Euro 2012: where to get your soccer fix in Toronto
By Ben Fisher
Greek fans celebrating on the Danforth during Euro 2004 (Image: Wyliepoon)
The Euro 2012 soccer championship kicks off this afternoon. And, though the games are taking place several time zones away, they sure will be felt throughout multi-cultural Toronto over the next three weeks. Expect to see flag-adorned cars and bars packed at strange hours of the day (hosts Poland and Ukraine are six and seven hours ahead, respectively).
Here’s a rundown of some of the sports-mad bars that will be abuzz during the tournament — and, for the neutrals, which team to support while you’re there.
Colour code: blue, green, red and white for Italy or maroon for Portugal.
Little Italy is always a good bet to be buzzing during a major soccer event, and Café Dip is firmly in the middle of it all. Weather permitting, the large patio will be packed for any match involving Italy or Portugal, with supporters chugging down the assortment of tap beers and pizzas. Expect impromptu street parades any time the Italian team wins.
594 College St.
Colour code: orange. The brighter the better.
This quirky Liberty Village restaurant/bakery makes no secret of who it roots for: it will be showing all 31 matches and will be unabashedly supporting the Netherlands. Customers will surely hope for a repeat from the 2010 World Cup, when a sea of orange descended upon School to see the Dutch side reach the finals. And, in 2010 World Cup fashion, School will bring back its tented beer garden for Euro 2012.
70 Fraser Valley
Colour code: red and white.
There are plenty of English pubs in the city where you can check out the Brits in footy action (Scallywags, Elephant & Castle, Dog & Bear). What sets the Fox & Firkin apart is the fact that it features locally-brewed Hop City specialty Barking Squirrel on tap.
51 Eglinton Ave. E.
Greece: 521 Café and Bar / Cafe Frappe
Colour code: blue and white.
Supporters of the 2004 Euro champs can’t go wrong at either of these Danforth neighbours, both of which boast a menu packed with Greek delicacies and what is sure to be an animated, vocal environment. On a warm day, Cafe Frappe may hold the edge for its patio.
519/521 Danforth Ave.
Colour code: white, with touches of black, red and yellow.
Tucked away in Toronto’s west end (just south of Bloor and east of Kipling), the city’s German community knows The Musket as the place to be for fussball action. Beck’s is on tap and the menu includes a variety of schnitzel, rouladen, barbecue pork and apple strudel.
40 Advance Rd.
Colour code: green. And lots of it.
Rowdy Ireland fans won’t be hard to find at Irish pubs throughout the city, but The Pour House promises to be a particularly amped-up meeting spot. In the middle of the Annex, its authentic exterior and charming atmosphere help it stand out in a saturated market.
182 Dupont St.
Colour code: whatever you like.
The city’s signature watering hole for lovers of the beautiful game, soccer fans of all backgrounds will frequent The Football Factory during Euro 2012. Billing itself as “a true Canadian soccer bar,” it features TV screens in every booth, footy paraphernalia on the walls and an array of English, Portugese, Spanish and Italian dishes.
164 Bathurst St.
Have we missed anywhere? Let us know your favourite soccer hangout in the comments.