It sounds crazy, I know, but there really is a grocery store in Toronto that has its own bar. Corks, in the Longo's below the Maple Leaf Square condos, is more though than just a token gesture to browsing while buzzed through the cereal aisle. There is a great selection of beer on tap (that they'll pour in a flight), in bottles, and on June 22 from cask.
Right now the six taps are devoted to pouring:
- Spearhead Hawaiian Pale Ale
- Beau's Lug Tread
- Granite Brewery Stout
- Old Credit Pale Pilsner
- Black Oak Nut Brown
- Dennison's Dunkel
Highlights from the all-Ontario bottle and can selection include Railway City's Dead Elephant, Beau's Festivale seasonal, and Flying Monkeys Smashbomb Atomic IPA.
On June 22, starting around 5 PM they'll add a couple of casks to this selection. This won't be the first cask night at Corks, but remarkably it's the first I've heard about before it happened. One of the casks will be Muskoka's Mad Tom IPA and the other a surprise cask from Flying Monkeys. I'm told an email is coming with more details but I couldn't wait to share this and will update with more details on Twitter—just watch the hashtag.
The atmosphere in the attached seating area has all the best and worst aspects of a friend's basement rec room. On the plus side, with a variety of comfortable seating, large TVs, and no blaring music, guests feel comfortable enough during hockey or soccer games to cheer like it's home. At quieter times the free wifi makes this a nice place to work. Unfortunately, low ceilings and no windows make the basement lcoation tough to forget.
That there is food in a grocery store's bar goes without saying. On Thursdays pints come with three free oysters, but the better deal might be the $10 pizza-and-pint promotion that runs from Monday to Wednesday. The pizzas come in six varieties and are quite good for grocery store pie, even if they're not DOP-certified authentic.
Whether beering-up before a game at the Air Canada Centre or waiting for a GO train departure from Union Station, Corks is one of the best places right downtown to enjoy a pint of local, Ontario craft beer.
Corks in Longo's at Maple Leaf Square
15 York Street, Toronto
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.