By ANA TAVEIRA
The weather in the city is starting to get chilly, which means the locals give themselves permission to move the party from the patio to the pub. But which one to go to? Toronto is full of pubs, so we’ve sought out the best ones for the cold season—places where you’ll receive hearty food, hoppy ales and a warm local welcome.
There’s nothing like a little Irish hospitality and a glass of quality whisky to warm the traveller’s heart. Named after a neighbourhood in Dublin, King West’s Fynn’s of Temple Bar offers genuine comfort complete with daily food and drink specials. Perhaps even more intimate, the Roy Public House is a classic local pub in the family-friendly Leslieville neighbourhood, where hearty dishes like Guinness steak and mushroom pie are complemented a huge selection of draught beers. And for Emerald Isle charm filtered through the Canada’s East Coast, visit Ceili Cottage, which features strong drinks and simple, local cuisine, as well as fresh oysters selected by owner and international shucking champion Patrick McMurray.
• Fynn’s of Temple Bar, 489 King St. W., 416-586-1331, fynnstemplebar.com
• Roy Public House, 894 Queen St. E., 416-465-3331, theroy.ca
• Ceili Cottage, 1301 Queen St. E., 416-406-1301, ceilicottage.com
You can go to any old bar for a glass of beer and a burger, but some local watering holes are just as renowned for their food as their drinks. In fact, Toronto’s experienced an explosion of such places in recent years. The Queen and Beaver was one of the first Toronto pubs to go all-in with upscale interpretations of traditional British cuisine, matching its menu with well-curated selection lagers, ales, stouts, ciders and spirits. The formula proved so successful that owner Jamieson Kerr and chef Andrew Carter opened a sister space, The Oxley, in the upscale Yorkville neighbourhood. Lesser known but equally laudable is The Monk’s Table, a Summerhill spot that offers warmth in the form of dishes like moules frites and lamb vindaloo. Try them paired with one of the hard-to-fine European beers in bottles or on tap.
• Queen and Beaver Public House, 35 Elm St., 647-347-2712, queenandbeaverpub.ca, map and reviews
• The Oxley, 121 Yorkville Ave., 647-348-1300, theoxley.com, map and reviews
• The Monk’s Table, 1276 Yonge St., 416-920-9074, themonkstable.com
A public house doesn’t need a U.K. pedigree to be an inviting option for food, drinks and fellowship—especially in such a wildly diverse place like Toronto. Pubs like Betty’s have just enough kitsch to attract a diverse yet downtown-hip clientele. This pub in particular has nearly 30 beers on tap, mix-and-match furniture, an affordable food menu and weekend brunch. Named after a novella by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, No One Writes to the Colonel is unsurprisingly a hub for young writers and artists (proximity to the University of Toronto helps in that regard), while The Local is a hub for live music and craft beer in the west end. In St. Lawrence Market, subterranean C’est What has long been popular for its varied house-made brews, comfortable ambience and frequent performances by emerging local musicians.
• Betty’s, 240 King St. E., 416-368-1300, bettsonking.com
• No One Writes to the Colonel, 460 College St., 416-928-6777, Facebook page
• The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-535-6225, thelocalpub.ca
• C’est What?, 67 Front St. E., 416-867-9499, cestwhat.com, map and reviews