One of the more English pubs in Toronto and one of the better Duke pubs.
According to a dear friend of mine, the Duke of Kent Pub is not the place to go on a Friday evening. Older men crowd the doorway, drinking with their elbows sticking out, and ignoring all but the most insistent — but always polite — requests to move so you can pass. The penultimate time I was there, it was a weekday afternoon, rather empty, and we had a lovely time with no elbows at the ready and good service — this is after all a Duke pub and service is something I often find lacking with them. The last time we went to the Duke of Kent was a Saturday night and the crowd ebbed and flowed in the upstairs; it was quiet at ten, but very crowded and noisy at seven and eleven, and I had to squeeze through a few people to get to our reserved table upstairs — thank goodness there are toilets upstairs. The upstairs can get very, very loud. There are booths, which are a little big for two and a little small for four, cruiser tables, and regular tables downstairs and just regular tables upstairs, so you have your pick of seating. They have PubStumpers on Tuesday nights.
For those who enjoy a little history with their hops, the Duke of Kent is very close to the site of Montgomery’s Tavern, where part of the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 was fought. Montgomery’s Tavern was burned to the ground after the Battle of Montgomery’s Tavern and the building that currently stands on the site is an Art Deco building with the royal cipher “EviiiR”, one of the few buildings that honours Edward VIII, who was on the throne for less than a year. The post office that used to be at that location is now being transformed into… you guessed it… condos. However, the facade with the royal cipher is being kept.
Number of visits by yours truly: a dozen or so, most recently on a Saturday night in January 2011
TTC information: just north of Eglinton Station
Booze selection: standard Duke pub selection of approximately 30 beers, including Strongbow and Bulmers cider (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: standard pub grub
Service staff: pleasant for a Duke pub. I left my husband’s camera once and they kindly called to let us know (we’d had a reservation so they had our contact information) and I hadn’t even realized it had fallen out of my bag
Prices: expensive like all Duke pubs
Toilets: at one point the ladies’ toilet upstairs was disgusting, but it was cleaned up after a while and much better. There are only two stalls in the ladies’ toilet downstairs, which isn’t enough for such a popular watering hole
Patio: north of the pub on Roehampton
Wheelchair accessible: there isn’t a wheelchair accessible toilet so it’s not wheelchair accessible
Televisions: several, with at least one upstairs
Live music: to quote the waitress: “rarely”
Piped-in music: standard ’80s
Rating: four pints (out of five)