Bier Markt - Esplanade
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Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by JohnnyBarman:
3.58/5 rDev -6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$$$
One of many beer haunts in Toronto I was hoping to explore in the coming months. A chance trip to T.O. this weekend gave me the opportunity to check the place out, and generally speaking I was happy with the experience, but with some strong reservations.
The bar was easy to find, and there is ample parking in adjacent lots nearby. Though it was dinnertime on a Sunday, the place was relatively busy. Staff were helpful almost to a fault. Our waitress in particular was very friendly, patient (two of our party needed a good ten minutes to whittle down a beer selection), and her descriptions of some of the more unknown brews on the bottle list were spot on.
The restaurant/bar is pretty large, dark, with stone walls and dark wood accents. Random kegs are found in piles here and there, probably as a decoration. Some Bruegel-style paintings adorn the wall. It looked more like a club than a biergarden, but it was still fairly nice.
The staff was great and the place looked good enough. However, I'd rate this place higher if even just one of the three following things had been better:
1) Beer selection: This place does indeed have a very large draught selection, far better than most places I've seen in the province, but there wasn't a lot there that really wowed me. All but a few brews on the list are available in regular rotation at the LCBO, although it was nice to see them on draught. Foreign lager heavy, although there were some nice rarer brews to be found in the mix. I had Spaten Munchner and De Koninck. The locals, however, were wanting: just Steam Whistle, Denison's and Welly Dark, possibly an Amsterdam blonde. Nothing from Mill Street, Granite, Duggan, Black Oak or beyond. C'est What is just down the road, and is a lot better for this. However, I'd have been be more happier with the selection this if it weren't for...
2) The Price. I know Toronto beer is more expensive than other places, but jeez... Even the pints on special were pushing 8 bucks before tax/tip. The single bottle selections were so tempting, but were nearly 10 bucks a pop. I splurged and had Hoegaarden Verboden Vrucht, which was excellent, but was about $9.50. It was also my third bottle choice, as the previous two were out. Hard to really sample the fare - I really felt constricted to only have one or two before my wallet gave out.
3) The Food. Holy mother, this menu is pricey. I mean ridiculously pricey. My wife ordered a cheese platter to accompany our sampling, and for $17 dollars we got three small wedges, barely enough to share, with a few grapes and some crackers. Yes, cheese is expensive, but come on... Everything else on the menu was ludicrously expensive, so we took our hungry stomachs next door to a pseudo Irish pub and ate there.
Worth visiting only so often, especially if you've got a hankering for a rare foreign brew that would otherwise require a trip to Belgium to acquire. But if the prices were more reasonable, if the food was better-priced and more diverse, or if the beer selection was more unique, this would have been an excellent spot. As it is, my beer hankerings will probably take me to better places in the area. My wallet and inner beer geek will thank me...
03-28-2011 17:26:23 | More by JohnnyBarman
More User Reviews:
Bier Markt - Esplanade in Toronto, ON, Canada
87 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.