The place to go if you’re in the mood for something Scottish, unless it’s your birthday.
Claiming to be the only authentic Scottish pub in Toronto, which I dispute as McGugan’s seems pretty Scottish to me, the Caledonian is a nice pub. It’s got wooden tables that can be moved, pictures of Scotland, and a fireplace in the back of the pub. The night we were there, there was a barrel-making demonstration on the patio, which was quite interesting.
My drinking companion of choice enjoyed the pub, while I beg to differ for the following reasons: why should you not go to the Caledonian for birthdays, you ask? Well, at the next table on the night in question, someone was celebrating a birthday and they started singing “Happy birthday.” We decided to join in and sing along. Anyway, our waitress, who turned out to be the owner, appeared moments after the song ended and hissed that she did not want us to encourage that type of behaviour. I kid you not. Later that evening, when another table on the other side of us celebrated a birthday we just sat there quietly. In addition, when we arrived, a man was letting his young child push around a chair and at one point the child’s dummy/soother (what a misnomer!)/pacifier fell on the floor, I pointed this out and the man just growled that he knew, picked it up, and sulked. Sigh.
UPDATE: We returned to the scene of the crime last night and we had the same server again, who was in a much better mood. I will return. I will go back to the Caledonian, but not for anyone’s birthday. The pub is sometimes closed for private functions.
Number of visits by yours truly: first, but not last, visit on a weekend evening in November 2013
TTC information: a three-minute ride south from Ossington Station or take the College streetcar from College Station, which will drop you after a 15-minute ride at Ossington
Booze selection: 10 beers or so, Magners cider (no Pimm’s), but lots and lots of whiskies
Food selection: Scottish (surprise, surprise) with several haggis dishes, scotch eggs, Irn-Bru, and deep-fried Mars bars (the menu is online)
Service staff: our waitress was highly stressed, but quick most of the time, see above
Toilets: the ladies’ toilets are in independent stalls and there was a lack of waste baskets
Patio: north and in a courtyard, so the noise gets trapped, but it looked nice
Wheelchair accessible: nope as the toilets are downstairs
Televisions: one in front
Live music: sometimes
Piped-in music: couldn’t make it out
Rating: four and half pints (out of five)