Dingy delights: 10 of the best dive bars in Toronto

Jul 29 2022, 6:17 pm

Let’s face it, with inflation as high as it is, a lot of us are scaling back on how much we spend on a night out.

A $135 cocktail…in this economy?

Dive bars offer cheap tallboys, cozy booths, interesting patrons, and no shortage of quirky decor. It’s a good thing the city’s full of these watering holes.

If you’re looking for a spot that’s both fun and unfussy, check out any of the following dive bars in Toronto — your wallet will thank you later.

Swan Dive

 

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A pool table, pinball machines, good music, and cheap drinks; what more could you ask for? Pints and tallboys are well under $8 and you can sip your brew with various nostalgic videos playing in the background.

Address: 1631 Dundas Street West

Phone: 647-347-0099

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Sweaty Betty’s

 

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If you’re looking for something small, unpretentious, and LGBTQ-friendly, this place is it. The best-kept secret is the back patio.

Fun fact: Drew Barrymore bartended here the last time she was in town for TIFF.

Address: 13 Ossington Avenue
Phone: 416-535-6861

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Wide Open

 

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Whether you’re on the hunt for some after-work drinks, on a date, or celebrating a birthday with friends, you won’t be paying more than $5 for a drink here. Wide Open offers $4 drinks on Mondays, $5 pints, and $4.50 mixed drinks on Wednesdays, plus $5 Jim Beam shots all day, every day.

Address: 139 Spadina Avenue
Phone: 416-551-7099

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Sneaky Dee’s

 

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No list is complete without Sneaky Dee’s. Arguably Toronto’s quintessential dive, this spot has cheap pitchers of beer and plates of nachos (the enormous King’s Crown is a crowd pleaser), plus live music most nights.

Address: 431 College Street
Phone: (416) 603-3090

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Grossman’s Tavern


This is the perfect spot if you take your pint of lager with a side of jazz. Established in 1943, Grossman’s is one of Toronto’s longest-running music venues. Here, you can order cheap beer and munch on a bag of chips for $2 or a plate of fries for $5.

Address: 379 Spadina Avenue
Phone: 416-977-7000

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Wheatsheaf Tavern

Welcome to Toronto’s oldest bar. This tavern has sat pretty on the corner of King and Bathurst since 1849. Wheatsheaf is the go-to for wings, ale, and a good ol’ hockey game. Enjoy half-priced wings every Tuesday.

Address: 667 King Street West
Phone: 416-504-9912

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Ted’s Collision

 

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Nestled in between swanky condos and upscale cocktail bars in Little Italy is this unassuming bar oozing with grit and rock ‘n roll. The lights are tinted red and there are candles everywhere for cozy vibes.

Address: 573 College Street
Phone: 416-530-7569

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The Hole in the Wall

This bar could not have a more obvious name. It’s a tiny, blink-and-you-miss-it spot in the Junction that services a bevy of craft beer options and casual global dishes, all relatively cheap. Brunch is available from 11 am to 3 pm daily.

Address: 2867A Dundas Street West
Phone: 647-883-7781

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Done Right Inn

 

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Another gem on Queen West is the Done Right Inn. Here you can find $4.50 bottles of domestic beer and $6 pints. A massive tree in the back patio provides all the shade you need on hot summer days.

Address: 861 Queen Street West
Phone
: (416) 364-9102

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Pharmacy Bar

 

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Another cozy, intimate spot for cheap drinks is located in the heart of Parkdale. This bar, which opens daily at 8 pm, has a great collection of craft beers and bourbon.

Fun fact: the place used to be a pharmacy and methadone clinic, hence the name.

Address: 1318 King Street West

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