When it comes to Fynn's of Temple drinking policy, the short answer is that you should do it. Whether it is their highly recommended brunch with $4 Mimosas and Caesars or a hefty dose of beer every night of the week, Fynn's extends their Irish hospitality one pint at a time. With dark wood accents, it is the perfect place to nurse your winter sorrows. When buds come onto the trees, their large patio opens and fills with people who have jobs that allow them to drink their lunches. Every night of the week there is a new special, including free oyster Fridays and $5 burger Tuesdays. Live pub music is played every Wednesday for winter, spring and fall. In the summer, they just expect that you will go outside.
You may be able to have too many shoes, but you can never have too many brew pubs (too much beer is another thing, but let's not bring the mood down). Toronto's Barhop doesn't require that you engage in a tour of the city. There is more than enough brewing goodness in one place. You can get a large format table bottle if you and your friends are the sharing types, or you can sample from their seasonal beer list. There is even a nice array of gluten free beers and ciders. The gastropub atmosphere means that you are not stuck with some greasy reheated fare, but rather hearty food that matches the fancy brews. Start with the garlic brown butter doughnuts and don't shy away from the breaded pickles. Breath mints might be a nice thing to pack along with your wallet.
As you walk into the basement of a nondescript brick building, you either think, "This is going to be good," or "This is going to be horrible." Luckily, Pai's humble abode caters to the former thought. There is usually a wait, but it is Toronto and the line does move fast thanks to the 80-seat capacity. Things get loud in here, with excited patrons, booming music and sizzling dishes making their way to new tables at breakneck speeds. Named after a spot in Northern Thailand, Pai specializes in family style dishes, divided into "Snacks and Starters" and "Mains." Add the papaya salad and the Thai omelette to your usual repertoire.
Steam Whistle Brewery makes a Canadian pilsner that they are rightfully proud of. This local beer maker is located right near the Roger's Centre and the CN Tower. It is a perfect stop on the Toronto tourism train. The beer recipe has been exacted using European brewing standards, yet there is a lightheartedness to the company that is all Canadian. The four ingredients of hops, malted barley, spring water and yeast are balanced to perfection. They say that the fifth ingredient is the passion of their staff. There are always events going on, from art shows to lobster bakes. You can also privately rent out the space for tours or even your own (big fat beer) wedding.
As Toronto's downtown gets more and more crowded, there has been a trend towards sprinkles of the suburban life. Bars with patios that look like your uncle's backyard and even names that conjure up a lazy afternoon drinking lemonade. Take The Porch, for example. It is located just blocks from the Rogers Centre and offers unparalleled views of the city (which may be preferred to unparalleled views of your creepy neighbour). Margaritas (in mango, raspberry, strawberry and lime flavours), craft beers and drinks in a pail to share are all ways to cool off from the hot summer heat. It can get very busy after work hours, so if possible go during lunchtime to fully savour the experience.
From press conferences to large scale versions of game night, The Real Sports Bar doesn't pull any punches. It treats you, the sports fan, and your relationship with your team with the utmost respect. Right beside the Air Canada Centre, on game nights the Real Sports Bar can have upwards of 1,000 people watching with rapt attention. The screen is larger than most apartments in Toronto. A number of games are often on at once for those who wish there were more hours in the day...for watching sports. Don't worry about going to the washroom, because there are screens there too.
Toronto's Entertainment District has changed frequently over the past decade or so as tastes and consumer demands shift. But N'Awlins has been a fixture in the neighbourhood. Its success can be traced to offering a nightly schedule of live entertainment that includes blues, jazz and other New Orleans-inspired music. No matter when you visit N'Awlins, you're guaranteed to hear some talented musicians. The venue also offers a pretty solid menu of Cajun-Creole inspired dishes, from Cajun calamari to fried alligator to seafood jambalaya. (Alligator comes as an appetizer, if you want to test the waters, so to speak.)
Wear something fancy and indulge in an equally fancy cocktail at the Ritz Carlton's elegant DEQ Terrace and Lounge. During the winter, cozy fireplaces and furnishings inspire patrons to hunker down. During the summer, the fireplace will follow you outside to the expansive patio which has one of the best views of CN Tower and downtown Toronto. Enjoy complimentary marinated olives and Maple Cajun toasted nuts while you imbibe, or indulge in a lovely light menu that includes gems like the astoundingly good fried chickpea fritters with carrot harissa, yogurt, cilantro and cashew. Cocktails are one-of-a-kind, with luxurious choices such as "The Goose In The Hurricane" with Grey Goose, Rum, Passion Fruit Puree and Grenadine.
Ping pong used to be about as cool as shuffleboard. Well, we better keep our eye out for a shuffleboard resurgence, because Susan Sarandon made ping pong hot. The SPIN clubs have popped up around the US and now Toronto to bring a little friendly competition to cocktail hour. Tables book from $15 an hour on Mondays to $70 an hour on Saturday night. It is advisable to book early as many people take the game seriously. There is a menu with the usual Canadian bar snacks (late night poutine, anyone?) but a local and ethical sensibility. Drinks can be as fancy as champagne or as low key as a punch bowl with 9 oz of alcohol added. Whether or not the punch will improve your game is yet to be decided.
The TIFF Lightbox is one of those places that helps to solve the conundrum "I'm bored!" without transforming into a Smartphone. This building is set up to allow you to watch all of the film festival favorites, as well as the fantastic films that slip under the radar when the next Avengers movie dominates the box office. There are snacks (guacamole instead of popcorn should become a thing everywhere) and they do not frown at people who see wine as a perfectly viable concession snack. Look around you and you may see a celeb watching their own film under the radar. Do as the Canadians do and play it cool.