The Rhino Bar & Grill

The Rhino Bar & Grill (website)
1249 Queen Street West, Toronto ON M6K 1L5 (on the south side, west of Dufferin Street, between Elm Grove Avenue and Gwynne Avenue,  the nearest major intersection is Dufferin Avenue and Queen Street West) 416-535-8089
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Excellent for those who enjoy trying new beers.

I stumbled across The Rhino in the summer of 2008 as I was looking for somewhere less expensive than the nearby Gladstone. My husband and I were struck by the incredible number of beers offered, including my beloved’s favourite elixir — Leffe Brune, which, as you might know, is hard to find. The menu also featured six ciders, but they only had three in stock that day.

We have been back several times, which is impressive given that The Rhino is not really near anywhere we usually go. It’s the destination for us, not a rest on the journey. I like the bar so much that I celebrated my 40th birthday there and reserved the back room, which has a different character to the front. It has tablecloths and more comfortable seating, so it’s nice for quieter gatherings. Apparently there is another room upstairs that can be reserved for parties. The front’s décor is standard bar style, nothing too fancy.

Update — 2013.05.19: I have been to The Rhino twice in the last month and their service is abysmal. The first time, our server was transferred to another section and forgot about us, leaving us alone for more than an hour. The second time, we were part of a party and our server constantly forgot to bring our drinks and food. We spent half of what we expected to spend as the server was so busy and unable to keep up. Get more servers!

Number of visits by yours truly: five or six, most recently on a Friday afternoon in January 2011
TTC information: take the Dufferin bus south from Dufferin Station (10- to 15-minute journey) or the Queen Street streetcar west from Queen Station (25- to 30-minute journey)
Booze selection: more than 300 beers with six ciders, including Strongbow, Blackthorn and Sir Perry (no Pimm’s), be warned that not all beers listed are regularly stocked, so have a back-up plan when ordering
Food selection: interesting, with a dash of imagination (it was the first time I ever had horseradish on my burger and I’ve been a convert ever since)
Service staff: too few servers — see above
Prices: quite reasonable for the food, the beers can get expensive
Toilets: clean
Patio: west of building facing onto Queen Street, so great for people watching
Wheelchair accessible: yes
Televisions: just two, so not annoying
Live music: no
Piped-in music: standard ‘80s was playing, but patrons can use the jukebox for their own choices

Rating: four and a half pints (out of five)

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