The Local

The Local (website, Twitter)
396 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto ON M6R 2M9 (on the east side, between Howard Park Avenue and Marmaduke Street, the nearest major intersection is Roncesvalles Avenue and Dundas Street West) 416-535-6225
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Perfect for a pint before or after a show at the Revue Theatre or during a stroll along Roncesvalles.

This is a posting by my better half. Enjoy!

Opinion is divided on the subject of whether children ought to be welcome in the pubs of the nation. On one side are those who see no problem with bringing children into drinking establishments. On the other side are the right-minded, who correctly find it abhorrent. A pub ought to be a sanctuary, offering a respite from the whining, screaming, and intrusiveness of kid-friendly establishments. The availability of a public space where one may over-lubricate oneself, blessedly free from the need to set a decent moral example for youth, is chief among the benefits of a polished civilization. Sadly, there are too few such spaces remaining.

It is with this in mind that I offer my assessment of The Local, a perfectly acceptable little establishment on Roncesvalles: its only flaw worth remarking is the lamentable number of couples with children one will tend to find there. On the other hand, I suppose they can’t be held solely responsible for what seems to be a disappointingly common phenomenon among Roncesvalles’ young(ish) hipsters, who seem to want to display their children and other fashionable accessories to an admiring world.

Clientele aside, The Local offers a decent selection of Canadian microbrews, including Ironwood cider, which one doesn’t often find. One of my more recent visits was as part of a Friday pub crawl with some friends from work. One of the friends I was with ordered an Ironwood, which he subsequently described as tasting like Jolly Rancher candy. He couldn’t finish it, so he asked the server if he could order something else, saying that he would of course pay for the unfinished cider in any case. Instead, the server brought him a new drink and insisted on not charging for the cider, which was very nice of him (it turns out that it was his first day). In terms of food, on this visit all the menu items were cold plates. I had the ploughman’s lunch, which came with some very good artisanal cheeses. On my next visit I was presented with a completely different menu. It turns out that the cold plates were due to an electrical problem in the kitchen, which meant nothing could be made that required cooking. This is now fixed. It must be said that as I had no idea there was a problem in the kitchen is to The Local’s credit.

The decor is old hardwood floors and lots of exposed brick. Here and there the walls are decorated with retro ephemera such old 1960s board games and album covers. There is a brick patio in the back where I sat on my most recent visit. Though small, it is quite comfortable, with a mass of climbing ivy conveniently beautifying what would otherwise be an ugly fire escape.

Number of visits by yours truly: four or five visits, most recently on a Saturday afternoon in September 2011
TTC information: a four-minute ride southbound from Dundas West Station on the King or Dundas streetcars to Howard Park Avenue
Booze selection: 13 beers, Ironwood cider (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: basic, but rather interesting selections, such as Bombay poutine
Service staff: very friendly
Prices: moderate
Toilets: downstairs, dingy, but clean enough
Patio: west-facing and rather small
Wheelchair accessible: nope
Televisions: nope
Live music: practically every night except Fridays. See their event calendar for bands
Piped-in music: The Ramones, Patti Smith

Rating: four and a half pints (out of five)

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