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Beer Bistro

Not Rated.
Beer BistroBeer Bistro

56 Reviews
Reviews: 56
Visits: 78
Avg: 4.35
pDev: n/a
Taps: 20
Bottles: 145
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

18 King St E
Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1C4
phone: (416) 861-8242

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @beerbistroto

Place added by: Popsinc

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Reviews: 56 | Visits: 78
Photo of jjboesen
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Plopped amidst the Financial District and serving as a beacon for the suit and cellphone crowd, Beer Bistro is a sleek and upscale venue; there is a large, high-ceilinged dining room decorated with beer paraphernalia and a rather small bar near the entrance. Of course, they offer a patio for outdoor quaffing. The selection was impressive (30 drafts)/60 bottles) and offered a good choice of local crafts, such as Nickelbrook and Publican House. They also threw in a few Europeans for fun. The server was being trained during my visit, so I'll go easy. (She was very efficient despite being a tyro.) The food was great - I enjoyed a Reuben sandwich - but served without sides. Huh?

One thing that endeared me: above the urinals vintage beer TV commercials play as you're doing your business. Remember George? he doesn't drink beer. He drinks Piels. (This was not on tap, though)

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Photo of KATCanada
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

If you want a good meal with a great beer selection (this is TO's most likely spot for Cantillon ) Beer Bistro is your best bet (Bier Markt is #2). Good selection on tap plus a good cellar. Servers know their stuff. Food is very good. It's a little pricey and there are nights where is is full of the douchey banker set but overall solid. Walking distance from most of the major downtown hotels.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Dropped in for breakfast. Eggs benedict. Very good. Matched to a Leffe Brun on tap.

Amazing selection both on tap and in the bottle. WAY pricy. Too pricy. Come on guys please. Take it easy but if you can get it go for it. I just wont go back that's all. The value is not even close to being there.

Treat this place like one that if you can only get something here and no where else because you can get everything else everywhere else for less money.

Guess this place is a meet market after 9pm so count me out on that.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Took me a second to locate Beer Bistro as it is located in the main business district of downtown Toronto on the bottom floor of an office building.

It has that vibe as well. It's a large open room with tall ceilings, nice chandeliers, and a very upscale feel.
They have an attractive little glass case right when you walk in the door, featuring some of their big dick beers...And they have some good ones. The beer selection here is one of the best I've seen during my travels. Lots of taps featuring many Canadian beers, with some special imports from the states. They were very excited about some Brooklyn Brewing beer and some Rogue as well. I didn't even think about either of those.

The bottle list was fantastic...the bartender (who happened to be the bar manager) hooked me up with a couple samples on tap, and was very informative about the Toronto beer scene, much appreciated.

Another great Toronto stop. Beer selection is great...food looked good (tried some Frites, which were good), and it's a pretty neat space. Top 5 of Toronto.

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Photo of FEUO
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3

Corporate/business vibe. Turn off.
Staff was 50/50. Male bartender knew his stuff and was cordial, female was cold and perturbed about god knows what.

Nice to have Cantillon (had the 06 Grand Cru). Bottle selection was very good overall.
Dinner was edible, but not great. Had the southern chicken based on what looked good at another table. Mistake.

I doubt I ever go back. Way too stiff for my tastes.

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Photo of SebD
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

I've been here a few time but never actually took the time to do a review so here goes

Atmosphere: This place is very inviting. The bar has a nice open concept with a fairly large dining area outside as well as a lounge area to grab a beer while you're waiting. There's a nice display of beers they have on offer as well as a nice decor. Great atmosphere.

Service: The waiter and waitress that I had were both very knowledgeable and had great recommendations. Exceptional service.

Selection: This bar offers a very great selection of Ontario brews as well as many American and Belgian beers. They only have about 20 beers on taps but have hundreds to choose from when it comes to bottles. There's a great selection of cellared beer also. I got to enjoy a 5 year old bottle of Dogfish Head's Raison d'Extra along with a few more gems.

Food and value: They have a great menu of higher-class cuisine for fairly reasonable prices. The beers are also fairly priced. This is definitely the place to go if you're in Toronto. I will be going back every time I go to Toronto.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I'm writing this from the bistro itself, as their free wifi makes possible. I'm in town for a conference located at a hotel just a few blocks away, so this is my third visit to Beerbistro - it's that good (for me at least).

The atmosphere is simultaneously upscale and welcoming, cavernous and cozy. Super high ceilings offset small tables and a few tight nooks, with some large, vaguely Belgian-style beer-themed decorations on the walls. Very new and clean, but still comfortable.

The tap list is fairly limited (20 bottles) but has a good mix of locals and imports across a range of styles. Everything is available in a 300ml tulip or a 500ml pint, with prices being fair - particularly for the neighborhood.

Service has been attentive without being officious, and enthusiastic without being condescending. Just how I like it.

The real reason I've been coming back is the Cantillon selection: Gueuze, Kriek, Rose de Gambrinus, Bruocsella, Lou Pepe Kriek & Framboise, St. Lamvinus, Vigneronne, and Iris. The first four are in 375s for $15-8, and the last five are in 750s for $25-35. Amazingly fair prices (especially on the 750s!), doubly so for a central location in an expensive city.

If you don't like sours, you might prefer another place in Toronto, but if you're a Lambic fan like I am then you won't want to leave.


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Photo of ThickNStout
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My wife and I strolled here for dessert and a night cap. It's business chic with well appointed, semi trendy decor inside and some decent outdoor seating. A nice tap selection of mostly Canadian craft beers with a few European brews thrown in to round out the list. Our server was excellent- super friendly, quite helpful and knowledgeable about both the beer and the menu. The dessert sampler we had was outstanding- all items made with beer and the beer shows through in things like the lemon cake and Dragon stout Skor ice cream. Prices weren't too much more than most other places we've tried in Toronto but the bottle list got pretty ridiculous. All in all Beerr Bistro is well worth a visit.

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Photo of peensteen
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Located in the city's financial district and the look and feel reflects that. Mostly filled with "suits" around lunch and after 5:00. They do have a big bar area in the front as well as a large restaurant seating are in the back. The tap list is a mixed bag of locals, a few brews from Quebec and a few imports but overall not too exciting. The bottle and cellar list is incredible though. Tons of stuff from Cantillon, Lost Abbey, Avery, DFH etc. huge selection of barley wines and belgian styles. Some bottles can be a bit pricey though but you do get what you pay for here. The food is excellent weather its appetizers or full out meals, last time I was there I had bacon wrapped shrimp and french fries and they were amazing. They also cook every dish with beer and even have their cookbook for sale. They do a good job of mixing great beer and fancy dining but it lacks the feel of a great beer bar. It still is a great place to go for an occasion or if you feel like getting a rare bottle of something though.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.83/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

In simple terms, this is the best beer dining experience I've had. At the end of the meal, I told my niece that this makes me understand what Europeans sit and eat meals for two to three hours at a time.

As a vegetarian, the choices on the menu were limited, but that had little effect on the evening. Started with Potato Truffle Perogies. Amazing complexity for a perogie! Sweet tang from gueze and sheep's milk cheese, I would guess, creamy and full flavored. Just amazing. Drank a Black Oak Summer Saison with the meal, as recommended by the waitress and the pairing guided on the menu. While the beer was good, but pairing worked really well. For an entree, we shared a Blue Mushroom Pizza. Meaty texture from the mushrooms and a tang from the Quebec blue cheese. Again, complex and elegant taste. Got lost in ordering a beer for taste at this point already, but still great. For dessert, we tried three of the beer scream ice creams. In order, we like the Vanilla Bourbon swirl, the dragon stout & skor bar, and finally the rocky road with coffee porter. Excellent finish on the meal.

For the real dessert, ordered a bottle of Cantillon Grand Cru 2008. Excellent aged bottle, a rare and fun treat that few bars accomplish for their patrons. While the night wasn't cheap, I was glad to have paid the price for such a rewarding evening of discussion, food and beer. In spite of it being upscale, it never felt snooty. Friendly and relaxing. If you haven't--you must--at least once.

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Photo of mmurphy525
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I visited Beerbistro twice this past weekend during a trip to Toronto. I went their twice, once was Friday during lunch (sat on the patio) and the second time was around 7 Monday night (sat inside on the bar side). Both times were fairly busy inside and out. My entire reason for going to beerbistro was for the beer list, which is substantial. There is a decent draught list, massive bottle list that includes a “cellared beer list’ (cantillon, barely wines, and some big stout). The only downside to this bar is their bottle prices. They are pretty expensive and even the harder to get bottles that one would expect to pay a premium for cost more at beerbistro then other places. An example is Struise Black Damnation $22 at beerbistro and $17 at Barvolo.

As mentioned in previous reviews this establishment seems to service to the business crowd or downtown Toronto. However, the potential negative connotations (stuck up servers, etc) are not an issue. On both my visits I had excellent service from start o finish. The staff also appear to be very knowledgeable about their beer list.

As for the food, not my reason for going, was very good. I had the daily feature pasta on the first visit and the pulled pork sandwich on my second. Both meals where very good, but the pulled pork definitely stood out, it was probably the best pulled pork I have had.

For someone looking to try some bottles that he or she may not have a chance to access otherwise I would recommend this place. I will be heading back on my next trip to Toronoto.

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Photo of
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I have been here twice, once for dinner and once for lunch. When I went for lunch I got there at opening time and there was actually a queue of men in suits waiting to get in. Upon entry I was asked if a had a reservation and then told that there were only tables open in the first-come first-serve lounge area. At 11:30 on a weekday! Must be a popular place for business lunches.

The atmosphere is office-tower chic. It looks like a generic dress-causal restaurant with white table cloths and a few vintage European beer posters on the wall. The extremely high ceilings and borderline sterile decor are nice, but aren't really warm and inviting and it doesn't feel like the kind of place to linger over a few beers. I took a seat in the lounge, which looked like it should be serving martinis, but had a great tap list.

The selection was very good, with emphasis on Ontario and Belgium. All the beers were fresh and served perfectly. They also offer a tasting flight of any four draft samples for $6, which isn't a bad price and a nice way to sample their selection.

The food was pretty pricey but very good. Lunch (mussels, a sandwich, a tasting flight, one pint, and a ginger ale (my companion doesn't drink) was nearly $70.

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Photo of mrmanning
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I've stopped in here in the past, but it has always been to busy. Finally, I stopped in with MDS on Sunday and it was fairly quiet, so we decided to stay for a beer. The ambiance was modern and clean, quite chic and almost elegant. Not the typical beer bar that's for sure. Service was friendly and came equipped with never ending smiles and pleasantries. I'll add that our waitress was quite cute! Mike suggested I order what they had, so I got a Denisson's and it was tasty as hell and fresh. We ordered the fries, and they reminded me of old fashioned chips, and were tasty as all hell. Presentation was nice as well. The claim to fame here has to be the bottle list though. Many hard to get US and Canadian micros, along with many Belgians and other assorted bottles. It was nice to see Lost Abbey, Rogue, Val Dieu amongst others. Some of the bottles were pricey, but knowing what lengths the owners go to, to bring us these bottles has to be considered. Prices were overall reasonable and theres a high chance that I will be returning here soon.

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Photo of heebes
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

We went to the Beer Bistro this summer based on reviews and the impressive bottle list. Seems very upperclass and would cater to the business class which makes sense given its location downtown. Arrvied fairly early and were the only ones inside since it was such a nice day for a patio. Wanted to take in the very cool design and atmosphere.
The bar and dining area was very clean and the server was friendly and quick.
Impressive selection of bottles! Some were priced high but as others have said, the beer is hard to import and costly.
We didnt eat lunch but the menu seems appatizing.

Overall I was very impressed and enjoyed the visit. I'd like to make another trip soon.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped by here with a friend to try some new beers. The bottle selection is quite incredible for Ontario. Sadly, the prices are through the roof though. But there are beers that you might not be able to find elsewhere. On this occasion I went with Port Brewings Old Viscosity and the Wipeout IPA. I ended up paying over $50 for the two bombers. A little pricey, but you have to understand the costs they have to go through to get the beer here in this province. Its a great place to visit now and then, but you can go broke very quickly if you stay long.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.48/5  rDev -20%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

This place has declined significantly over the past few years. It was the premier craft beer spot before the scene exploded, but many establishments that have opened in the past 2-3 years have left Beer Bistro in their dust (Bar Hop, WVRST, etc.). There really isn't a reason to go here unless you just happen to be in the neighborhood while you are looking for a single pint. Even the days of this being the premier Cantillon stop have dried up somewhat.

The tap list is fairly boring and is catered more towards the after work crown from the finance district than the beer geek. It is more likely that you'll see the typical European craft beers on tap, as opposed to the more interesting options form Ontario and the rest of Canada. Very corporate feeling.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Visited on 4/18 and 4/19/2010:

Upon entering the place it seemed a little just a bit too upscale for my taste. It felt like it was trying to be one of those trendy bars where all the suits go after work, not that being a suit is a bad thing, as I actually did just that one day, but I guess this would not be a place that I would typically like to hang out in for some beers, unless lived in Toronto, then it would probably be in the rotation, but not heavy.

The beer selection on the other hand was massive. A good number on tap and a very large number in bottles and even a selection of cellared beer. Some of the prices on some of the bottles seemed a little out of line from what I have seen, but overall not that unreasonable. The beers that I ordered appeared to be fresh and served in the appropriate glass ware.

The service was a bit slow. I went on a Sunday night (not all that crowded, but there was a hockey game in progress) and a Monday early evening (crowded, almost SRO) and found the service to be the same no matter the crowd. The first night I did get a chance to talk to the server and he seemed to know a good bit about the beers, but was more knowledgeable about the local brew.

The food was perhaps slightly above average pub grub. Nothing all that special or memorable.

Overall, if I find myself in Toronto again, I will probably go back due to the beer selection.

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Photo of uno99
4.35/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Since moving to Toronto, this has been on my hit list of places to visit, and I just happend to walk by it today and got sucked in the revolving doors by the sight of beer pron in the windows.

A: upscale, but not too trendy. You know this is a serious beer hall by all the beer porn around. its definitly not cluttered however and you are immediately comfortable in your seat.

S: since we were sitting in the bar section, service wasent as quick as the resteraunt partition would be, so no points taken off for that. The bartender came to take our drink orders, and from then on I went to him when it was time to order food and pay the bill. I did have a couple chats with him however, and he was definitly a beer geek. thats a huge plus!

S: Could be the best selection in toronto for bottle list (assuming they have everything in stock). not as many taps as I expected but thats ok I usually like to order obscure bottles anyway. Bonus points here for the beautiful beer menu. all the 100+ bottles they sell are accompanied by 5-6 line descriptions of the beer, and also organized not by style, or country, but by occasion and flavor profile. Whoever is in charge of this place has a true passion for beer and it shows.

F: As it was lunch time, my fiancee' and I decided to order a couple apps. The belgian frittes were excllent. the duck fat makes all the diffrence, and the kosher salt seasoning was perfect. The homemade ketchup and mayo take them over the top. The cheese fondue we ordered was a little rich for me, but my better half loved it... Oh i forgot to mention, everything on the menu uses beer in some form. It noticably gave the cheese a little lift.

Value: not as expensive as I would have thought. the frittes are $6 and you get a boat load, the fondue was $13 and carefully created and plentiful. the beer is expectedly expensive being that we are in Ontario, but not much or any more expensive than other Toronto beer bars.

An excellent resteraunt and bar in a great location. Can't wait to go back!

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Another great spot for some hard to find beers in Toronto. I had some great beers from Pizza Port and Lost Abbey when I was there. A fair sized place and rather busy during lunch time (I would assume the same goes for supper). Fancy upscale decor. Good friendly service. Great beer selection both bottle and taps. I had the soup of the day (a three cheese soup, good for the heart) and a duck sandwich very tasty stuff. A little expensive but the crowd they draw doesn't seem to mind (not to toot my own horn but I probably had the biggest tab that day though for one person not a group of course).

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

I'm glad I went a little out of my way to stop into the Beer Bistro for lunch after reading the reviews on BA.

The place is upscale and modern yet still has some casual feel to it and caters to the business crowd.

The selection was very good and came with great pairing suggestions for food on the menu. In Toronto I've only been to the Bier Markt and I noticed that the Beer Bistro has many unique oferrings. This makes for a good local alternative location (however I'm not sure what the evening atmosphere is like).

I had lunch at the bar and my server was very helpful and attentive. The lamb curry was moderately portioned but great quality. I'll definitely endulge into the basket of fries next time...

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Photo of Travlr
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Large modern, classy place in downtown Toronto. Spacious bar area and a separate restaurant. Had the mussels and frites at the bar, both were outstanding.
Draught menu was large and well chosen. Two beer refrigerators had a few unusual selections and a range of local brews. They had a separate "beer cellar" menu with a number of Cantillon, including Cru Bruscella, Iris and Fou' Foune. Bartenders were exceptionally enthusiastic, but not very knowledgeable about the bottle range. Still well worth a visit.

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Photo of RedBeerchetta
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

This place is a must for beer advocates. I live in Toronto from 2001 - 04 and go back regularly. The beer scene has improved quite a bit over the years and beer bistro is a welcome addition. Outstanding selection with a good variety of international and Canadian craft brews, with a beer cellar containing some gems. I wasn't there long, but did have a Maudite on tap and am looking forward to coming back to sit at the hidden little side bar, down the hall leading to the restrooms, that overlooks the kitchen.

Crowd is usually made up of young professionals- to be expected given the southern Bay Street location.

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Photo of brushtachio
4.35/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Was lucky enough to stay 1 block from Beerbistro on a recent trip to Toronto. Great selection of local beers on tap and a decent bottle collection including some cellared bottles (had a 1999 Rogue Old Crustacean while there). Wide open layout makes it loud during busy times, even in the dinning room. The service was friendly and, at least 2 of the 3 times I was there, informative.
Only downside is the food. They've got a cool philosophy of trying to design the menu to specifically pair with beer but unfortunately the execution doesn't live up to the concept.

Still, I was more than happy to go here each and every night I was in Toronto and I never ran out of new beers to experience.

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Photo of hammerhead24
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

On my last trip to Toronto -- in mid_January -- I was able to hit four pretty decent bars in two nights -- Beer Bistro, C'est What, Smokeless Joe's and the Irish Embassy.

Beer Bistro was the highest-end of the four places, and well worth the stop. I'm more of a mid-end bar kind of place (nice pub like C'est What), but I loved the Beer Bistro, which is all pleasing sightlines, polished steel and the like.

I was going solo on a business trip, so I sat at the very small bar, eight stools the night I sat there and watched the snow fall outside throUgh the big plate-glass window closest to me.

The draft list is very good and all I can speak to because I did not try any bottles. The service was perfunctory, but not bad. I prefer my bartenders to be a bit more social, but that may have been because I was alone at the bar and hoping for some conversation with my drinks.

I had three drafts with dinner -- a Hop Addict IPA, a St. Ambrosie Ale and a La Maudite from the people that make Fin du Monde. All beers, I should note, that are not readily available anywhere by me back home. And, that is the one knock I would make on their tap selection, the fact that several of their beers are commercially accessible in any major city (Hoegarden, Hacker Pschorr, Pilsner Urquell and Sam Adams. But, that is just a minor complaint.

The food is amazing here. I had the mussels, of which their are several different presentation styles, and the belgium frites. Everything was spot on. The kitchen is open, and you can see the chefs doing the cooking from anywhere in the dining room. There are also a couple of bar-like seasts right up against one of the windows into the kitchen that looked like a cool place to sit. Many of the entrees also work the Beer Bistro's beers into the recipes.

As I was getting ready to leave, to head off to smokeless joe's, a three-piece jazz band was just setting up in the lounge area. I woiuld have happily stayed.

As it turned out, I had to come back -- on the way back to my hotel -- to pick up my credit card, which I had left behind.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

We stopped here after dinner at Smokeless Joe, about a 5 block walk throught the frigid cold. The atmosphere is a little highbrow, with many suits and financial types distributed throughout. The bar is maybe 12 seats long, there are maybe ten tables sprinkled around the bar, and there's a restaurant section with seating for about 60-70. The tap list is roughly 25 deep, mostly very good selections. I tried Fullers Mr. Hairy and a Hop Addict. Service was OK, they were very busy but attended quickly when beckoned. A very nice bar that I won't hesitate to come to again if in town.

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Beer Bistro in Toronto, ON, Canada
96 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.