Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Sarah's Cafe: Toronto, ON

After battling through long line-ups and slow moving people at Toronto's Eaton Centre, my fiance and I thought it would be a nice idea to unwind at a popular Toronto beer cafe. We hopped on the subway and went eastbound to Greenwood station where we walked a couple of minutes along the Danforth until we found Sarah's Cafe, a well known beer destination.

Opened 11 years ago on the corner of Monarch Park Ave and the Danforth, Sarah's is warm and inviting, casual and modern yet rustic, classy and sophisticated with fabulous soft jazz music. The interior consists of small wooden tables situated along the walls where pillows line the bench seating, offering a comfortable spot to enjoy a good book. The walls are lined with paintings of cafes and bistro's and are joined by some beer signage and a chalkboard informing customers what beers are available. Dimmed lighting, the dimpled golden tin ceiling, the large window looking out to the Danforth and the large drapes covering the entrance, combined with the relaxing music is enough to take your mind off the world for a bit which is exactly what we expect out of pubs/cafes.

Sarah's isn't large by any means which adds to the charm. There is room for maybe 30 people in the main dining area, 10 bar back stools surround the small bar and probably 20 people could squeeze in their back room. In the warmer months Sarah's opens their patio which could accomodate up to 40 people on Monarch Park Ave.

Sarah's Cafe and Castro's Lounge are under the same ownership so it was no surprise when I checked out the beer menu and noticed an abundance of bottled Belgian beer and some great UK beers. The draught list was excellent and it wasn't hard for me to make a selection. As soon as I saw Denison's on the menu, I knew it was for me. But with all the bottled selections, I almost felt like staying to try as many as I could. The price of a pint of Denison's was $5.55 which I find respectable and most unique bottled beer ran anywhere from $4.00 to $9.75.

I spoke to the manager to get a feel for the customers that come to Sarah's and she mentions that when they first opened they catered to a lot of locals, but since then, a lot of their customers on Friday and Saturday nights come from out of town like Mississauga and Oakville because of recommendations. She also mentions that Sarah's is a local hangout for many of Toronto East General Hospital staff.

I wish that I could have stayed longer and sampled some of the Belgian ales I haven't tried before, but I'll on it that I will return to Sarah's for many more visits as it's not far on the TTC from my place. It is worth checking out if your a beer fan or simply a fan of great establishments with a terrific ambiance.

Sarah's Cafe
1426 Danforth Avenue
416 406-3121


Anonymous said...

Enjoy the beers and the atmosphere, but don't bother with the menu...the food is absolutely horrible...bland, baseless, uninspired and just really poorly done...white bread sandwiches topped with processed cheese slices??...grilled shrimp and sausage without a stitch of a dressing...??...burnt too...ugh...

Troy Burtch said...

The beers are fabulous there. I am not really picky when it comes to pub/cafe food. As long as there is something available should I get hungry.

Ann Richardson said...

A so so sandwich and what was apparently Sarah's hair in my salad. No discount for my discovery which made the whole meal even less appetizing.

Unknown said...

Ann Richardson contacted me regarding the Croque Monsieur. I had to explain it to her that as sophisticated as it sounds this is simple bistro comfort food. According to tradition we served a ham and cheese sandwich topped with Bechamel Sauce Au Gratin. We have never used processed cheese, but I guess she'd never had homemade Bechamel Sauce & didn't know the difference.
BTW Troy, seems we have a new neighbourhood pub. In your review it's mentioned "Castro’s, Sara’s and the Only were really helpful when deciding what draught line-up to put together". Any thing we can do to help :)
Cheers, Asim

Music Fan said...

Sarah's Cafe hosts an open mic on Sunday afternoons (3ish) that brings in some great local singer/songwriters. It's a neat bag of old and young performers and the sound is excellent. So if you are looking for a mid sunday thing to do, consider Sarah's Cafe & Bar!

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