587 Yonge St., 416-928-0008
Father-and-son team Ralph and Tomas Morana run their 23-year-old Yonge Street bar with the zeal of new converts to the cult of brewing. A sort of town hall for Ontario’s earnest microbrew crowd, Bar Volo offers a rotating array of Ontario drafts and cask-conditioned ales, posted daily to Twitter. Denison’s Weissbier ($7), a hazy golden ale with spicy notes and citrusy freshness, is usually on tap, and a safe starting point for initiates. There’s also a staggering selection of international bottles, and something unusual is always emerging from the Moranas’ on-site nano brewery. They have two or three casks at a time; just ask for the house ale.
The Ceili Cottage
1301 Queen St. E., 416-406-1301
Three years ago, the oyster-shucking champ Patrick McMurray turned a rundown auto shop on the eastern edge of Leslieville into an Irish local. The room smells sweet from the Irish peat McMurray keeps on a low burn in the fireplace (for that authentic Irish pub scent). Church pew seating, garrulous staff who bark at you to close the door, and cute couples playing Gaelic Scrabble create a homey feel. Thirteen kegs—no bottles—of Irish and Canadian craft brews are tapped at a time. The Barley Days Loyalist ($7), a lightly floral lager brewed in Picton, is our favourite. Harp Lager ($7.75) is hoppy and still sufficiently Irish to score nods of respect from the regulars.