St. Patrick’s Day Picks in Toronto

For those who were unaware – the two of you who don’t own calendars – St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday this year. For most, that’s the luck of the Irish coming into play. For myself, that’s hell in a hand-basket. The parties will be even more sloshtastic than usual, the bars getting their fill at 2:30pm, and the drunkards coming out to play in the wee morning hours. Le sigh…

So, rather than do a rundown of some of the top parties to attend where college aged beer bunnies will be traipsing around as gracefully as a slovenly mule, I’ve decided to pick a few key spots where the crowd will be a little more, shall we say, controlled, but the St. Patty’s Day spirit will be alive and well. Also, is the 17th an environmentally friendly day because everything’s green…?

(PS Before you check out the list, why not see what the lovely Nicki and Sam got up to last year for St. Patrick’s Day? Quite the rabble-rousers, these two…)

For the Traditional Atmosphere Seeker
Auld Spot Pub
They’ve got two locations to serve barrel-aged Innis & Gunn, one on the Danny and one in Little Italy. The Auld Spot Pub is a VTV favourite because the beer selection goes past domestic and the vibe is chill to say the least. The food’s more than decent for pub grub, so get in early, hunker down, and drink your brain cells away.
The Auld Spot Pub | 347 Danforth Avenue and 633 College Street | auldspot.ca

For the Wine Drinker
Swirl Wine Bar

If you know Nicki, you know the girl will eat just about anything once, but trying to pass some beer past her pursed lips is damned near impossible. So, Nicks, this one’s for you. If you’re going vino-style on St. Patty’s Day – first off, for shame – then Swirl Wine Bar is a great little east end joint that screams ‘home’ and has a selection of wine that will…I don’t know…calm the Irish fury? (Is that a saying?)
Swirl Wine Bar | 946 Queen Street East | swirltoronto.com

For the Beer Connoisseur
Bar Volo
I love this central bar, just north of Yonge and Wellesley. The craft beer selection is tight, the servers well-informed for those who can’t decide, and the small patio is great for people-watching. I highly recommend ordering up pretty much anything by Montreal brewery Dieu du Ciel. (I fell in love with their Aphrodite at WVRST and try a different batch anytime I can.)
Bar Volo | 587 Yonge Street | barvolo.com

For The Dive Bar Lover
The Dog’s Bollocks
Last time I was here (a long while ago) there were about 20 beers on tap, a bit of an odd smell, and some random butter chicken on the menu. From what I’ve heard, not much has changed. Which is great for those of you who don’t want to bump into an old friend when you’re at your sloppiest.
The Dog’s Bollocks | 817 Queen Street West

For the Classy Pub Goer
Brazen Head Pub
I quite like it here. It’s that traditional pub experience we all know and love, but taken up a notch because of its Liberty Village surroundings. Bonus: The rooftop patio is an excellent touch, and if the Weather Network is right just this one time, it should be about 19 degrees and sunny on the day of debauchery. Also, the food is much better than you’d expect from a ‘pub’.
Brazen Head Pub | 165 East Liberty Street | brazenhead.ca