Bar Hop: An Alternative to Bar Hopping
In an area as diverse and lively as the Danforth, it is important to have spaces dedicated to various niches. Naturally, that includes one of the most beloved beverages of our time: beer. Enter Bar Hop, a welcome departure from the numerous dive bars that line the streets of our neighbourhood. As a beer lover myself, I decided to explore the Pape and Danforth location. What I found out is this: there are other craft beer bars in our area, but no one does it like Bar Hop.
Craft beer has taken a bit of a hit recently because they have to justify their comparatively high prices. At a retail price of $3.00 or more for a tall can (500 ml), craft breweries clash drastically with breweries participating in Doug Ford’s buck-a-beer policy. When I spoke with a retail representative of a major Ontario craft brewery, he told me that in order to lower the prices of their beer, they would have to “significantly lower the quality of their ingredients and lower the living wage that [the company] pays its employees”—or else fire some of them. Fortunately, this company is not interested in changing their standards to make their prices competitive—they pride themselves on the purity of their ingredients and the experience that comes with enjoying craft beer.
A place like Bar Hop puts this experience into practice. With its dim lighting and ambient music, it’s all about the art of enjoying craft beer. The staff is extremely knowledgeable about all the beers on offer (the bar menu changes over on Wednesdays) and are happy to recommend food pairings to go with whatever you’re drinking. That being said, the food menu is not the main focus—it’s made to complement the beers. At any given time, Bar Hop offers more than thirty-five craft brews. The beers are chosen at Bar Hop Brewco, on Peter Street. A full-time, dedicated employee works with various craft breweries and personally approves all the beers sold at each location. Brewco is equipped with a facility where they brew their own beer and collaborate with other craft breweries in-house.
Going to Bar Hop was a great experience, unlike any other bar experience I’ve had before. The bartender was extremely attentive, always ready to make recommendations for the next round, and keen on sharing his knowledge about the beer and the company. He told me that although the “most requested beer is Stella”—a comparatively less expensive option—they have been surprisingly unthreatened by the cheaper adjacent bars, including those that offer buck-a-beer options. Bar Hop does not sell any domestic or imported bar staples, and a 15oz glass is around $10.00. The bartender did say that he sometimes worries about how a beer will sell—especially when it costs $15.00 a glass—but that, ultimately, customers seem satisfied with the selection, and this is partly due to the staff’s knowledge, which allows for good recommendations. He is confident that Bar Hop offers something different that you can’t get at any old dive bar.
Image from Jason Baker @ flickr.
Rhiannon Ness has been writing since before she can remember. Her other hobbies include obnoxiously loud grindcore, cats, and beer.