The Gull and Firkin (website, Twitter)
1943 Queen Street East, Toronto ON M4L 1H7 (on the south side, east of Woodbine, between Kippendavie Avenue and Kenilworth Avenue, the nearest major intersection is Woodbine Avenue and Queen Street East) 416-693-9337
Great for a pint after a stroll along the Boardwalk in the Beaches.
If my personal stories are not of interest to you, my dear reader, please feel free to skip to the next paragraph. For you who choose to read on, I thank you and ask that you get a hanky for this tale of woe. You see, a week before I went to the Gull and Firkin, I broke my toe. Anyway, the plan for the evening in question was to check out a pub to see what it was like before going there for a PubStumpers evening and then hobble down the road to check out another pub. The first pub, the now closed Winchester Arms, looked a bit like a dive from the outside (one of the signs said it was the Manchester Arms and there were lots of smokers outside) we turned around and went to our second choice just down the road. The Feathers was more than half empty so we sat down. We were asked to move for a reservation (there was no sign), which we did and were then ignored by both waitresses. After the waitresses walked by us for a third time each, we gave them another couple of minutes and then left. We next went to Mullins Irish Pub a little further down the road, which is about the size of a large living room and we were told a “team” was coming in another hour, which would have crowded us out. So, we went to Castro’s Lounge on Queen, they had a ton of reservations too. We were offered a tiny table for two for the three of us, which was too cramped as we wanted to eat and so we went to the Gull and Firkin and got the last booth! According to Google Maps, we walked 2.8 kms and me with a broken toe! For a map of our odyssey, click here. I mention this background as I have to admit I was in pain and I was so happy to finally sit down in the Gull and Firkin that my review might be gently coloured by my experience.
I have been to the Gull and Firkin a couple of times as it’s near the Beaches and that’s within walking distance of my home. Frankly, that stretch of the Beaches is in need of more pubs! However, in terms of establishments of that nature already there, the Gull and Firkin is very pleasant, and as far as one of the Firkin pubs goes, this is one of the better ones. We were in the back of the pub that evening and it was like we were in our own tiny pub as the area is rather enclosed. The décor is very nice, with wood paneling, wall sconces, and a little dark. Large groups will have problems finding enough seating, but smaller groups will be happy to see that every spot is tailor-made for them.
However, like all Firkin pubs, there were too many televisions. We were in a section that sat a maximum of 16 people and there were two televisions. I thought people went to pubs to socialize and drink, but it seems I am wrong. A note, I went outside to take a photograph of the pub after we placed our first order and on the way back an older gentleman stopped me and asked me if I was looking for the ladies’ room. If the pub can attract nice patrons who want to assist others, then it must be a nice place to go.
Number of visits by yours truly: three or four, most recently on a Saturday night in April 2011
TTC information: take the Woodbine bus south from Woodbine Station (8- to 10-minute journey) or the Queen Street streetcar east from Queen Station (20- to 25-minute journey)
Booze selection: about a dozen or so, including Magners cider (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: standard pub grub with lots of sandwiches and wraps. As a friend said recently, the Firkin pubs are the McDonald’s of the pub scene, you know what you’re getting in every Firkin as the menu is the same
Service staff: very pleasant and friendly. Our waitress actually sat down at one point in our booth to take our order
Toilets: not bad in terms of cleanliness, the first cubicle I went into didn’t lock (Why don’t pubs get these broken locks fixed?) and as a result I had to wait
Patio: on the street facing north
Wheelchair accessible: no
Live music: no as there are condos above the pub
Piped-in music: modern
Rating: four and a half pints (out of five)