Black Horse

Black Horse
928 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON M6H 1L4 (on the north side, between Delaware Avenue and Concord Avenue, the nearest major intersection is Ossington Avenue and Bloor Street West) 416-531-9096
Google Maps

One of Toronto’s oldest pubs!

Established in 1892, the Black Horse pub looks like it has seen a lot over its long history. It reminded my drinking companion of a greasy spoon, which I must agree with as it had a rather worn look about it. Everything from the rounded arches to the mirrored bar reminded me of what a pub must have looked like in the ’70s. All that was missing was a thin haze of secondhand cigarette smoke.

We stumbled across the Black Horse as we were in Korea Town and decided it was pub time (but when is it ever not I hear you say). I had read somewhere that the Black Horse pub had a horse head protruding into the street, but that’s nowhere to be seen now and we almost walked by as that was what I was looking for. Inside, there are booths, tables and a couch in the back. The walls are covered with photographs of old Toronto, horseshoes, and equine-related paraphernalia, and the kitchen is exposed, which is always a good sign in my opinion.

Note, there is the Dark Horse, further along Bloor, and there is also a Black Horse pub in Mississauga.

Number of visits by yours truly: my first, but not my last, on a weekday afternoon in late December 2011
TTC information: just a block and a half west from Ossington Station
Booze selection: 12 beers and no cider! Zut alors! I don’t know why I even bothered to ask if they had Pimm’s. They didn’t
Food selection: rather limited with pasta and burgers. We had the large order of chicken wings, which was good, but the wings were small
Service staff: good, but rather shy
Prices: very reasonable
Toilets: the most cramped toilets I have been in since I was last in England. My knees touched the door
Patio: north and looked nice
Wheelchair accessible: no, a step up into the bar and steps to the toilet
Televisions: two
Live music: no
Piped-in music: light jazz on the radio

Rating: three pints (out of five)

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3 thoughts on “Black Horse

  1. Hello

    I am just wondering where you or your information? The black horse was actually opened in 1997. Not sure what you mean by established in 1892.

    I am just doing some clean up on the restaurants online presence and was curious about this.

    Thanks

    Morgan

  2. I called the pub, it did open in 1997, but the building itself was established in 1892. If you look closely at the hanging street sign in the enlarged image, you will see that it says “Black Horse Established 1892,” so you can understand why I made the error.

  3. Went with a friend today for a quiet coffee in the “lounge” area that is furnished with couches (ripped and dirty) and a fireplace. Despite sub-freezing temperatures and falling snow there manager/owner refused to turn on the fireplace, claiming it was broken. When I saw that the pilot light was lit in the fireplace, I asked again. The owner/manager claimed it was giving off a smell and that a repair person was on the way. I suggested he might want to turn off the pilot if that was the case; he just shrugged. This should have been our clue to leave, but we had already settled in.

    The place was empty. We ordered coffee and sat for about 1/2 hour. The waitress asked us if we wanted refills, and while we weren’t finished the cups we had we both said “yes” for a top up to reheat the cup. When we got the bill, we were charged a total of $7.23. When we asked we were informed that each coffee was charged individually at $1.60 (with a hint that it might be because we didn’t order food, although this isn’t clear). This isn’t a huge bill, but it is pretty high for two people ordering a cup and a half of coffee. We not told, nor were we given the choice to opt for food or decline the refill, and we were not happy.

    When I asked to speak to the manager on our way out, he refused saying he was “busy”. The place was still empty. I returned a few minutes later to speak with him, but he was rude and dismissive, saying only that the place was a “restaurant” and he had no need to inform us as to the establishment’s policy. He said he didn’t care that we were upset, didn’t feel a need to have told us, and didn’t care if we returned.

    As it happened we were scouting the location to see if we could have some recurring group meetings in the space. He didn’t know this, nor did he care. Clearly it isn’t going to be our choice. I hope it isn’t your choice either. There are a myriad of other friendly and comfy lounges and coffee shops in the area that are better choices.

    This owner has no respect for his customers, and is happy to drive away the few he has rather than do what he can to ensure we return. Overall, a horrible experience.

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