You have to get up pretty early in the morning to stop Torontonians from getting up pretty early in the morning to booze it up and watch hockey.
By a vote of 37-4, city council voted in support of a motion to extend bar hours for Sochi Olympic hockey watching. The earlier hours apply only to bars and restaurants, and don't include establishments in Ward 9, York Centre; Ward 24, Willowdale; and Ward 11, York South-Weston. The men's gold medal final between Canada and Sweden starts at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Here's a roundup of a few spots to catch the big game on the big screen.
Wheat Sheaf Tavern
When the Sheaf first opened, Canada wasn't yet a country and the Olympics weren't even a ka-ching in the IOC's eyes. The venerable tap room will be open at 7 a.m., with its normal brunch menu in operation. At this blue collar establishment, they take guff, but not reservations. 667 King St. W., 647-694-0985.
Louder than a Don Cherry suit, the MLSE-owned madhouse is set to open at 6:30 a.m., with reservations recommended. Included among the 200 high-definition screens is a two-storey behemoth – the biggest screen of its kind in the city. At press time, the staff was undecided as to whether they would modify the menu for such an early opening, but suffice to say Swedish meatballs won't be one of the specials. 15 York St., 416-815-7325 or realsports.ca
Sports Centre Cafe
Sure, this midtown establishment has big screens, but some of the folks who arrive in time for the 6:30 a.m. opening will be able to snag a booth with its own TV. They won't be taking reservations, but they will be offering a breakfast to soak up the mainstream brews on tap. 49 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-928-9525.
For reservations, call 416-979-PUCK. Actually, don't bother because the Great One's joint is fully booked. If you did land a table, get there for a 7 a.m. opening and order the the ol' Canadian Scramble, a popular brunch item – and also what the Sedin twins can expect all game long from the maple-blooded bruisers in Sochi land. 99 Blue Jays Way, 416-979-7825 or gretzkys.com.
The Little Italy gem isn't actually a sports bar, but when the owner picked up the phone after the semi-final win over Team USA on Friday afternoon, he proclaimed the Monarch as the "Home of Team Canada." It's first come first served for seats at a homey second-floor establishment that opens at 6 a.m., and where a simple pancake breakfast or steak and eggs are the likely choices for grub. 12 Clinton St., 416-531-5833 or themonarchtavern.com.
It's expected that the Shoeless Joe franchises in the wards with extended bar hours will have taps turned on for Sunday morning's Sochi-shinny affair. The sprawling basement that is the Shoeless Joe's in the Entertainment District will certainly be serving drinks and taking reservations (starting Saturday morning). 276 King St. W., 416-596-4203 or shoelessjoes.ca.
Wendel Clark's Classic Grill and Bar
The upscale establishments in Burlington and Vaughan have an obvious Toronto hockey-hero connection, but their alcohol regulations are not subject to Toronto city council's liberalized booze notions. Drinks or not, though, Wendel Clark's will be open for the big game on Sunday morning. 70 Interchange Way, Vaughan, 905-738-6001; 380 Brant Street, Burlington, 905-633-9217 or wendelclarks.com.