Playoff hockey is finally here, and for the first time in nine years it’s coming to Toronto! For all of us die-hards who’ve literally bled blue and white for our whole lives (often we’ve cried it, too) this is a pivotal time. I think of the children who’ve grown up as Maple Leafs addicts, never to see them on the quest for the Cup at all. I for one have never been able to watch the Maple Leafs play at a bar in the postseason… legally.
The CN Tower will be lit with blue and turn into a 553-metre goal light every time the Leafers pot one, the city will erupt with every big hit from Colton Orr, and no matter what the outcome, this is shaping up to be one of the most exciting Springs that Toronto sports fans have seen in quite some time. While this is hopefully a playoff run that will last multiple rounds, here’s a roundup of the best places in Toronto to catch these historic NHL games…
An Sibin Pub
Known for their live music and long list of whiskeys, An Sibin Pub is the ideal Leslieville locale to get your game on this playoff season. With a dynamite menu and super friendly staff (and aside from the Leafs jerseys that will surround you) this Irish pub will almost make you feel like you’re on the Emerald Isle.
Dog and Bear
One of the most magical British pub-style menus of any sports-oriented bar in Toronto, Dog and Bear has a food/drink special for every day of the week. No matter what the outcome of the game, at least at this Queen West pub you know one part of you is going home satisfied.
Firkin on Yonge
With a 200-seat capacity, there’s barely a seat in the house that doesn’t have a view of the massive 10’ x 8’ drop-down screen. Great grub and beer specials are consistently on tap. In the epicenter of Yonge and Dundas, there is no better option!
Hoops Sports Bar
Big on screens for every big game, Hoops Sports Bar has six locations around the GTA to serve sports fans. Each Hoops location is equipped with a multitude of HD screens and a 126-inch infinite plasma screen so you can literally see the sweat beads drop of those playoff beards.
Rally Sports Bar
Southern smoked barbecue, a big selection of premium beers and a bevy of HD screens in every direction. Who you’re rooting for is the only difficult decision you’ll have to make at Rally Sports bar… Wait a minute, that’s not hard either!
In the sporting world, it’s all about the stats, and Real Sports sure puts up big numbers. A 39-foot HD big screen and 199 HD TVs, 36 beers and 114 taps all housed in a whopping 25,000 sq. ft. space. You can’t argue with those figures.
Sports Centre Café
If you’re part of the midtown crowd, this is the number one option when it comes to any major sporting event. Two levels of nothing but flat screens and fuzzy ales, Sports Centre Café has got every game on the docket.
St. James Gate
If you find yourself on the west side of town, St. James Gate is the perfect place to stuff your face and fill your sports gut. After the Leafs play on Saturdays, you’ll also be able to get your fill of live music.
Gretzky’s isn’t just a good place to watch the game, it’s The Great One’s place to watch the game. Completely redesigned with more wattage running through the place than a Best Buy showroom, things get seriously electric when you’re at Gretzky’s.
Yonge & Dundas Square
Set yourself up with a hip flask and some street meat. Once the Firkin packs up, the spillover option at Yonge & Dundas Square is to stay put and join the masses around their giant outdoor screen. Rain or shine, it’s playoff time!