What’s the vibe

There’s no shortage of craft beer hubs in Toronto and the city’s latest opening sets itself apart by playing the numbers game. The sprawling 16,000 square foot restaurant boasts lofty 30-foot ceilings and space for 500 inside along with a second-floor venue that overlooks the buzzing main floor. A 250-seat beer garden is set to open once the weather warms.

Despite its sprawling size, Craft operates like a well-oiled machine (this is actually the sixth location of the brand, which originated in Calgary in 2011) and has garnered lineups since opening. Given its central location at Yonge and Adelaide, Craft Market attracts a wide array of guests, from Bay Streeters on happy hour to Yonge-Dundas tourists, so it lacks the intimidating veneer that some financial district watering holes may carry.

What to drink

With an impressive 160 beers on tap, Craft Beer Market boasts the country’s largest selection of draft brews under one roof. The numerous lines that run from the central bar to the main keg cooler room are part of the wow-factor that commands the space.

For the uninitiated, or even the moderate-to-well versed beer drinker, Craft’s menu can be a little overwhelming. Options are categorized by style and enthusiastic staff are on-hand to offer suggestions and samples. 65 percent of their taps pour brews from Ontario and we spot plenty of notables among them – Dominion City, Mackinnon Brothers and Blood Brothers. Craft also works on “community” collaborations with local breweries and we enjoyed tasters of a tart Mill Street cherry IPA and a smooth, creamy banana stout made with Wellington Brewery.
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What to eat

In line with Craft’s beverage focus, the bulk of its kitchen output focuses on shareable, beer-friendly appetizers. A constant stream of wings, sliders (both made with naturally-raised chicken) and nachos (served on a repurposed keg top) flow out of the kitchen at impressive speed. Weekday specials, like half-price apps on Mondays and $3 tacos on Tuesdays, are good incentives to order. 

Craft’s food menu uses locally-sourced ingredients where possible and we appreciated seeing names like Ocean Wise on the menu – a mark of sustainably-sourced seafood. Desserts here, like their apps, are definitely sized to share. The butterscotch budino is a rich Italian-style custard that could easily satiate three guests.

Dinner and drinks for two: about $80

1 Adelaide St. E., 437-922-2337; craftbeermarket.ca