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Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
488 College St
, M6G 1A4
phone: (416) 966-5050
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British Columbia (Canada)
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
In Vancouver, there is nothing that even comes close to the quality, selection, atmosphere, and expertise that i was introduced to on my first visit to Smokeless Joe's.
September 14th was a very wet night in Toronto and i was more than happy to get off the street and into the wonderfully comfortable atmosphere that this establishment provides. brick walls, low ceilings, and great blues let me know that this is a place a would be spending some time at.
the quality and service were both excellent. i didn't feel at all rushed to order as is the case in most bars, and yet the staff was there with helpful suggestions when needed.
there selection is fantastic; much larger than anything i have ever seen-mind you there are no beer establishments in Vancouver of this calibre.
I drank a duvel, a chimay 'red', and rochefort 10. My girlfriend sampled a variety of lighter belgians, while her brother stuck with an excellent local stout that was on tap.
with this we had a few oysters from the oyster bar as well has some toasted bagette with a variety of toppings. the menu at Smokeles Joe's is small, but prepared very well and serves to highlight the fine selection of beers
my only criticism is that it is in fact a little too small. Due to its limited size there is very little room for any tables which i prefer and find more relaxing than bar stoles. all in all Smokeless Joe's is a fantastic establishment and one that will always be on my itinerary when in Toronto
10-22-2003 20:13:42 |
More by sitbooboosit
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
Wow, this is what a pub should be. Everything a pub should have, and nothing it doesn't need. A very small and inviting little bar off John Street in downtown Toronto, this place offers some of the world's best beers along with a nice helping of courteous and knowledgeable service. My wife and I chose to sit outside on the street patio overlooking John Street. I found it very comfortable and cozy. The atmosphere in the bar itself was very comforting and a warm, friendly correspondence between beer snobs was most welcome also! Joe is a class act all the way - offering his suggestions on which Belgians to try, and giving input on the various crafts and micros on draught. Such a wonderful place, this one - I only wish there were more like it around.
I had my first Duvel here, as well as an obscure dark ale on draught called Durham Black Katt, which was simply unreal! Even my wife, who does not share my appreciation for fine crafted beers, found something she liked in Amsterdam's Blonde ale; another suggestion from Joe's nephew who works there. A simply classy, eclectic and wonderful pub - a must visit to anyone in Toronto. Cheers!!
09-02-2003 15:41:42 |
More by steelreign
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
Very small beer bar, but has an outside patio (also small, but great for people watching on John St.). Excellent selection of beers, both Canadian and imports (heavy on the Belgians). Taps rotate quickly, and they usually (?always) have a real ale on tap. I paid several visits during a recent trip to Toronto, because it was close to my hotel. Service was always prompt and quite friendly. The menu looks a bit limited, but everything I tried was excellent (even the sandwhiches). Their pear soup was outstanding. Dessert hint: have a bottle of St. Ambroise stout with their chocolate porter cake!
07-06-2003 19:36:25 |
More by KFW
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
I really like this place. Tatterdash and I go here whenever we're not both broke.
They're an oyster bar, so if you like seafood, that's great. I don't. Can't stand the stuff. In fact, I can't even walk into most seafood restaurants without being gagged out by the smell. But I have no problems with this place at all. I'm assuming that this is because they take cleanliness seriously.
They also take beer very seriously as is proven not just by the menu, but by the encyclopedic knowledge of beer that their servers have. I'm told that if you ask for a Bud, they'll say "We don't have that, but we've got something that tastes just like it" while they pour a glass of water. You gotta like that.
12-07-2004 16:35:16 |
More by chunkylover53
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
What more can you ask for from any establishment, this place we found on St. Paddy's expecting it to be packed it wasn't at all. This place is such a relaxing homey little place that packs so many good characteristics it will be hard to fit em' all into this review.
Everything is done right here from the food, to the 250 bottled beers, to the chilled out jazz and blues played in the background, and most importantly the people make this happen. Rob, Joe's nephew was a great host to us for the first half of our dining experience and when Joe got there he came down and greeted us all. What followed from here was at least a 45 minute conversation about beer and life in Canada and the US. Joe Sacco is the heart and soul of this fine beer bar, and I will continue to go there when in Toronto. Definitely not an every day stop, but my advice to those worried about the marked up bottles is that you need to find a bargain on tap. I found some La Chouffe for four something canadian, and that was a nice little deal that I took advantage of thoroughly.
Smokeless Joe's carries a rotating selection of about 250 bottled beers along with a nice small selection of handpicked kegs of local micors, belgiums and other treats they get ahold of. For Canada it is amazing that they get the amount of Rogue productst that they do, and I was talking to Joe and they have to order each Amercian beer about 5 to 6 months in advance. That shows how much planning and care goes into this fine place.
For dinner I had my first experience with a Belgium specialty mussels steamed in beer (Unibroue Blanche de Chambly) was amazing. The mussels were mouthwatering and my friends who weren't into seafood ordered a couple sandwiches that were also delicious. We all agreed this was our favorite stop in Canada, and we got a picture with Joe before we left. Oh, yeah and right now I am drinking out of my complementery La Chouffe glass that after I asked to purchase Joe says you have been a good customer just take it. That was class!!!
03-19-2003 06:33:15 |
More by WVbeergeek
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
I stepped in Smokeless Joe's a long while ago when I was attracted to the "over 200 beers" underneath its name. There were lots of establishemnts to get beer in west Toronto (the part of town I stayed at), but I wanted something good. Happily, I found this.
My experience almost never happened. The place is as big as a crackerjack box and was rocking, yet there were no more seats in the house! I was almost forced to leave until a customer freed up a seat for me at the bar, and we soon started talking. He helped me select a few beers from the menu (Delirium Tremens and Mill Street Coffee Porter) at a time I was overwhelmed by the choices. Anyway, the beer menu is organized by the country of origin, with a handful of "guests" beer (one of them I fondly remember was Negra Modelo). Lots of imports here, especially Belgians. Also offered are some Canadian micros. But it's too bad they don't have much in the way of American micros here too.
The appropriate glassware is paired with the style of beer, both my beers were served in outstanding fashion, the service is well trained, and this place really is all about the beer, but which all comes at a price. Not terribly expensive by Canadian standards, but very pricey for an American used to paying less for dinner than one 330 ml bottle of Delirium. But don't let your wallet do the talking, you only live once. Come to Smokeless Joe and experience one of the best beer bars Toronto has to offer.
09-21-2007 22:24:25 |
More by DoubleJ
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
This was one of the first pubs I tried when visiting Toronto. I must say that I was greatly impressed. The selection of beers was awesome. Coming from Saskatchewan, we have very little choice when it comes to selection. I was like a kid in a candy store. What took us there was the fact that it had so many beers but it was also smoke free. Having Joe there only adds to the great ambiance of the place. It was tough to find a place to sit but that was only due to its popularity. Now I make it a stop every time I am in Toronto.
10-10-2003 19:43:26 |
More by canadianbarman
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
One of my all time favorites, even compared to Brugges (beer heaven) and Munich.
wonderful staff, all knowledable about the selections, and when not otherwise occupied, willing to talk.
Only 6 draughts, but a selection of light, dark, hoppy, session beers, and even Koenigshoeven Dubbel. Was able to work through four of the six while watching the Bluejays- tried the the others earlier this week on a prior visit.
Pleasant mix of young and old, beer geeks and newbies.
Didn't try the food, but the mussels smelled wonderful, and the oysters looked fresh...
Somewhat hard to find, but worth the work.
06-04-2008 04:00:03 |
More by sphmiel
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
(Footnote Oct 29/03...i have just retured from Belgium. After visiting 20 of Belgium's best beer bars, I now have to say that Smokeless Joe ranks up in my top 5 of Best Beer Bars in the World. Nice to know that in Toronto i have access to simply one of the classiest beer bars around)
A great, TINY bar in the middle of Toronto's entertainment district. The food is home-made and tastes outstanding. The beer, WOW, what a selection. But the price? Well...
Whether you come to Joe's for the beer menu, the oysters, the cool jazz tunes or the small low-key atmosphere, i guarentee you 'll leave the bar with a smile...until of course you get the bill. The only downside about Smokeless Joe is that the mark-up on bottled beer is about 3 times what you might pay at the local bottle shop. Do i really want to spend $20 on a 750ml bottle of Maudite or $10 on a 330ml bottle of Celebrator Dopplebock?
Every time i've been to Joe's i've had a fabulous time. I drink well, i eat well and i enjoy myself. But at the end of the day, and $100 later, the overall cost of a night out at Joe's make it hard for me to be a regular. All aspects of this bar pull me back, it draws me in. i want to be there every Friday after work....but how? I simply can't afford the outrageous mark-up price on bottled beer. Instead of being a once or twice a week customer, i'm a once or twice every 2 month customer.
This is a fabulous bar, but not a bar for the working man. Not a bar for the family guy with the mortgage and bills to pay. I WISH i could be at Joe's on a more regular basis, but my wallet just won't allow it.
12-02-2002 14:36:00 |
More by Popsinc
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
Smokeless Joe is a cozy little bar below street level on John street. You will know you are there by the almost continuous blues on the stereo.
They always have a cask on tap and four or five drafts. Their biggest strength (aside from that cask) is their voluminous bottle list. Everything seems to change very regularly and even when I have been there on succesive days the kegs have changed. The staff is fairly knowledgable(unless Joe is there-then very) and what they lack in knowledge they make up for in friendliness. Very nice fresh oysters, excellent pub food, and great patrons(I met a great guy who I have traded with and met when we are in the area) round out the whole experience. It is a bit pricey but is worth it for the quality of the beer served there. If you are in Toronto it is a must see!
07-29-2003 03:29:18 |
More by fattyre
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Smokeless Joe in Toronto, ON, Canada