'The Aviary' - Brew Pub Review

The Aviary (owned by Longslice Brewery)
484 A Front Street

"The Aviary" is Longslice Brewery's own brew pub - although it advertises itself as a "sports bar." It opened sometime in the last six months(?). The vats are in place, but not yet piped and wired as they should be, so right now Longslice and The Aviary are having their beer brewed on contract over at Junction Craft Brewing. The space is a big empty box with very high ceilings, a big bar with TVs over it, and a bunch of big tables with chairs. They also have a pool table and a pinball machine. Most brew pubs don't go in heavily for sports, but this one does: two of Toronto's teams were playing the evening we were in, and the TV volumes were up and a couple dedicated fans were whooping at the plays. I like my bars quiet, so this is a significant strike against them in my book.

They do flights, around $10 for a set of four samples. I tried the "Loose Lips Lager" (Vienna Lager), the "Aloha Friday" Hibiscus Pale Ale, the "Hopsta La Vista" IPA, and a fourth beer that's not listed on their website at the moment that I can't remember. I actively disliked the Lager, but that's my general reaction to all Lagers and shouldn't influence anyone's decision. (I would have ordered all heavier, darker beers if they had a single stout or porter in house ...) The IPA wasn't bad, but wasn't great - however, the Hibiscus Pale Ale was very good and I ordered a full pint after I finished my flight.

Three of us also had the special of the evening, a fried chicken sandwich - I had the fries on the side, my friends had the salad. The fries were a bit limp. The sandwich was good - and they certainly didn't skimp on the meat.

The location is awkward for me, and the focus on being a sports bar is pretty much the proverbial nail in the coffin - but if the Hibiscus Pale Ale ever shows up in the LCBO, I'd definitely buy some.

photo: The stadium-like signage and beer menu

A huge yellow on black Aviary sign, and a list of current beers on tap