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Staff Picks: 5 Sports Bars for Cheering on the Home Team

The Real Sports Bar & Grill is a must-visit for sports fans in Toronto

This city’s sporting culture is both broad and deep. Though our local teams are not always the cream of their respective crops, it can still be fun to watch them compete valiantly for the win. And if you’re not a Leafs, Raptors or Jays fan, you can always find someone who shares your passion for, say, English Premier League football (soccer), mixed martial arts, or international rugby. Watch it all on the big screen(s)—with a burger or beer in hand—at these boisterous sports bars.

Football Factory
Just so we’re clear, this bistro and bar is dedicated to the “beautiful game” known in these parts as soccer, not the sport of touchdowns, field goals and Super Bowls. It’s especially popular on weekends, when numerous European matches are screened starting early in the morning. 164 Bathurst St., 416-368-4625.

The Queen & Beaver
Another major haven for soccer fans, particularly supporters of the English Premier League—and, even more specifically, Manchester United backers. Tucked away on a downtown side street, the ambience of this popular pub is decidedly British. And unlike typical sports bars, it’s worth popping into the Q&B even when there’s no game on the telly—chef Andrew Carter has drawn much praise for his menu of modern, upscale English fare. 35 Elm St., 647-347-2712.

Real Sports Bar & Grill
The location is perfect for this huge establishment—directly adjacent to the Air Canada Centre and a short walk from the Rogers Centre. Named North America’s best sports bar by ESPN, Real Sports is a swanky restaurant featuring 199 televisions (including one that’s two-storey’s high) and more than 100 beer taps, plus a broad menu of higher-end comfort foods such as cheddar-studded meatload, beer-braised baby back ribs, and a 12-ounce New York striploin. 15 York St., 416-815-7325.

Sports Centre Café
A hub for midtown sports fans, this bar—modelled on the TV highlights show, Sports Centre, naturally—fills up with revelers on any and all big-game days. Food and drinks are of the expected variety, but prices are reasonable. And anyway, you’re going for the atmosphere, aren’t you? 49 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-928-9525.

Turf Lounge
Located in the Financial District, this homage to the “sport of kings” is a popular lunchtime spot, but also gets busy for big races—you can place wagers on horse races happening across North America, and view the action on more than 60 screens. The menu aims toward finer fare with such offerings as roasted rack of lamb, 35-day dry-aged Ontario Angus rib-eye, and a charcuterie of local meats. 330 Bay St., 416-367-2111.

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