My journey to find the ultimate Raptors bar in Toronto continues and it’s starting to get serious. A perfect storm of Toronto playoffs is approaching the city. For the first time there’s a very real chance that the DeRozan/Lowry Raptors will enter playoffs alongside their MLSE sisters in Blue.
If the Leafs and Raptors end up playing on the same night during the playoffs finding a Toronto bar focused on the Raptors game will be close to impossible. The worst part is, you can’t really hate on these Leafs. They’re a real team and exciting to watch. But at the end of the day I bleed Raptors purple and don’t really care about hockey. I’m not alone and we need options for gathering spots.
I went to the center of the city, Yonge and Dundas Square and ventured into Shark Club Sports Bar and Grill. This was going to be a real test. The Raptors were playing the Pacers, a potential playoff matchup and the return of Lance Stephenson. The game started at 7pm. The Leafs were playing Washington and had a chance to clinch a playoff spot. That game started at 7:30pm. I walked into the club at 7:05pm and took at seat at the bar.
Bar: Shark Club Sports Bar
Location: 10 Dundas East Suit 310
We’re fucked. The Shark Club is really nice. There’s big booths, high tables and lots of TVs. I counted 49 but might have missed some because they’re everywhere. The main bar is backed by a gigantic screen surrounded by sixteen other flat screens. This is the nicest sports bar I’ve ever been to.
As you’d expect, the hockey pre-game was already on the majority of TVs including the massive one behind the bar. Many of the other screens were showing a Bruins game, which probably had something to do with the Leafs. The Raptors were the second-most featured game on the screens. When the Leafs game started the sound came on throughout the bar, which made everyone happy except me.
This is a great sports bar but it’s not a Raptors bar.
This was my view from the bar. Shoutout to Bob McKenzie.
The selection of beer is significant but it’s mostly major breweries. They serve cans of beer instead of bottles, which is awesome. Beer tastes so much better out of cans.
The drink selection is impressive with a number of cocktails, scotches and whiskeys. You can check out the whole menu here.
When I opened the menu I was horrified to see an appetizer called Shark Bites. What kind of culinary speakeasy had I stumbled in to? Turns out they’re dry-rub pork ribs tossed in sweet chili sauce. That sounds amazing. The entire menu is glorious and can be found here.
I went with the sliders and fries. The sliders were dressed like Big Macs and delicious. The fries were great, thick and cooked well. I’d go back to the Shark Club just based on the food.
With a bar this nice you’re going to get a customer base that, for the most part has their life together. At the very least they’re able to keep up that perception while in public. There was a good mix of people with a pretty even guy to girl ratio. A decent amount were cheering for the Leafs but it didn’t feel like everyone at the bar was a sports fan. You definitely hear the word ‘beauty’ a lot more from Leaf fans than Raptors fans.
The staff were great. Everyone was efficient and polite.
If George Costanza lived in Toronto these facilities would be on his list.
The prices are what you’d expect based on the location and quality of the establishment. An order of wings is $12.75, a burger is $14 and a Steamwhistle Draft is $7.25. However, they do have daily specials and a Happy Hour from 3-7pm where the aforementioned sliders are half price. HALF PRICED SLIDERS!!
Shark Club is a great sports bar with awesome food but it feels like the Leafs will always take precedence. This is a reality we’ll likely have to deal with across the GTA in the coming weeks. As Raptors fans we’re used to being the other guy but it’ll be weird experiencing it in our own city. There’s got to be a bar out there for us to come together. The journey continues.