps.
Service was great, friendly and helpful, couldn't be better.
We had a wonderfully delicious lunch with plenty of options and a good amount of vegetarian choices.
Overall I am really glad I decided to check out C'est What instead of returning to another establishment again, a great beer bar that offers many of Ontario's finer / up&coming beers.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

After a hot morning of being a tourist at Casa Loma, we took the subway right down to C'est What? In the extreme heat of the weekend, the extremely cool downstairs location of C'est What? was very welcomed. Tried all of the samples, and all were pretty good. Big Butt Smoked Dark Ale was my favorite of the set. Very good food as well, especially the vegetarian choices for a pub. I had the falafel sandwich with fries and wan't disappointed. Great stop that was very welcomed. In addition to their own beers, they have a wide range of guest taps, so a very good stop if you want to taste a range of local beers if you don't have a lot of time.

Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.86/5  rDev +17.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

My girlfriend & I stopped by C'est What? during our trip to Toronto and we were both impressed! You walk down a flight of stares and make a left turn into this very welcoming, low lit beerbar. It really has this home-like feeling to it, like you are in a rich friends basement or something like that! The staff was attentive and helpful. I got the Cheshire Valley IPA on cask, which was so smooth and creamy, just the perfect hoppiness, wonderful beer. I really like the fact that they have a few casks, unlike the other beerbars we tried in Toronto! I wish we would have stayed longer, got some food, and tried one of their own beers, but I am certain we will be going back next summer! If you are in Toronto, definately try C'est What?

Photo of brdc
4.14/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I almost missed the place, as it is a simple door that leads to stairs going down, splitting between two bars. Multiple tables, and the bar areas.
It is nice, pleasant, with very good service.
It is hard for me, being a tourist here to judge the selection, as they advertise local flavors, and it certainly is local, with just about everything local, including casks, on tap, and bottles. Some of these used to be made on the premises, but I was told this is no longer the case.
Still, good service, nice ambience, good beers. Certainly worthwhile, but like everything in Canada these days, very expensive.

Photo of SgtStout
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Been going here frequently lately, one of the best beer selections on tap in Toronto, usually with lots of Canadian as well as international offerings.
The atmosphere is great. It's in the basement of an old building so there's lots of exposed brick and wooden beams. The food is good, nothing exceptional but reasonably priced. My main gripe would be with the service. I've been in when the place is packed and there's a line out the door, and it looked like there were only 2 or three people serving. It took a good half hour before someone took our drink order, and then when they did, the waitress couldn't tell me anything about the beers on tap.
On the other hand, I've been here on slow nights during the week and sat at the bar, and the bartender really knew his stuff and was more than happy to talk at length about the selection.
Not the best for downtown dining, but a required stop on the Toronto beer circuit.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Finally madei to C'est What and it lived up to the hype. More taps than any other Toronto bar split between 2 bars. I only spent time at the one bar but noticed that there were some different taps at the other bar. The one bar alone had FOUR casks and about 15 taps. A nice mix of local stuff and their own brews. Tried their coffee stout which was very good!

Cool atmosphere, nice knowledgable bartenders and a great location downtown. I can see why they won awards for best tap selection in the city.

Will definitely return soon.

Photo of sleazo
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is the type of place I like to visit when I travel. A beer bar focused on local and regional offerings. This way I get to try stuff I cannot get at home, hence the reason to travel.

The bar is located in downtown Toronto not too far from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Situated down a flight of stairs there are two bars in two rooms and one room with a bunch of tables and a roaring fireplace. To the back are pool tables. It is actually a a pretty nice set up and one I would think would work well in the cold Canadian winter. I would have rated it higher but my only gripe was the tv's behind the bar. Really some of the worst TV's I have ever seen with messed up colour ratios making it hard to watch the Blue Jays game. Really only a minor quibble.

Quality wise everything was very fresh. They had three cask offerings of which all were fresh. With the big focus on Ontario beers I got to try a few things I had never heard of and were quite good. What is nice is that they serve in two sizes so you can try a lot of beers out. Besides the cask offerings I would say there were maybe about 16-20 beers on tap and a great bottle selection as well. There were a wide variety of styles too without one main focus which was nice.

Bartenders were knowledgeable and friendly, as well as prompt with new beers.

The food was pretty good for a beer bar. I had a Quebec style pork and potato pie which was good, highlighted by accents of cinnamon. This came with a green salad which was appreciated as the pie was quite rich.

Prices were decent though to be honest I am from NYC and my views may be a bit different than others.

Recommended for fellow Toronto tourists as I am sure the locals already know about this place.

Photo of Popsinc
4.47/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

After years of visiting C'est What?, I'll finally write a review.

What's to say really? It's simply the best selection of Ontario micros in the city. If you want to drink local, this is the place to do it.

Aside from the great Ontario vibe that dominates the taps, I love the fact that C'est What always has several cask options as well.

I always find that service is prompt but more importantly, they know what they're talking about. If you have a question for any of the bar staff, they will have the answer, and they're always very pleasant about it.

Food is standard fare, not always top quality, but on the other hand, you come to C'est What? for the beer & atmosphere, not the food.

I love the dark, basement feel of this place. The only downside is that on beautiful summer's day, it sucks to be sitting in a dark basement sometimes. Otherwise, top-notch brewpub and highly recommended.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

After about two years of serious beer tasting and reviewing, I finally managed to swing a visit to this Toronto craft beer institution. After noticing so many Ontario BAs reviewing brews I'd never heard of at C'est What, I figured it was time to make a pilgrimage myself. My wife and I were not disappointed.

Managed to find it quite easily - tucked away in a red-brick building on an attractive downtown corner. A basement joint, cool and refreshing on a hot day. We arrived midafternoon, so the place was fairly empty, but the crowd was a pleasant bunch of twenty-somethings and barflies. Didn't feel out of place at all. Stonework, paintings and beer posters adorn the walls, great mood lighting. Music was eclectic, shifting genres with every song, and at enough volume to allow conversation. My kind of place.

Service was fairly good - what the server lacked in timing and attention (she seemed a bit frazzled today - we've all had those shifts), she made up for in beer knowledge and sample-giving. We asked for half pints to maximize our sampleability, and though she accidentally poured whole pints, she only charged for halves and gave me a bonus sample as an apology. Cheerfully accepted.

Of course you come here for the beer lineup, and it certainly was impressive. A terrific selection of draught offerings, ranging from their own home-brews (from Durham), to some rarer Toronto-area crafts (Flying Monkeys, Neustadt, Black Oak, Duggan's, Granite, Mill St., Church-Key). Their beer menu is three pages long - awesome! No imports - all Ontario, a great way to see what Ontario brewers can offer without being at the mercy of the LCBO. A few rotating cask offerings as well. Only a few duds in the lineup. I had Duggan's #99 and Granite's Hopping Mad on cask, which were both excellent; Church-Key's Northhumberland ale, however, was not.

Food was pretty good, reasonably-priced. The menu has a good variety of pub, ethnic and vegetarian fare, so the whole crowd is bound to find at least ome thing they'd like.

A fantastic joint in a great location, just a few blocks from the downtown core. A great spot to bring friends from out of town and do some beer sampling. Wish that there could be a place like this in KW... Definitely the place to check out if you're in town.

Photo of sullenbee
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in Toronto to pick up some friends on the way to Montreal. Decided to at least go out and check out one place in town.

C'est What? was in a basement setting, atmosphere wasn't really my cup of tea. However, the beer list was decent, and I ended up with a cask conditioned Russian Imperial Stout. Ordered a burger that came with fresh jalapenos.

I only actually had one beer, as the price was a bit more than I'm used to paying. Food was good, and it was a worthwhile stop. Just not really my cup of tea as far as atmosphere goes.

Photo of mooseisloose
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Found this place on BA and popped in after a visit to the HHOF and Lord Stanley's cup, it's only 2 blocks away. When the entrance leads you downstairs I knew it would be cool. CW has two barrooms one up front and one next to it. Very rustic and comfortable. I opted for the back bar, although both have a 16 or so tap line up. Service is friendly fast and not at all overbearing. Food is original, unique and tasty, I tried the lamburger which yes was a lamb hamburger. Very tasty. I tried all the available C'est What brews that are exclusive for them, but not actually brewed on site. Back bar area has numerous pool tables, darts and a cool fireplace pit. Very laid back place. Saturday afternoon, not at all crowded, only starting to fill up around 9PM. One of the better bars I have been to in a while. When downtown Toronto, I'll be back.

Photo of kwjd
4.43/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I go to C'est What all of the time, partially because I really like it, and partially because it is a block from my apartment. I like the old town Toronto basement pub setting and they don't try to replicate some faux Irish/English pub.

I've never had a beer that I didn't think was fresh and they always have several casks. The staff know their beer list well and are always willing to provide samples if you are deciding. The food isn't gourmet by any stretch, but it is well above average for pub food in the city and it is very reasonably priced. I love going here when it is cold out, but during the warmer months I seem to go here less because I don't want to hang out in a basement.

The tap list is mostly comprised of Ontario microbrews, with several from Quebec. I think the only beer they regularly have from outside of Ontario/Quebec is Grasshopper from Big Rock. If you are visiting from out of town, this is a great place to visit to try the different Ontario beers. Their rotating tap and casks list changes often enough that there is usually a new beer for me to try when I go.

Photo of Travlr
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Large, maze like pub below street level in Old Town Toronto near St. Lawrence Market. Has a few of its own beers - tried Al's Cask Ale, which was pretty decent.
Large range of draughts, all were well served. Servers were extremely friendly, very efficient and attentive. They knew the tap beers pretty well, but were not overwhelmingly knowledgeable about the bottle selection.
Bottle selection was small, but interesting. The highlight was Unibroue's Terrible - neither bartender had ever tried it, so we shared.
Didn't try the food.
Overall great place, definitely worth a try.

Photo of cratez
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Awesome brewpub/beer bar in Toronto, ON. I visited C'est What this past summer and it surpassed my expectations.

First of all, this place is huge! Way bigger than I expected, with 3-4 large sections: a sit-down bar, lots of tables throughout the restaurant, a back/lounge section, and a performance stage with additional seats/tables (and I think another bar as well).

Atmosphere is chilled-out, conversational in the restaurant with loud music in the stage section. Some rock band was performing when we came. Well-lit ambiance and a wide, approachable bar. Highly visible tap handles, though I don't remember seeing a chalkboard.

Fast, competent, and friendly service as our drinks and dessert arrived quickly. No complaints here.

Selection is arguably 'small' - I didn't see the bottle menu - but the quality of cask and tap offerings is superb. I had Granite Hoppin' Mad on cask and Black Oak Saison on tap. My girl and I enjoyed a wonderful chocolate brownie dessert, which forms the basis of my food rating.

Although I don't remember the exact amount of our bill, I don't believe it was expensive (4 drinks and 1 dessert). So, from what I recall, the prices were reasonable. I will definitely return to C'est What again, particularly when I feel like drinking top-notch Ontario craft beer. I also want to try some of the bar's own brews. Another great beer spot in T.O.

Photo of beertooth
3.55/5  rDev -14.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I stopped by this place a few times the last time I was in Toronto.

It was never crowded and most of the time my friend and I were the only people there. We stumbled in one rainy cold night not knowing anything about this place.

I found this place to be comfortable with large leather chairs and couches, a fire place, and a game room. The bartender was extremely friendly and prices were reasonable.

I didn't get a chance to try the food, but we usually ended up at Pizza Pizza afterwards.

The beer selection was decent. They offered some locals on tap and various bottles. I couldn't get enough of the Dennison's Hefe they had on tap.

I'd really like to see how this place is now. I wouldn't mind going back if I find myself in Toronto any time soon.

Photo of IBUnit63
3.85/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Man, we never have extra time in Toronto. It's always a weekend commando mission or something. Gotta fix that. Either way, we did at least have a chance to check out C'est What by the market...and by the way, the market is sick. Sort of like the Broadway Market in Buffalo, only on steroids and actually in a decent neighborhood. But I digress.

Atmosphere isn't something that's a strong suit here, as enjoyable as our time was. It reminds me of one of those cheesy carpeted, nondescript hotel bars with bad music piped in. No offense, but something a little more contemporary may be in order. At least fix the tunes.

Beer quality is very solid. Decent variety of house brews as well as some of the better Canadian offerings on tap - good range of style. Their house brews are solid and I didn't run out of choices from a moderately-sized list.

Food wasn't bad either. I had a lamburger, which went a little heavy on the spice. OK for me; others may get a little freaked out. I think it was chili powder with a heavy hand this time; the Beautiful Bride had some yam fries if memory served me right with a fair amount of cumin. Interesting combo.

As mentioned, selection wasn't huge but what was on the docket was quite good and showed solid range. No complaints here.

Tab was reasonable. Overall a very pleasant experience that we would have no problems repeating.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I went there on a Sunday night and only the bar section was opened. The selection of Ontario micros on tap was quite extensive with very friendly service and good knowledge of products offered. I was brought some samples without asking for them. Prices were reasonable for Toronto and food was OK. I must admit that I wasn't expecting too much after reading some reviews but I left with a good impression. Their own beers are not the best but the selection of Ontario micros more then makes up for it.

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C'est What? in Toronto, ON, Canada
92 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.