Toronto prides itself on its multicultural population. And there’s nothing like an international sporting event to put that multicultural pride in action and on display.
So, if you’re a soccer (or, perhaps more appropriately, football) fan, the 2018 FIFA World Cup isn’t just a celebration of the sport, but it’s also a way to celebrate our diversity.
Remember the absolute madness in Toronto when Portugal won the Cup in 2016, despite that crushing Ronaldo injury which left its star player off the field?
Even if you’re not an avid follower of soccer/football, the spirit and camaraderie of the World Cup will get your blood flowing and your arms pumping — if you choose the right bar for the right game.
We’ve picked some of the bars in Toronto and paired them with the best game dates, so you can really appreciate the passion and spirit that the tournament brings out across all of Toronto’s neighbourhoods.
1. Where: Café Diplomatico (AKA The Dip)
When: Thursday, June 14 at 11 a.m.
For: Kickoff Party
Diplomatico may be one of the best places in Toronto to watch sports in general, never mind the full-blown street festival that comes from its annual kickoff party.
The crowds generally cheer for Italy, but expect all the colours to be flying during this event. They also have an extended liquor licence. This means they’ll even serve during the early games from 9 a.m. onwards. Be sure to give the pizza a try — even at that hour.
2. Where: Rio 40 Degrees Restaurant on St. Clair West.
When: Sunday, June 17 at 2 p.m.
For: Brazil vs. Switzerland
Rio 40 Degrees becomes the absolute heart of the Brazilian soccer pride in Toronto during FIFA.
The crowd is often comprised of locals or regulars, who flock here partially for the massive steaks and traditional Brazilian barbecue.
For a taste of authentic Brazilian and a dash of soccer spirit, this place is a sure win.
3. Where: WVRST
When: Saturday, June 23 at 2 p.m.
For: Germany vs. Sweden
Playing all the Germany games on massive screens, WVRST also might be the best place for German sausages in the city.
It fills up quickly for every one of Germany’s games during the tournament, but the restaurant tends to be bustling most weekends. Expect some true diehard fans alongside more fair-weather followers.
4. Where: The 3 Lion’s Den in The Piston
When: Sunday, June 24 at 8 a.m.
For: England vs. Panama
Billing itself “England HQ,” The 3 Lion’s Den is advertising all England games live on “a massive crystal clear HD screen with full immersive sound.”
English football trivia and draws will be held during all matches. And for this game, there’ll be a “Full English” breakfast buffet on offer, since it’s so early.
5. Where: Baro
When: Thursday, June 28 at 10 a.m.
For: Colombia vs. Poland
This Latin American restaurant on King West is calling itself Columbia HQ during World Cup. It will be hosting viewing parties on big screens for Colombia’s group stage matches. And you can expect great food, drink, and team Colombia prizes.
6. Where: Real Sports Bar And Grill
When: Any game
For: Any team
If you’re looking for a great view of a television and great deals on pub food this is the bar to hit up this FIFA season.
The massive sports bar boasts an XXXL screen as well as TVs in view from practically every table.