Surrounded by other booze holes, the Bier Markt manages to stand apart.
For some reason I have avoided going to the Bier Markt chain (there’s one on King West and another in the Shops at Don Mills) since starting this blog. The Bier Markt doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi that proper pubs have (I still haven’t distilled what that is), but it is a decent place for a pint as the extensive beer list is what sets it apart and it does take one’s breath away. Perhaps my avoidance has been because I know that most of my readers already know about it.
We went to the Bier Markt (Esplanade) as we were going to a wedding at the St. Lawrence Hall that afternoon and decided to celebrate before the celebrations began. The Bier Markt suffers a bit from an identity crisis, the front looks like a fancy restaurant, but there is an area at the back has huge speakers that would not look out of place at a concert. These said speakers are in front of a 16th-century mural (Pieter Bruegel’s The Peasant Dance), so that adds to the confusion. The tables are covered in white dining cloths with candles, but there are wooden benches for large groups. Plus, it’s dark, almost suspiciously so, however, I found the place to be clean and precise in its execution.
Number of visits by yours truly: my first on a Saturday afternoon in July 2012
TTC information: equidistant from Union and King, one block south of Front after passing Yonge Street
Booze selection: well over 100 beers from around the world, with a focus on Belgian beers. As always with a selection this large, be prepared for a back-up order as they might be out of your first choice. For those who are cider drinkers, they have Thornbury, Somersby, Sir Perry, Blackthorn, Rekorderlig and Rekorderlig elderflower (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: okay
Service staff: slow, I actually started to get nervous that we would miss the wedding ceremony as our waitress kept disappearing. This news story about the front-of-house female staff having to wear skimpy outfits might be something to keep in mind. Yes, they changed the policy, but they still had it and enforced it until people complained. I am not impressed with sexism with my booze
Prices: expensive for the most part, but look where you are. However, it is cheaper for some beers
Patio: south and quite large
Wheelchair accessible: yes
Televisions: two in our section
Live music: Thursdays to Sundays, check the website for details
Piped-in music: can’t remember — sorry
Rating: four pints (out of five)