Toronto Dive Bar Guide

Beautiful City With Divey Roots

Toronto is a beautiful city, almost so beautiful that the presence of dive bars is easy to doubt amid what is a modern patchwork of walkable neighborhoods. But though many of Toronto’s ever-changing neighborhoods are populated by upscale food & drink options, there are always those links to the past, those suggestions of what the area used to be like before the investment money and chain restaurants showed up.

Sweaty Betty’s on the edge of the Dundas West and Queen West areas of Toronto is one such example, opened in 2004 when the surroundings were a bit rougher around the edges. The Done Right Inn in West Queen West sings a similar song, opened in 1998 amid what founder Lisa Sevazlian referred at as a “barren wasteland.” Though their neighbors have changed over the years, both Toronto dive bars provide a glimpse of the past.

And then there are live music dive bar institutions like the attractively-named Bovine Sex Club, a combination music venue, dive bar and rooftop tiki lounge that sits under a massive sculpture constructed out of discarded items collected throughout Toronto. The intriguing live music combinations continue with Sneaky Dee’s, another pillar of Toronto’s music scene that combines punk rock roots with decades of graffiti and a strong food reputation built on elaborate plates of nachos.

The dive bars below represent just a small slice of the dive bars and affordable lounges found along almost every city street in the dense, neighborhood-dominated patchwork that is Toronto. Any of the recommendations below provide a great jumping off point to find a new, old option nearby.

Dive Bar Map

Toronto Dive Bar Reviews

Ranked Order

Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Communist's Daughter

Review Rating: 10 out of 10
A thumbprint-sized dive bar so pure it refused to change the sign from the space's previous business.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Ted's Collision & Body Repair

Review Rating: 9 out of 10
Mismatched tables, hidden back patio and a thick layer of rock & roll ambiance in Little Italy.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Done Right Inn

Review Rating: 9 out of 10
Affordable drinking in a chill atmosphere with the divey edge of Toronto's West Queen West past.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Bovine Sex Club

Review Rating: 9 out of 10
Rock club downstairs, tiki bar upstairs, reclaimed car parts throughout this Toronto icon.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Ronnie's Local 069

Review Rating: 8 out of 10
Ronnie's provides divey balance to the coffee shop and vegan bakery Kensington Market vibe.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Swan Dive

Review Rating: 8 out of 10
Black walls, black tile, black chairs and a cascade of doll heads from the ceiling above the bar.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Sweaty Betty's

Review Rating: 8 out of 10
Chandeliers, antique furniture and string lights set against a deep red backdrop since 2004.
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Sneaky Dee's

Review Rating: 8 out of 10
There is no combo quite like graffiti-covered dive bar, live music venue and nachos emporium.

Toronto Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

East Chinatown

Farside

600 Gerrard St E
Toronto, Ontario M4M 1Y3
Google Map

Kensington Market

Cloak & Dagger Irish Pub

394 College St
Toronto, Ontario M5T 1S7
Google Map

Kensington Market

Grossman's Tavern

377 Spadina Ave.
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2G3
Google Map

King Street West

Pharmacy Bar

1318 King St W
Toronto, Ontario M6K 1G8
Google Map

Old Toronto

Imperial Pub

54 Dundas St E
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1C7
Google Map

Queen West

Wide Open

139A Spadina Ave.
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2L7
Google Map

Other Dive Bar Options

Al Mac's Bar & Grill

2459 Kingston Rd
Scarborough, Ontario M1N 1V4
Google Map

Bistro 422

422 College St
Toronto, Ontario M5T 1T3
Google Map

Black Swan Tavern

154 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4K 1N1
Google Map

Dakota Tavern

249 Ossington Ave
Toronto, Ontario M6J 3A1
Google Map

Flamingo Restaurant

2104 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4C 1J9
Google Map

Get Well

1181 Dundas St W
Toronto, Ontario M6H 1Y3
Google Map

Happy Cup Bar & Restaurant

1274 Bloor St W
Toronto, Ontario M6H 1N8
Google Map

Happy Day's Restaurant & Bar

1802 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4C 1H8
Google Map

James Black Bear Pub

3276 Danforth Ave
Scarborough, Ontario M1L 1C3
Google Map

Jenny's Bar & Restaurant

2383 Dundas St W
Toronto, Ontario M6P 1X2
Google Map

Linsmore Tavern

1298 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4J 1M6
Google Map

Moonlight Pub

1162 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4J 1M3
Google Map

Pour Boy Pub

666 Manning Ave
Toronto, Ontario M6G 2W4
Google Map

Ruby Tuesdays

1942 Gerrard St E
Toronto, Ontario M4L 2C1
Google Map

The Duke of York

39 Prince Arthur Ave
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B2
Google Map

The Jem

2662 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4C 1L7
Google Map

The Rusty Nail Pub

2202 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4C 1K3
Google Map

Tommy's Grill & Bar

1206 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4J 1M6
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

13 + 12 =

Browse All City-By-City Listings