The Artful Dodger

The Artful Dodger (website)
12 Isabella Street, Toronto ON M4Y 1N1 (on the north side, between Yonge Street and Church Street, the nearest major intersection is Yonge Steet and Bloor Street) 416-964-9511 
Google Maps 

A hidden gem in the heart of Toronto. 

I was angry when I left The Artful Dodger. Angry at myself for not having visited this pub before as I thought it was wonderful. I’d heard of the The Artful Dodger pub before, but just never got around to visiting. It’s hidden away behind the House of Lords — where I considered going for my prom ‘do — and in my ramblings about Muddy York, I’d never stumbled across it.

The Artful Dodger has two sections on the main floor, both with a fireplace and lots of comfy seating. There were plants in the window, paintings, portraits of John of Gaunt and Henry Hotspur, and lots of mirrors. We happened to be sitting next to a chair labelled Sedes Virgilii or Virgil’s Seat as my Renaissance man of a husband instantly translated. To add to the ambiance, we also overheard a conversation about chess (as noted boozer Oliver Reed — and all-around bad boy, who also once played Bill Sikes — said, you meet a better class of person in pubs), as well as seeing patrons sitting alone, which is a sign of a good establishment in my eyes. Apparently, it also has an upstairs pub, but it was closed when we went. According to their website, there is a pool table up there and dart boards.

Number of visits by yours truly:
first time, on a Thursday evening in early July 2011
TTC information: Bloor-Yonge Station, but also close to Wellesley Station. If travelling from the east or west, there’s no point in transferring lines
Booze selection: 14 beers, including Strongbow cider, and lots of coolers (No Pimm’s)
Food selection: small selection, but they had Scotch eggs
Service staff: 
our waitress said she’d be with us before we’d even had a chance to sit and she was very attentive
Prices: cheap for the location
Toilets:
reasonable, but tight
Patio:
the one on the south is on the street and was very busy. The one on the north is enclosed and has a pool table
Wheelchair accessible:
nope
Televisions:
one in the east bar, don’t know about upstairs as it was closed
Live music:
nope
Piped-in music:
Dead Can Dance and Depeche Mode’s “Blasphemous Rumours”

Rating: five pints (out of five) 

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