Castro’s Lounge (website, Twitter)
2116 Queen Street East, Toronto ON M4E 1G1 (on the north side, between Wineva Avenue and Hammersmith Avenue, the nearest major intersection is Wineva Avenue and Queen Street East) 416-699-8272
The place to go for beer in the Beaches.
I’ve been to Castro’s Lounge a number of times as we have a friend who used to live nearby, and the first time we went there I was impressed by the beer list. It’s a very small pub, with seating for about 35 people, including seating along a peninsula-like table that juts out of the bar. Other seating is small tables with chess-board inlays that can be moved around for larger groups and a number of stools along the up-and-over glass garage door that serves as a window. The garage door is up during the summer, which means that if someone is smoking on the street, the pub can be filled with the second-hand smoke.
The deep red walls are covered in photographs of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, John Lennon, Vladimir Lenin, and other notable visages of the 20th century. Castro’s Lounge has dirty bingo on Saturdays, which seems to be very popular as we tried to go there one night and were unable to get a proper seat as they were all reserved.
Number of visits by yours truly: five or six, most recently on a Saturday afternoon in early June 2011
TTC information: a 35-minute ride eastbound from Queen Station on the Queen streetcar or take the bus from Main Street Station (the 64 southbound) which will drop you after a 10-minute ride at Wineva Avenue and Queen Street East
Booze selection: lots to choose from, more than “150 mirco-brews and imports” from sign — with 38 Belgian beers — including cider (no Pimm’s). Like most places that boast a selection this large, be sure to have a back-up when ordering as the menu is out of date. On our most recent visit (2013.05.24) we were told that the beer list was online, which defends the purpose in having people socialize
Food selection: very basic all-vegetarian, you come for the booze
Service staff: the service is probably the only reason I am not giving Castro’s five out of five pints, it can be very slow
Prices: not bad
Toilets: very cool! The three toilets — girls, boys, overflow for both — are decorated with a collage of colourful pictures
Patio: smoking area to the south
Wheelchair accessible: small step and toilets are downstairs, so nope
Televisions: two, both rather small and usually muted
Live music: Mondays, Thursdays, dee-jay on Fridays, some Saturdays, and Sunday afternoons
Piped-in music: last time I was there the music was off
Rating: four and a half pints (out of five)