C'est What?

Your Rating: None
BA SCORE
3.65/5
Good
132 Ratings
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

67 Front St E
Toronto, Ontario, M5E 1B5
Canada

(416) 867-9499 | map
cestwhat.com

Notes:
C'est What? brand beers are brewed by County Durham Brewery.

Added by BeerAdvocate

Beers are brewed at / by another brewery.
BEER STATS
Beers:
8
Reviews:
101
Ratings:
132
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
4.15/5
Reviews:
67
Ratings:
92
pDev:
9.16%
 
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Ratings: 92 |  Reviews: 67
Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I would be lying if I said that I did not love a place whose name is predicated on a Franco-American pun.

Entering at street level, I had to descend a set of stairs, with an entryway directly in front of them, at the bottom, and another to the left. The left is the primary entry and there was an aquarium just inside of the door with a fireplace against the wall and a bank of tables and chairs to the left. The bar was off to the right, along the wall and was an immense “U”-shape with sixteen (16) taps and many whiskies above the back bar. Headed aft was another bank of tables along the left wall and further aft, there was a display of spent bottles, then the washrooms, and finally, a couple of pool tables with the kitchen all of the way aft. There was also an archway to the left of the bar, by which one could access the restaurant area, if that front door was closed and/or locked. They were efficient and friendly and the selection was just unbeatable. I only wish that I could have stayed longer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

A very good pub. Three of us had seven beers and some food and walked out for less than 50 CDN (38 USD). Smoking and non-smoking areas, lots of tables and sofas and billiard tables. Servers not beer knowledgeable, an Ontario problem, but very alert and competent in serving. Lighting dim dim. We had a good time. Food good for pub and for sampling several beers. Choice of beers by variety and peculiarity very good. Clearly they are a supporter of the microbreweries and that's the selection. Definitely worth a visit.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.44/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I stopped here on a frigid Wednesday night, about 3 blocks from my hotel. The layout is nice, split up into 2 large rooms, each with a bar. One side has two pool tables ($12-13 per hour), and that's where we set up shop. The draft list is very impressive, and rather than listing them I'll refer to their website which looks well updated. I chose Unibroue Raftman because I'd been on an informal hunt for it for longer than appropriate.

The atmosphere is laid back, most of the crowd was 20-30, with maybe 20% at 30-40 and 10% 40+. The tap selection is well put together, the bartenders are friendly and knowledgable. Absolutely recommended.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Stopped by for a birthday lunch and left very happy. C'est What is located across the street from Toronto's "Flatiron Building" (Not sure of the actual name) in a cozy, comfortable and attractive subterranean room decorated in light wood and stonework. There is a lengthy bar on one side and the usual smattering of tables and such. Very atmospheric. Along with this is a very impressive beer list that offers their own house beers and several local crafts. (They do have something on cask, as well.) Excellent service and some hearty grub made for a fine lunch amid the hustle and bustle of the city's downtown core.
During my visit, I enjoyed these: Hogtown Kolsch, Al's Cask, Joan's Dark Secret and a tasty IPA from one of Ontario's newer brewers Rhyme and reason.
A worthy stop when in Toronto.

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Photo of Canada_Dan
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

An awesome little brewpub on front street in Toronto. This bar has some great wooden architecure and a very chilled and relaxed atmosphere. The deco is really cool and the bartenders are all very nice. The quality of all 5 of their house brews is great. The highlights are the Al's Cask Ale and the Coffee Porter (on nitro). This bar also has some great micros on tap as well, such as the St. Ambroise line, some McAuslan brews, a local cider, and Unibroues Raftman. So the service and selection are excellent as is the quality and atmosphere of this place. a DO NOT MISS place, when you are in Toronto. I do not know if they serve food or not....

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Photo of chrisjws
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of mattmarka1
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Get ready relax, this little pub serves up a place to hang out and sample some quality beers. The dimmed lights and dark tones of the furniture just add to the mellow mood of the joint. A jazz band was playing on the other side that had been playing at C'est What? for 14 of the 15 years it has been open.

The overall quality of this etablishment is very high in my book, for their service, food, atmosphere, and selection of micros and beers they brew themselves are all good.

Our waitress was on point had every part of our order down, and another waiter there even came and fielded a couple of my questions about the beer I was drinking. The employees were doing all that is expected and then some to create an enjoyable experience. Everyone was very friendly.

The tap selection was at 29 beers, I went with the house brewed coffee porter. I must say it was excellent. They also make a Hemp ale and a few other specialties, but their draft selection was unlike anything we had seen in Canada at this point. They had some St. Ambroise, and other local micros flowing. So, they weren't serving up macro, I give em a thumbs up for that.

The food, well I can't give a full explanation of this, but I had a buffalo burger for lunch, and it was cooked perfectly. When I looked around to what others were looking everything looked really good.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.4/5  rDev +6%
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!

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Photo of smcolw
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I was in Toronto for one night. C'est What was having a local beer fest. For a dollar per 3oz glass, one could try over 30 beers from across the Toronto area. What luck! As proverbial kid in the candy store, I enjoyed my time there but I'm certain that it was not a typical evening.

One of the nicest things about the evening was that it was not overwhelmingly busy. Typically the bar was one-deep and the wait for a beer never exceeded five minutes. The staff was friendly, but it was too busy to determine if they were knowledgable of the brews. The patrons, however, were VERY aware of the beers. The crowd was friendly and often recommended various brews to try. Many of the brewers were present and available to discuss their wares, often sharing the general contents of each beer.

My one regret was that I didn't have a chance to try the food. If it is anywhere like the rest, this would be one of the finest Brewpubs I've experienced.

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Photo of Soloveitchik
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of DrJay
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is definitely one of the best places to have a pint in Toronto. Located downstairs on Front Street, a recent expansion makes it much easier to find a seat and enjoy some great beer than it was before. On one side is the old bar, a little darker and more intimate. The new side is much more light and open, with a large fireplace surrounded by couches being a high point. Several pool tables are set at the edges of the seating areas and they don't get in the way of other patrons.

The best part of going to C'est What? is certainly the tap selection. Normally there are at least four cask-conditioned ales available, several nitro-dispensed, and a couple dozen more offerings to choose from. These are all from Canadian microbreweries, with no macros or imports to be seen. The large number of taps can make it difficult to decide on a beer, but always gives you a reason to go back. There are fewer offerings in bottles, with some imports available.

The food is of decent quality, with a couple of standouts. The lamburger is delicious, served with a side of fries with tzatziki. And the beef ribs are made with the coffee porter brewed for the pub. Daily specials mean that there are always new things to try.

The service can be hit-and-miss. I've had great service and the constant attention of my server when the place was packed, and I've been nearly ignored when the pub was nearly empty. It just depends on which staff members are working.

Overall, this is a very comfortable pub and a great place to stop in and have some beer and food with friends.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

My wife and I visited this pub during an overnite stay in Toronto. The pub is easy to find with their unique sign standing out on the street side. Walking down some stairs into the pub everything is red brick walls. Upon entering, there is a long rectangular bar to the right and a fish tank in front of you. There are table and chair combos and some booths throughout the pub. At least 4 pool tables as well and some fireplaces as well. Very nice atmosphere. I also discover some book cases of old beer bottles near the bathrooms , some pretty cool bottles there.
The beers on tap are not brewed on premise, I dont think. There are 6 house beers and also a good selection of local/regional canadian ales and lagers. I had the chocolate ale and the hemp ale and both were good.
Food ranges from typical pub grub to unique east asian vegetarian fare. We actually both ordered vegetarian and the food was VERY tasty. One dish was a little spicy which was unexpected from the description but very nice flavor mix regardless. prices were pretty reasonable for the food and the beer, I ordered beers at 1/2 pint size and paid 2-3$ a drink.
The sevice was very friendly and helpful.
Overall I enjoyed my visit to this establishment, I would go here again for sure.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in yesterday when I had a few hours to kill before my trip to YYZ and Volo was closed all day. Meandered down a side street and saw the place pretty clearly, even got a parking space within 20 meters of the front door (however, still received a parking ticket, though I had 2 hours worth of parking on the stub. beware the parking ticket ninjas)

It is down a set of stairs into a basement. Very surprising setup with fancy pool tables, original art on the walls, and an interesting cross section of Toronto in there at 4. It was a mongrel between a cave-like dive bar and a trendy hipster joint, keeping the best features of each.

Service was prompt, friendly and very knowledgable. A young hipster started asking for a framboise. She quickly informed him that, with the exception of McAuslen and Unibroue, they only serve Ontario craft. You gotta respect that. She even nicely told me that the Hemp Ale was probably crap and not worth my time.

Loads of locals and a host of their own brews on tap. Quality bottle and scotch selection to back it all up too. They had several sizes to choose from, which enabled me to sample a bit more.

Pub grub with flair. They had both bison and lamb burgers and the sandwich menu even had a falafel. I went with the falafel and a couple brews.

Cheaper than the other places in Toronto. Half pints around $3 and full pints between 4-5. Even the bottles were cheaper, with the quite rare Tsarina Katarina only being $8-9 canadian.

Definitely worth stopping in and having a few. At least you only have to man those stairs intoxicated on the way out...

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Photo of cratez
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of sleazo
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
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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Photo of bobsy
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've been to this downtown mainstay more times than I can count, and I think its the first place in North America where I realised that I could leave England and get a good drink. Since then, there's been no turning back. C'est What holds a special place in my heart due to its combination of great tasting, hearty pubfood, and fantastic selection of Ontario micros and house brews.

The pub is situated down a flight of stairs in the St. Lawrence Market area of the city (the market itself is well worth a visit - particularly the Saturday morning farmer's market in the north building. Although it does not have the intimate environment of a bar like Volo, or a great sense of history, it does provide a relaxed atmosphere and an ideal setting for groups. I've always found the staff to be friendly and helpful. A couple of times I've had to wait a couple minutes longer than ideal, but hey, just kick back and relax.

About a year ago they installed 5 cask beer engines, and now offer rotating offerings through them. They also bring in the local seasonals as they appear. Recent beers I have enjoyed their included Wellington Imperial Stout (cask), Grand River Jubilation Spiced Ale, Unibroue Maudite, Scotch Irish Santa Claws Christmas Cake Porter (cask) and the always fantastic C'est What Hazelnut Chocolate Ale.

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Photo of dgilks
4.19/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of GreenWBush
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5

A charming little joint tucked into a nice part of town. An unassuming awning is the only thing to beckon you into this wonderfully decorated place. Vintage beer-phernalia meets mood-lit pleasing cool colors and wood. Lots of blues and yellows, but not of the gaudy logo. Just an amazing subterranean beer dwelling. 15 or so taps including some of Canada’s hoppiest as well as real ale from local brewers and the house brews. Nice single-malt selection.
We loved this place so much that we went three times over three days. Great pool tables available for ~$10/hour. Plenty of seating at the bar and around. Seems in line with Toronto’s very cinema vibe, almost like you could easily shoot part of a movie in here.
Service was very good, waitress was attentive and understanding of our beer geek needs! We met a couple of very nice Americans who were equally beer-minded.
A great place to spend time. I would suggest this as the beer bar in Toronto not just for the beer but for the atmosphere, quaint and quiet (at least while we were there!) and absolutely adorable.

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C'est What? in Toronto, ON, Canada
Brewery rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 132 ratings