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Bier Market - Esplanade
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
58 The Esplanade
, M5E 1A6
phone: (416) 862-7575
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vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Walked in on a recommendation by a waitress at another beer site in Toronto, and I was not disappointed by the selection. Heavy emphasis on European brews, which usually means "hard to pick anything over the Belgians" for me, and that's what I did. Got an Urthel Hop It on tap, then the honorary Belgian, Netherlands' Trappist Konigshoeven Quad. We met a terrific girl named Sue who introduced us to Jager Bombs, so my friend and I left lit and primed for the Pearl Jam show that night. It was a wonderful place to spend some time, and the selection was one you could explore for days on end, if you were a Torontonian or regular visitor. We wouldn't have that opportunity, but we made the most of it.
Atmosphere is very European in character, matching the selection. Feels like a big German pub, several rooms and a large outside area in front, beckoning those on the sidewalk to come on in. Service might have been better. We were perusing the beer list, it was a formidable one, so I told the waiter "just need 2 minutes." I meant literally "2 minutes," but I guess he thought I said "10 minutes," because that's how long it took him to come back. But, once we were served the first time, he was attentive to our needs thereafter.
While everything is a bit pricey here, we had a great time and drank some truly top-notch beer too. Not much more you can ask for, really...
09-14-2011 16:24:26 |
More by Metalmonk
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$$
Went here for a friends bday dinner on a friday night...
Atmosphere when we first got there was dead...we were there initially at 8 on a friday and the place was mostly empty...however, over the course of the next hour or so...that changed...was not overly crowded but all tables were filled, as was all stools and people were standing around the bar...we were seated at a large table kinda in the restaurant portion right in front of their stage. A cover band (pretty good for a cover band) went on at around 10 I think. It was relaxed upscalish.
The service was pretty good too...the server was great with making suggestions for me...as I had not heard of most of these beers b/c they were predominantly Canadian. She asked what style I liked, etc. Very helpful...she was also helpful in making sense of their menu. She was attentive.
Selection...was impressive...lots of things on draft...don't know how many but it was at least 20 I would think...plus a lot of bottles...small and large. Predominantly Canadian micro brewers but some US as well (saw some Rogue and others)...also offered BMC. I had an Alexander Keith's IPA...(see review) among a couple others...I mention this IPA here b/c it was the worst IPA I have had...it is not an IPA!
I had a flatbread for dinner along w/ shared apps for the table...everything I tried was quite good...my flatbread was 12...but that is where the value really does end...this place is PRICEY! Food...beers...drinks...everything...very pricey. I don't recall seeing a full entree for under $24 and most beers were at least $8.
I would probably go back here but cost could be prohibitive. Overall...good place though.
07-19-2011 17:19:38 |
More by crashdavisinoh
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$$$
One of many beer haunts in Toronto I was hoping to explore in the coming months. A chance trip to T.O. this weekend gave me the opportunity to check the place out, and generally speaking I was happy with the experience, but with some strong reservations.
The bar was easy to find, and there is ample parking in adjacent lots nearby. Though it was dinnertime on a Sunday, the place was relatively busy. Staff were helpful almost to a fault. Our waitress in particular was very friendly, patient (two of our party needed a good ten minutes to whittle down a beer selection), and her descriptions of some of the more unknown brews on the bottle list were spot on.
The restaurant/bar is pretty large, dark, with stone walls and dark wood accents. Random kegs are found in piles here and there, probably as a decoration. Some Bruegel-style paintings adorn the wall. It looked more like a club than a biergarden, but it was still fairly nice.
The staff was great and the place looked good enough. However, I'd rate this place higher if even just one of the three following things had been better:
1) Beer selection: This place does indeed have a very large draught selection, far better than most places I've seen in the province, but there wasn't a lot there that really wowed me. All but a few brews on the list are available in regular rotation at the LCBO, although it was nice to see them on draught. Foreign lager heavy, although there were some nice rarer brews to be found in the mix. I had Spaten Munchner and De Koninck. The locals, however, were wanting: just Steam Whistle, Denison's and Welly Dark, possibly an Amsterdam blonde. Nothing from Mill Street, Granite, Duggan, Black Oak or beyond. C'est What is just down the road, and is a lot better for this. However, I'd have been be more happier with the selection this if it weren't for...
2) The Price. I know Toronto beer is more expensive than other places, but jeez... Even the pints on special were pushing 8 bucks before tax/tip. The single bottle selections were so tempting, but were nearly 10 bucks a pop. I splurged and had Hoegaarden Verboden Vrucht, which was excellent, but was about $9.50. It was also my third bottle choice, as the previous two were out. Hard to really sample the fare - I really felt constricted to only have one or two before my wallet gave out.
3) The Food. Holy mother, this menu is pricey. I mean ridiculously pricey. My wife ordered a cheese platter to accompany our sampling, and for $17 dollars we got three small wedges, barely enough to share, with a few grapes and some crackers. Yes, cheese is expensive, but come on... Everything else on the menu was ludicrously expensive, so we took our hungry stomachs next door to a pseudo Irish pub and ate there.
Worth visiting only so often, especially if you've got a hankering for a rare foreign brew that would otherwise require a trip to Belgium to acquire. But if the prices were more reasonable, if the food was better-priced and more diverse, or if the beer selection was more unique, this would have been an excellent spot. As it is, my beer hankerings will probably take me to better places in the area. My wallet and inner beer geek will thank me...
03-28-2011 17:26:23 |
More by JohnnyBarman
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$$
I have visited this place a bunch of times over the years.
The tap selection is abundant but the amount dedicated to craft beer is lacking. There are a lot of different macros available as well as a few rarer European macros (often a special beer of the month type deal) and a decent selection of good Belgian Ales on tap as well. You'll find a handfull of craft beer on tap here aside from the Belgian Ales but they are generally the more common offerings from the likes of St. Ambroise (Oatmeal Stout & Pale Ale for example) and Mill Street.
The food is decent, but nothing to go out of your way for.
The atmosphere is really nice - dark & classy - but if you visit on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night the place is packed and very loud.
02-28-2011 03:38:58 |
More by TheSevenDuffs
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 1.5 | $$$$
I live across the street from this place and I've only been once in the last year, which should tell you something. The beer list has some ok international selections, but most of it is filler (how many different European lagers do you need?). I've had bad experiences with beer too, either from them not cleaning out their tap lines or the kegs not rotating often enough. First time I had Brooklyn Lager was there and it was disgusting. I thought it was the beer that was bad, but I've since had the beer and really enjoy it.
The food is over priced for what you get. A main course that is $25 is similar quality to $15 main elsewhere in the city, or for the same price you can do much better in Toronto.
Don't go here on weekend late nights unless you want more of a club type atmosphere. For that purpose, it isn't bad.
02-26-2010 16:07:41 |
More by kwjd
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
A cool upscale-like cellar atmosphere. It is completely different when not on a Thursday to Saturday night. Those weekend nights turn the place into a party bar with live entertainment that can be fun if you are in that mood.
Very good selection of beers from around the world but I've sometimes had trouble getting the "best-of-the-best" beers.
A limited but interesting food menu of good quality (I like the poutine).
I've always had very good service. The bar staff have been helpful in particular.
12-15-2009 04:13:16 |
More by ecoastman
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
Popped in to get a nice refreshing beer after completing a charity run nearby. Bagged a spot on the huge patio at the front and soaked in the nice weather. This place has a lot going for it - the patio is one of the better ones in the city, and the inside is cavernous yet classy, like some sort of fancy German beer hall. I highly recommend coming here when its not busy unless you want to be surrounded by douchebags who think they're the shiz. Definitely avoid Thursday to Saturday nights - it becomes a total meat market and you will lose all your faith in humanity.
Extensive list of Belgians is without a doubt the largest in the city as of reviewing. Taps are a mix of not-so-exciting local micros and standard inBev/macro crap. A couple Belgians liven it up - DeKoninck and Delirium Tremens. I'm not so sure about the beer quality. The Denison's weisse we ordered was a mere shadow of every other time I've had it, and I got the impression that because it is a standard tap even though its contract brewed in batches, that the pub probably buys up a whole bunch at once and leaves it to fester. That said I've had no issues with the other beers I've had here, although I think a reduction in the number of taps would help improve the overall freshness. I've eaten there a couple of times and the food is quite good (and priced towards an upscale market).
Stick to the taps unless you've brought your bank manager. These are not prices you would be comfortable paying, especially if you're used to US pricing.
06-16-2008 13:57:13 |
More by bobsy
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$$
Had a chance to stop by this place this weekend on a trip to Toronto. The inside is warm, cozy, dark and elegant. I gave it an average rating because at about 9:15 a security guard told me that we were going to have to get up soon. The stools were going to be removed to prepare for "the crowd". Hmmm... alright?
20 minutes later:
The place is full of club-ish douchebags.
People making mixed drinks using beer. People ordering Bud Lights (which are like $6.25). Bartenders not being able to hear over the over-privileged, under classy, desperate for a one-night-stand, late night asshole patrons. Terrible.
So anyway... back to the beer. The beer was great. Several awesome selections not common or readily available in the States. Hoegaarden Grand Cru, Cuban beer, Leffe Brune, etc.
The prices were obnoxiously high.
I had never had a Rogue Brutal Bitter and it was my friend's favorite rogue beer. We didn't think to ask what they cost as they popped the tops on our 22 oz'ers. Flipping through the beer guide we saw that, in the back, there was a price by each beer offered: My rogue bomber (that I pay $6.39 for in the US) was fucking $16.15. yeah, $16.15. Plus GST. Plus tip.
I picked up the first round and it cost me $40!
01-14-2008 01:52:07 |
More by Rudgers73
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
I had a whirlwind tour of Toronto Saturday. Esplanade Bier Market was our starting point. We sat at the bar and were handed beer menus, and proceeded from there.
I'd consider this an upscale bar/restaurant. Curves seemed to be the architectural theme. Very few straight lines. There are a couple televisions on the back wall, showing the Leafs/Habs game during my visit. The volume level was slightly loud, but not club level earbursting level. It's definitely on the trendy side of things, but I was still comfortable.
The beer selection is very slanted towards Belgium. Canada's brewers are second in prominence, then a sampling of the rest of the globe. I was most interested in the local beers. I started with a Denison's Weissbier, and finished with a St. Amroise Pale Ale. The belgian ale selection is the most remarkable aspect of the Bier Markt.
Service was solid and friendly, but nothing incredible. We got our beer, in proper glassware, quickly. One of the bartenders made affirming coments about our selections, but being a busy Saturday night, we didn't converse in depth.
I enjoyed this place. If you're downtown Toronto craving Belgian Ale, this is a good place to get your fix.
12-17-2007 21:32:41 |
More by frazbri
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I visited this establishment for the first time on August 10, 2007 (Day 1 of Toronto's Festival of Beer). The beer menu is a fine book. It contained 129 beers from around the world of many different styles, heavy on the Belgians. The atmosphere is upscale casual on the inside, with an ample sized patio. The service was very good, no hovering, and knowledgeable about the product. The value was excellent, the prices were slightly less expensive than some of the other beer restaurants in the city.
08-11-2007 04:23:50 |
More by cyrenaica
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Bier Market - Esplanade in Toronto, ON, Canada