Nirvana (434 College Street) is a popular downtown haunt. The Asian-inspired décor complete with handcrafted wooden benches, Buddhist art, and vintage lamps is perfectly conducive for a laid-back evening with friends, and its drink prices won’t break the bank. Check out Beer Bottle Wednesdays (domestic bottles for $3.25 and premium bottles for $3.75), or swing by on Thursday for $4.00 bar rails.
Right by the intersection of Queen and Spadina, Wide Open (139 Spadina Avenue) has you covered with affordable drink specials every day of the week. Drinks are half-price and pitchers are $12 until midnight on Mondays, while pints and mixed drinks are only $4.50 on Wednesdays. To get the most bang for your buck, come on a Thursday during Happy Hour (5-8 pm) when all drinks are $2.75 (yes, you read that correctly).
You’ll find plenty of University of Toronto students at Einstein Café & Pub (229 College Street), which boasts the cheapest pitchers around at $10 for the house beer. The bottle prices aren’t bad either, starting at $4.00, while pints and rail drinks will set you back about $4.25. To top it all off, there’s a Juke Box where you can pay 50 cents to play the song of your choice—need we say more?
As far as dive bars go, it doesn’t get much divey-er than The Green Room (296 Brunswick Avenue). This unpretentious two-story watering hole looks a bit like an abandoned graffitied building from the outside, but inside it’s bustling with a crowd of twenty-somethings. You and your wallet will appreciate the super-cheap drinks, with pints starting at $4.25, pitchers at $11.95, and martinis for a ridiculously low $3.50. The food is cheap too, and perfect for sharing.
How do $3.00 shots sound? Right next door to the Green Room at Labyrinth Lounge (298 Brunswick Avenue), $3.00 can buy you a different kind of boozey beverage every night of the week. Friday it’s Jameson whiskey shots or mixed drinks for $3.00, Saturday it’s Absolut vodka, and Sunday it’s $3.00 draught beers. Six shots for under $20—drinking doesn’t get much more affordable than that.
Affectionately known as The Maddy, the Madison Avenue Pub (14 Madison Avenue) tends to attract a crowd of frat boys and sorority girls due to its inexpensive beer and relaxed, flirtatious vibe. This massive complex housed in three converted Victorian mansions has a distinct Old World British décor, with brass fittings, red plush bar stools, burgundy booths, and two pool rooms. But you’re unlikely to notice any of that after downing a few domestic bottles and rail drinks ($3.50 on Thursdays and $4.00 every other day of the week).
Price-conscious barflies in Bloordale Village know that Duffy’s Tavern (1238 Bloor Street West) is the place to go. Serving Toronto since 1949, this relaxed Cheers-style bar has live music every night of the week, tasty pub fare, and some of the cheapest drinks in the west end. Daily drink specials include $4.00 Tequila Tuesdays, $4.00 bar rails on Thursdays, and $4.00 glasses of wine and shots of Jager or Jack Daniels on Fridays.
Done Right Inn (861 Queen Street West) is located right in the heart of Toronto’s hip Trinity Bellwoods Neighbourhood. The large selection of Ontario craft beers for reasonable prices makes this spot a popular hangout among hipsters and young professionals. Head to the back patio in the summer to sip on $5.50 pints and $4.25 mixed drinks. Or chill out inside by the pinball machines and board games.
The inconspicuous sign above the door makes it easy to walk right past Sweaty Betty’s (13 Ossington Avenue) but doing so would be a mistake. This cozy bar tends to attract a crowd of hipsters and indie rockers and is notable for its antique décor and spacious back patio. Beers are reasonably priced around $5-6, and pints and highballs are $1.00 off between 5 and 7 pm on weeknights.
On Danforth Avenue, also known as Greektown, The Only Café (2301 Danforth Avenue) serves up cheap food and drinks that attract a crowd of rowdy regulars. Live music, a library of board games, and $5.00 pints on Sundays—there’s a lot here to appeal to penny pinchers (as long as you don’t mind the colourful characters and rustic décor).
Stratenger’s (1130 Queen Street East) in Toronto’s picturesque Leslieville neighbourhood is more than just an affordable bar – it’s also a first-rate Italian-Indian fusion restaurant. Draught beers starting at $5.31, domestic bottles at $4.20, bar shots at $4.75, and $5-6 glasses of wine—pair any beverage with butter chicken or wood-fired pizzas for a delicious and budget-friendly meal.
After a day of sunbathing on The Beach, there’s nothing better than heading to Captain Jack (2 Wheeler Avenue) for $5.00 beers. The draught selection here is impressive (over 50 on tap) even if the décor is a bit, shall we say, gritty. Order a few rounds, chat with the locals, and keep entertained with the Juke Box and flat-screen TVs that play almost every sport.