P.J. O’Brien (website)
39 Colborne Street, Toronto ON M5E 1E3 (on the south side of Colborne Street, between Church Street and Leader Lane, the nearest major intersection is Yonge Street and King Street) 416-815-7562
Nice spot for a pint or two.
A sister pub to the Irish Embassy, which is only a minute or so away, but mercifully quieter, P.J. O’Brien has a cozy atmosphere and tablecloths. In some ways, P.J. O’Brien has a number of restaurant-type features with the aforementioned tablecloths and accompanying cloth napkins and bread for the table, but the number of beers and limited menu options push the establishment firmly into the pub column for the purposes of this blog. P.J. O’Brien, which is very close to the King Edward Hotel and the St. Lawrence Market, has several rooms, including two snugs and an upstairs area with a fireplace, the latter appears to be only accessible from outside on the street, so the place is a bit of a rabbit warren.
The major online complaint of other pub-goers is the poor service at P.J. O’Brien, a touch ironic given the slant of the pub’s website, which seems to be all about service and bending over backwards. I have to agree with the online crowd, it’s a nice pub, but the service can be poor. A few warnings: P.J. O’Brien doesn’t accept debit cards as our pubbing companions found out the hard way — which is also contrary to what they have on their website — and they aren’t open on Sundays, because… actually, there is no good reason for a pub to be closed on a Sunday. None. What. So. Ever.
Number of visits by yours truly: two so far, most recently on a Saturday evening in May 2014
TTC information: just a minute’s walk east from King Station’s south (Melinda Street) exit
Booze selection: more than 20 beers, including a number of whiskeys, Magners and Strongbow cider (one night they had Pimm’s, the next they didn’t)
Food selection: limited, but the fancier end of pub grub, including a calamari salad that was a hit with our merry little band of pub-goers
Service staff: our food delivery was sometimes slow and we had to ask for a drink twice, we also had to wait quite some time for dessert, which was pre-made and probably pre-cut, and then our bills featured several items from our pubbing companions’ bill and they had several of ours. Fortunately, the amounts were very close, so we didn’t bother to ask for new bills. Unrelated, several of our servers were Irish
Prices: expensive, but the portions are big
Patio: no patio
Wheelchair accessible: nope, as toilets are accessible by stairs
Televisions: one in the front room and a large screen in the upper lounge
Live music: Fridays and Saturdays, with comedy on Mondays
Piped-in music: Tragically Hip, Joy Division, Daft Punk
Rating: four pints (out of five)