The Only Cafe
Taps: 25 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 12 | Reviews: 8 | Display Reviews Only:
4.86/5 rDev +10.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
It's high time that I update my review of The Only Cafe. It was a great pub in '07 when I first reviewed it, but there have been significant improvements since then and, particularly, during the past year. A few years ago they acquired the space next door and turned it into a funky and very relaxed and comfortable coffee house. A passage was opened at the back of the bar giving access to it on the other side. Drinks or coffee can be consumed in either area.
The most important change has been a sharper focus on the craft beer selection. A hand pump was added and cask ale is now served. They've also increased the number of regular taps(now 24) to provide a better selection of Ontario craft beer. Some current breweries include Cheshire Valley, Beau's All Natural, Grand River, Spearhead, Great Lakes(from Ontario), and even Dieu Du Ciel from Montreal.
When you combine all this with the relaxed, bohemian vibe, The Only Cafe has become one of the very best pubs in Toronto. Unless you're a finicky, uptight type of person(see below) who can't appreciate the off-beat ambiance or be comfortable in a relatively small bar like this, you'll love the place.
The Only Cafe is a unique, one of a kind pub that deserves to be an evenings destination. I've been going here every time I visit Toronto (4-5x's/yr.)for around six years. They have an extensive selection of bottled beers from around the world and a good choice of Canadian microbrew draughts. What sets it apart is the quirky and unusual interior. The bar area is long and narrow and opens to a larger space to the rear. Two person tables feature cool old lamps of various types and the walls are covered with a crazy mix of photos, posters and art. I really like the laid back atmosphere and the interesting clientele with a wide age range. They have live music occasionally and they serve a great weekend brunch. It's located east of the Greektown area of Danforth Ave. and is easy to get to -- take the Bloor-Danforth subway to Donlands,then walk right(west)on Danforth. It's just a few doors down. Make an effort to visit and settle in with some great beers for a few hours - you won't be sorry!
12-16-2011 15:53:27 | More by Tut
4.64/5 rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $
My old local. It's a great place with a lot of selection (taps and bottles) and have been really stepping up their game recently. It's also one of the more reasonably price places, likely due to their location. It's also open all the time which makes life easier for a quick afternoon stop on their back patio.
I highly recommend this place for their layback attitude that just makes it feel like everyone belongs here.
They are also throwing a lot more beer events now, but are getting very busy with as the Toronto craft beer scene grows.
10-16-2012 08:34:03 | More by flickers
4.44/5 rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I was happy to finally have the chance to visit The Only recently and it didn't disappoint. The tap list was fantastic. Not only were there varying styles and breweries to choose from but some excellent rarely-seen draught beers from Quebec. I likely was lucky to catch the tail end of the Toronto Beer Week Specialty Taps, but I am not entirely sure about that.
The atmosphere is decent. Very dark. Very small. Large patio in the back that is also very dark.
Service was very good and friendly.
09-26-2013 14:59:23 | More by TheSevenDuffs
4.25/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Well, we finally made it to The Only the day after a Jays game and after about 15+ years of hearing of its splendor in the Lowest of the Low's tune, "The Only One" (also a day before a Ron Hawkins show in Buffalo). Even traveled Under the Carlaw Bridge to get there and enjoy an early lunch with the family.
The two bartenders/servers were very helpful - one of them even brought out a few toy cars for Jr. to play with. Awesome! Very cool atmosphere...mellow, relaxing...only issue was that the music didn't quite fit - it was XM25 The Blend - I would've expected maybe The Verge or something with a little more of an edge - maybe even CFNY 102.1 (The Edge). Hey, it was pretty quiet at that time of day. Sort of a coffee bar thing next door, too.
Beer selection off the tap was solid - about 10-15 taps as previously mentioned. I haven't honed my Canadian craft knowledge to the best of my abilities so there were quite a few I hadn't encountered just yet. Great Lakes Green Tea Ale is what I ended up with. Solid.
Food was decent - huge PB&J for Junior...sandwiches and salads were pretty decent. Prices were very reasonable. Again, service was exceptionally friendly and helpful - they even looked around with me around "the table in the window" for the "shot of Chairman Mao" but we couldn't find it. We will do our best to return to this fine establishment soon.
05-20-2009 12:17:04 | More by IBUnit63
4.24/5 rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Went here for the first time in November 2011. It’s a small spot with a relaxed and welcoming vibe. Packed when we came, and no food available, but we managed to snag three seats at the bar and the beer selection is very good.
Featured draughts were Publican House Head of the Trent Vienna Lager (which I regret not trying), Amsterdam Black Friday CDA, and Cheshire Valley Galaxy Pale Ale, so they seem to get the harder-to-find taps. Bottles are an extensive mix of LCBO seasonals and features and various private orders. In fact, they probably have the fourth best bottle selection in the province, next to barVolo, beerbistro, and Gambrinus. I had a fresh pint of Mad Tom IPA and a bomber of Rogue Northwestern Ale.
Bartender was happy to provide samples and my non-beer geek friends really liked the place. I will definitely come back, as they offer a large and interesting range of craft beers in an unpretentious environment with reliable, attentive service. Great watering hole.
02-25-2012 02:33:35 | More by cratez
4.16/5 rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $
With band practice over and our throats parched my fellow band mate and myself were on the hunt for a bar to quench our thirst. After dropping off our drummer and deciding the bar in his/ my area were severely lacking we proceeded to hit up his neighborhood of greenwood and Danforth in search of refreshments.
After aimless wandering for about half an hour we came across the only café which he said he had visited once before. My compatriots fondest memories were of the early 90s rock which they had on speaker when last he was there.
I must admit I wasn't expecting much but was pretty taken back upon entering and seeing their beer fridges. A good selection of Belgian bottles first caught my eye, Chimay, Achel, Rochefort, Gulden Draak and Barbãr.They also had a few good bottles of some American micros, though thye are all offered at the LCBO. A few other notables were the Sinha stout, now gone from the LCBO and Christoffel Bock, which I've only ever seen in the giant novelty jugs around Christmas previous.
The tap selection was quite good containing all locals to my memory, many of the usuals but a few nice surprises as well. We got consecutive pitchers of Neustadt Springs Scottish Ale , Denisons Weissbier and finished it off with Black Oak Pale Ale. The pricing was good too, our 3 pitcher coming to roughly $45, not too shabby especially considering the quality of the beer.
Not having much for food late at night the very friendly bar staff had no problem letting us bring in burgers we had bought at a sketchy shop down the street inside.
The atmosphere of the place was also quite nice, cramped with a mix of classic impressionist art and kitsch on the walls. An interesting mix of people had the place packed on a Sunday night, my only negative event of the night was some drunk jerk slapping me on the back and accusing me of switching the lights off on him in the men's washroom, weird. All in all a very nice bar which I will definitely return to soon
10-28-2009 19:32:42 | More by Reinheitsgebot71
The Only Cafe in Toronto, ON, Canada
94 out of 100 based on 12 ratings.