The OverDraught Irish Pub (website, Twitter)
156 Front Street West, Toronto ON M5J 2L6 (on the north side, between University Avenue and Simcoe Street, downstairs from Joe Badali’s, the nearest major intersection is Front Street West and University Avenue) 416-408-3925
Could this be the most romantic pub in Toronto?
Near the Princess of Wales and the Royal Alexandra theatres, and within sneezing distance of Roy Thomson Hall, the OverDraught Irish Pub is a delight! I was late for my luncheon date there as I could have sworn the OverDraught was on King instead of Front, then, once inside, I walked straight past my friend as she was ensconced in a corner. This pub has several ideal spots for first dates and when I mentioned this to our waitress she informed us that in the five years she had been working there that 10 couples who had their first dates at the pub were now married or in serious relationships as they came back to the OverDraught to celebrate their first-date anniversaries. Those aren’t odds to sniff at! (By the way, the timing of this posting, being the day before St. Valentine’s Day, is pure coincidence.) The privacy is created by jutting bookshelves, and well-placed tables and chairs. The pub also has a fireplace and a spot called the library, how much sexier can you get?
My friend ordered the ploughman’s lunch, which she said tasted mouldy. She brought this to the attention of our waitress who removed the item from the bill and was very nice about it. Plus, when I was chatting to my friend recently, she said she would go back to the OverDraught despite what happened as it was such a nice pub. (I think I had the fish and chips, all I recall was that I enjoyed my meal with no complaints or ill effects afterwards.)
Note, the website says to call about Sunday opening hours.
Number of visits by yours truly: my first, but not my last, on a weekday afternoon in January 2012
TTC information: equidistant between St. Andrew and Union Stations
Booze selection: 12 beers, including Strongbow cider. They also have a number of whiskys. My companion said that they had an “un-pub-like focus on cocktails” (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: fancy end of pub grub, the menu is online and a little hard to read. I know pubs love to go for the all-Irish look, but when the font is difficult to read, you have gone a step too far
Service staff: very good and friendly
Prices: a little expensive, but you are in the heart of the theatre district
Toilets: very nice
Wheelchair accessible: no, it’s downstairs
Live music: Thursdays and Saturdays
Piped-in music: Killers, Mr. Bowie, Arcade Fire
Rating: four and a half pints (out of five)