Dock Ellis: man, legend, bar!

How can you pass on a bar named after a guy who threw a perfect game while high on LSD? You can’t and you shouldn’t. The Dock Ellis is the best baseball bar in Toronto and the perfect spot to catch the Jays this season.

The Dock Ellis is not your typical sports bar – and there are a lot of typical sports bars to choose from in Toronto. While it doesn’t have the grandeur of Real Sports or the proximity to downtown like the Loose Moose or any of the other bars in the downtown core, it is a bar that embraces baseball, making it a great spot to kick back and enjoy the game over a beer or two.

Who is Dock Ellis?
Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr. was a pitcher from 1968 to 1979, playing for the New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates compiling a 138–119 record along the way. He was a bit of an eccentric player who once tried to hit every batter on the opposing team in a game.

Dock Ellis is best known for reportedly throwing a no-hitter on June 12, 1970 while under the influence of LSD. He would later say that he was unable to feel the ball or see the catcher or batter clearly. But really that’s just a small detail.

The Dock Ellis is located at Dundas and Dovercourt in the heart of Little Portugal in Toronto. This is an area that has started to see an influx of bars and restaurants thanks to its proximity to Ossington. The location of the bar also sets it apart. It is outside of downtown, so it doesn’t feel over run and it’s a nice hidden gem for watching the Jays.

I discovered The Dock Ellis late last season with (and recommended by my wife). It quickly became our spot to cheer the Jays on during road games and where we watched Marco Estrada’s brilliant performance in Game 5 of the ALCS.

While the menu appears minimal, it is perfect for fans coming in for the game. You can never go wrong with the Marinated Gasparro’s wings with the choice of five flavours: Jack Daniel’s honey garlic, Buttered Frank’s, Siracha & lime, Smokey habanero BBQ or Dry Cajun. On my most recent visit I went with the Buttered Frank’s and Dry Cajun. The snack menu is a great way to go, especially if watching with friends. There are lots of options to mix, match and share during the game.

Another menu to keep in mind of course, is the Beer menu. The menu is composed of almost all Toronto breweries, with the only exception being Beau’s Lug Tread – so still representing Ontario.

The Bar
The bar is set relatively stark in terms of design or colour – but it still works. From the outside it doesn’t stand out (but keep an eye out for the sign out front which usually has something snarky to say about the Jays opponent that night).

There is plenty of seating throughout with views of the many TVs including a big screen that comes down for the Jays games. Seating is available at the bar or at any of the communal tables where you can sit with friends or other ball fans during the game. And if baseball isn’t your thing you can enjoy a game of pool or foosball at the front of the bar…just don’t block the screen!!

The service at Dock Ellis is always top notch. I dropped in a few weeks back to do research for this post and catch a Jays preseason game. The staff was attentive and accommodating, returning with my beer within moments of ordering and keeping it full and fresh throughout my visit. They genuinely seem to embrace the game and appeal to baseball fans. You even get a souvenir retro baseball card with your bill…how can you beat that.

If you’re looking for a spot to catch the game I’d definitely recommend giving The Dock Ellis a try. The menu is good, the atmosphere is great for watching the game and you won’t be disappointed.

Where are you watching the game on Sunday? Heading out to a bar? Or watching from the comfort of your home?

The Dock Ellis
1280 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON
(Dundas & Dovercourt)
Open Monday – Sunday: Noon – 2 am
No reservations

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