Top 5 Places for a Pint after Christmas Shopping

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Well, it's that of the year again. You are tooling around town shopping in Mississauga for that perfect gift for your auntie Jasmine, cousin Mohamed, sister Ethyl and Grandpa Billy.

Well, it's that of the year again. You are tooling around town shopping in Mississauga for that perfect gift for your auntie Jasmine, cousin Mohamed, sister Ethyl and Grandpa Billy. By the end of the evening, you have had enough of the crowds and more than enough of that inconsiderate mom changing her kid's loaded diaper in the food court while her other kid runs around like a crazed animal. You realize that the holiday season can be a cruel mistress and you need an ice-cold pint and something to eat to reward yourself for a job well done. So, with no further adieu (and in no particular order) here are my top five places to grab a pint during the holidays.

Gabriel's Restaurant: Sometimes I like to class it up a little, and when I'm not making multi-million dollar business deals with Kevin O’Leary over poutine or discussing soccer strategy with Cristiano Ronaldo over Portuguese chicken, I’m chilling out at Gabriel's after a hard day of Christmas consumerism. Tucked away in a business park just off Mississauga Road, Gabriel's offers really good food and a decent selection of beer on tap. I am a big fan of scarfing down a bowl of mussels by the warmth of the fireplace while schooling my friends over a game of pool that usually pays for my tab.
The Wilcox Gastropub: The Wilcox Gastropub is located in the Wilcox House - one of Mississauga’s oldest Heritage Homes which features Greek and Gothic detailing and was built by Amos and Charles Wilcox in 1850. Executive chef Humberto Sanchez is the creative talent behind the menu (and he was also a contestant on Chopped Canada!). The from-scratch menu changes seasonally and features everything from pulled pork poutine to veal bone marrow and ceviche to braised short ribs and more. Everything from the sauces to the bread is made in-house and the bread is baked every morning. The drink menu includes a good selection of craft beers and wine. Failte Irish Pub: When I first entered this place I could not believe how big it was. It's a sprawling Irish pub that has a cool combination of size and coziness. This is THE pub in town for live music and gets pretty wild on the weekends with a combination of locals, Sheridan students and people looking to party. There is a cover charge if a band is playing, but it's usually worth the dough for some live music instead of some guy playing Robin Thicke songs off his iTunes playlist.

The Pump House Grill Co.: With three locations to choose from (Port Credit, Clarkson and Erin Mills) you can’t go wrong with The Pump. It is happening just about every night of the week and is especially busy on the weekends. The Pump offers a large selection of brews on tap, exclusive wines, and a feature cocktail menu, - it is a great spot to "drink, eat well and be happy" - the words The Pump lives by. The menu has something for everyone including a big section of bar classics, appetizers, pastas, burgers, and a must try selection of what they call Pump Favorites which includes Toasted Coconut Chicken, Smokey Hickory Maple Salmon, and Beer Battered Halibut just to name a few.

Coopers Pub: The classic wood-finished tavern conveniently located 2 minute drive outside of Square One. The pub offers a cozy environment to watch the game with your friends and a projection screen for a big picture. Good prices and food along with interesting selections of brews on tap, including Strongbow, Rickards (Red & White) and Hoegaarden. Coopers Pub is comfortable and located right near Burnhamthorpe and Wolfdale. Don't forget that during Leaf s and Raptors games there are always great specials going on that include the obvious beer and wings combo's.

So there you have it -- the places you can find yours truly cooling out after I spend my hard earned money in a fit of rampant consumerism. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and I have many fond memories of my great uncle getting drunk and putting mashed potatoes in my parent's coat pockets just prior to leaving. I loved seeing my grandfather swearing up a storm in French as he went for his keys, only to find a pocketful of cold potatoes before chasing my great uncle down the streets of Montreal. I do miss those days, and now I am left with my own family forging new memories and traditions that include a cold pint on a winter night just prior to Christmas. Happy Holiday and always be responsible when drinking.

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