Do you remember when Wvrst opened on King West? It was 2011 and the present wave of craft beer was just barely building in Toronto.
King West, especially near Portland, was converting into a nightlife and restaurant row. I remember being distinctly impressed that the team had enough faith in craft beer to open such a big beer bar in what must be some fairly expensive real estate.
This week, they took the wrapping paper off their second location. And, since it’s at one of the busiest corners in Toronto’s central train station, I’m sure it will do just as much for stamping Toronto’s craft beer credentials.
Wvrst’s GM, Pat Thomson, tells me that they’re happy to be open after a long renovation process — they signed the lease in November 2017 and started construction in March of this year. Those renovations have both preserved the theme from the original (red tiles, black letters, blonde wood) but also added new riffs.
Beer at Wvrst Union
For instance, the tap list is displayed on screens over the bar in a way meant to mimic a train station’s schedule of departures. The northwest corner feels part of the constant hubbub of Union while the opposite end of the space strikes a calmer note with meeting-appropriate booths and the familiar long tables for clanging steins with friends.
The 20 on-tap beers range from local and familiar (Great Lakes Pompous Ass, Bellwoods Jutsu, Beau’s Lugtread) to more experimental (Sawdust City’s Hygge, Sonnen Hill’s Whiff, Godspeed’s smoked porter) and the low-key, global standbys (Paulaner, Weihenstephaner and Pilsner Urquell). Naturally, there is also a very deep bottle list for both beer and cider.
Wvrst Union’s Food Programme
Thomson tells me that the larger kitchen at the new location means an expanded food menu that will stretch from their core sausages and fries to topped pretzels, on-theme sandwiches and more. They’re also keen to get into the coffee and to-go games.
I look forward to Wvrst Union becoming a strong go-to for craft beer fans, tourists, commuters and sports fans alike. In a few weeks, I won’t be surprised to find the bar is standing room only as the Lakeshore West gets ready to head for Oakville and the a seat is hard to come by when the Leafs or Raptors are playing.
Wvrst Union, Union Station lower level near Front & York, 7 days 11 a.m. – midnight.