What's the vibe?
We can hear your inner craft beer cynic from here. "What's that?" it asks. "Another brew pub in Toronto's west end?" Heck yeah it is, but believe us, you ain't seen nothing like Bandit Brewery in this town. Their brand-spankin'-new patio has all the hallmarks of a German beer garden, a vibe that carries through to the interior thanks to the adorable rows of bulbs that shine overhead like twinkle lights. Juxtaposing this is some decidedly industrial decor (tanks, pipes and ducts on display)—a peek into the inner workings of the brewery, rather than on-trend window dressing. The space is small enough to be totally charming, but bright enough to coax you out for weekend day drinking. We're sold.
What to drink?
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Watch out: Bandit's beer list is still small enough to sample your way through with a friend, but they've got huge ambitions for their first year in business. If you're looking for one to commit to, order their Smoke on the Porter. Delightful name aside, it's a really impressive brew, equal parts complex and approachable. Yes, it's smoky, but with none of the smack-you-in-the-face meatiness of a rauchbier—there's elegance here. If you prefer your beer a few shades lighter, try the Bandit's APA. It's refreshing, with enough layers of flavour to keep you tasting something new with every sip.
What to eat?
This menu's made for sharing, so load up on snacks. House-made pretzels pair perfectly with all the on-tap offerings. Naturally, they nail the fries: they're served golden, and scattered with parmesan and fresh herbs for extra goodness. A charcuterie plate, loaded with cured meats and crostini, goes a long way. The crispy chicken tails are dangerously addictive (and made even more so by the addition of white Alabama sauce); you might as well order two.
Dinner and drinks for two: around $60
2125 Dundas Street West; 647-348-1002; banditbrewery.ca