Forget everything you know about traditional, Americanized foods. West Queen West serves up a diverse range of poutine and nacho dishes with an international twist. Hit up Savoy Restaurant, just east of Dufferin Street, to try curry poutine, or the Drake Hotel, located just down the street, to sample lobster nachos. The Gladstone Café, in the same vicinity, offers Greek, Mexican and Southwest-style poutine. These spins on the traditional fare assure a dish for every taste.
In keeping with the international theme of the neighbourhood, West Queen West offers a plethora of beers in its bars, pubs and restaurants. Don’t let the name turn you off: the Dog’s Bollocks, east of Claremont Street, has a whopping 20 beers on tap, the most you’ll find on this strip. And no hipster ’hood would be complete without a selection of Pabst Blue Ribbon; on weekdays, you can buy a bottle of this staple for only $3.50 at 751.
Much like Church Street, however, West Queen West comes up short on in-house brews. It’s a compromise that comes with a cost: opting for traditional brews keeps beer prices on the cheap.
No work, all play
Like the food and beer in this west-end community, the entertainment along Queen Street is plentiful. For music lovers, The Beaconsfield is a record bar with a penchant for soul and reggae. If you’re feeling brave (perhaps with some liquid courage), you can try your luck at karaoke every Thursday at the Dog’s Bollocks.
For a quieter night out, both the Drake Hotel and the Gladstone feature local art exhibits, many of which are queer-centric.
Don’t wait until TIFF to stargaze – Sweaty Betty’s on Ossington is a prime location for some of Hollywood’s favourites, including Drew Barrymore, who is a regular at this hipster hangout.
Beer on a budget? Look no further than 751, where a pitcher will run you a measly $10. Smoke’s Poutine, just east of Bathurst, remains king when it comes to cheap poutine, setting you back just $6. And the Dog’s Bollocks serves up West Queen West’s cheapest nacho platter, coming in at just under $10.
We recommend: 751 (751 Queen St W), The Dog’s Bollocks (841 Queen St W).