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chris atchison/metro toronto
67 Front St. E.
Ambience: C’est What’s subterranean setting sets the stage for some serious beer enjoyment for those willing to indulge in the lengthy menu. The pub-lounge space has long been a draw for finicky beer fanatics who use terms like “good pull” in their tasting regimen. Those of us less inclined to use such pretentious terms when we lift pint to mouth (“just give’r” might be a more appropriate phrase for the swilling masses) will venture downstairs not only for the untraditional beer flavours, but also to enjoy the Old Toronto confines and the very comfortable, even basement-like vibe, that awaits — the pool tables and couches surrounding the centrally located fireplace only add to the allure.
Crowd: There’s a wide range from students to hardcore hops and barley aficionados. Most patrons fall into the 25- to 35-year-old category and make C’est What an after-work stop — so don’t be surprised to find plenty of power suits lingering in micro-brewed bliss, plotting the overthrow of their superiors.
Dress code: The dress is casual, but the after-work crowd will leave you feeling out of place if you show up wearing your Sunday NFL-watching best. Don’t bother trying to impress with your attire, just keep it respectable.
Should I dance on the bar?: If you wouldn’t decapitate yourself on the low ceilings, it might be a possibility.
Will I get lucky?: “Getting lucky” is such a relative term. If you mean, “Will I find dozens of beers that will satiate my eclectic cravings for said beverage?”, then the answer is yes. Finding dozens of patrons of the opposite sex with whom to spend your life or at least bond intimately for a few hours? That’s a much taller order.
Best accessory: A discriminating, beer-loving friend who can make sense of the list of relatively unknown labels on the menu.
Cocktail du jour: They have berry-, coffee-, and even chocolate-flavoured brews, all of which meet a strict micro-brewed criteria. Don’t ask for a Corona — they’ll get insulted. But wine fans take note, C’est What also specializes in local Ontario vintages, as well as producing their own wines annually. Still not sold? Dip into their interesting whisky list, which features the best from Canada, the U.S., Ireland and, of course, Scotland. The Glenlivet 18-year-old Scotch is highly recommended.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.