TorontoPubs’ TTC Loop Pub Crawl

TTC

Notes on this pub crawl: in honour of the fabled London Circle Line pub crawl, here’s a Toronto variation, TorontoPubs presents the TTC Loop Pub Crawl. I have selected the best pub in the TTC station area for a pub crawl, not necessary the one I would go to for the entire afternoon or evening. But what do I know? This is 14 stops, so a half-pint or sharing a pitcher with friends might be wiser than a full pint. Also keep in mind that the Museum Tavern is a bit snooty, but you’re stuck with what’s local. Finally, some pubs are closer to one another than actually walking back to the TTC station taking it one stop and then walking to the next pub, but that’s the charm of a TTC pub crawl — a bit of a breather. If you want to walk the route instead of taking the TTC, according to GoogleMaps, from the door of a pub to all 13 other pubs and then back to the starting pub takes just over two hours.

If you don’t agree with the pubs selected, click on the related TTC station below to get all pubs that are marked with that tag on this blog and choose your own!

Notes on pub crawls in general: consider at least 45 minutes per pub visit and let your server know that you having just one drink and then moving on into the fizzy night so she/he knows that you’ll need your bill quickly. Pay by cash so you aren’t waiting for the credit card/debit machine and tip generously as you may be back one day for longer than just one drink. Check the pub’s website/Twitter (links in TorontoPubs review of establishment) in case they have an event that night. Also keep in mind the day and time, Saturday nights with the FIFA World Cup’s final on is not the best night for said pub crawl, but it is one of the best times to be in a pub.

Updated: 2017.01.18 

Printable PDF of this TorontoPubs TTC Loop Pub Crawl with map.

Bloor-Yonge — The Artful Dodger (TorontoPubs review)
12 Isabella Street — Three blocks south of Bloor-Yonge Station, turn left on Isabella and the pub is on the north side

Wellesley — Mullins Irish Pub (TorontoPubs review)
1033 Bay Street — Two and a half blocks north of Wellesley, on the west side of Bay

College Pogue Mahone (TorontoPubs review)
777 Bay Street — The pub is actually on College between Yonge and Bay, on the south side

Dundas — The Imperial Pub (TorontoPubs review)
54 Dundas Street East — Two-minute walk east from Dundas Station, at the corner of Victoria

QueenThe Duke of Richmond (TorontoPubs review)
20 Queen Street West — On the east side, just west of Yonge Street, with the main entrance one block over on James Street

King — The Flatiron and Firkin (TorontoPubs review)
49 Wellington Street East — One block south and one block east of King Station, at the intersection of Wellington, Church, and Front 

Union — Scotland Yard (TorontoPubs review)
56 The Esplanade — Three short blocks east from Union Station and one block south

St. Andrew — The Town Crier (TorontoPubs review)
115 John Street — Three blocks west of St. Andrew Station, three and half blocks north of King East

Osgoode — The Friar (TorontoPubs review)
160 John Street — Three blocks west of Osgoode Station and just south of Queen East

St. Patrick — Village Idiot Pub (TorontoPubs review)
126 McCaul Street — Three blocks west of University at the corner of McCaul and Dundas West

Queen’s Park — The Prenup Pub (TorontoPubs review)
191 College Street — Four blocks west of Queen’s Park Station at the corner of Henry

Museum — Museum Tavern (TorontoPubs review)
208 Bloor Street West — One block north of Museum Station and half a block west of Avenue

St. George — The Duke of York Pub (TorontoPubs review)
39 Prince Arthur Avenue — One block north of St. George Station’s east exit and one building along Prince Arthur

Bay — Hemingway’s (TorontoPubs review)
142 Cumberland Street — Across the street from Bay Station’s east exit

Unfortunately, this pub crawl is not wheelchair accessible.

Museum Tavern

Museum Tavern Toronto

Museum Tavern (website, Twitter)
208 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON M5S 3B4 (on the north side, between Avenue Road and Bedford Street) 416-920-0110
Google Maps

A classy way to end your day after visiting the ROM. 

I have a friend who has spent many happy hours at the British Museum and probably a few more at the original Museum Tavern just across the road. I too have spent many happy hours at the Royal Ontario Museum (I have even stopped wincing when I see the crystal) and I intend to spend many happy hours at the Toronto Museum Tavern. Interestingly, the Toronto Museum Tavern took its name from the London one, but there is no salute to the original pub. When my aforementioned friend first brought the Toronto pub to my attention, we weren’t even sure it had opened yet (apparently it opened in August-ish of 2012). I have to admit I had the preconception that because it was a “tavern” it would be straw on the floor and rustic ambiance. Instead, gleaming black (but they could be dark brown) and white tiles were below my feet and a gorgeous cooper-colour ceiling above set my nervous heart to rest.

The Museum Tavern suffers a little from an identity crisis: is it a French bistro with its copper kettles and mirrors, is it a pub with its selection of beers and pubby name, or is it an American bar with its drinks selection and leather seats. Only you can decide. That said, the seating leads itself to a mixture of group sizes and it looks like the perfect place for a date. One can see why they chose to name the pub the Museum Tavern as the ROM dominates the skyline as you carefully navigate down the stairs.

Number of visits by yours truly: first visit, but not my last, on a weekday evening in January 2013
TTC information: equidistant from St. George, Bay, and Museum Stations.
Booze selection: 14 beers and Thornbury cider, a number of mixed drinks (they have Pimm’s — Allah is merciful)
Food selection: limited but unusual selections such as game based meals
Service staff: very polite and very friendly, but rather rude to my better half recently
Prices: fairly expensive, but generous portions
Toilets: classy!
Patio: south-facing the ROM
Wheelchair accessible: nope
Televisions: none!
Live music: nope
Piped-in music: yes, but too low to identify

Rating: four pints (out of five) 

The Oxley

The Oxley (website)
121 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto ON M5R 1C4 (on the south side, between Avenue Road and Bellair Street, just west of Old York Lane) 647-348-1300
Google Maps

A charming pub in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville. 

What a lovely pub! The only thing wrong with The Oxley is the location, I am not a fan of oh-so-trendy Yorkville, but then again, you can’t have everything. From the William Morris-inspired wallpaper and the Cruikshank-like mural of a hunting party downstairs to the chairs upstairs that look so comfortable and the framed prints that appear like they might be from Punch, the details of this recently opened establishment make a pub fan with a penchant for interior decorating weak at the knees.

The Oxley was named after Frank Oxley, a regular at the Queen and Beaver, which is the Oxley’s sister pub. (I aspire too to have a pub, a classy one like this, named after me.) The two pubs have much in common, such as the eclectic British menu with homemade ice creams and Pheasant and Goose Liver Polony with Fine Beans on offer, and the charm that comes from being founded by pub lovers. Writing this review is making me want to go back to The Oxley.

Number of visits by yours truly: two so far, most recently on a weekday evening in June 2012
TTC information: just two blocks north of Bay Station
Booze selection: 19 beers at present with Thornbury and Spirit Tree ciders and more than 30 wines (they have Pimm’s)
Food selection: fancy and yummy, the menus are online. (The Welsh rarebit was a disappointment as I was expecting  melted cheese on my toast, instead I got a kind of gravy, which was tasty, but not what I traditionally know as a Welsh rarebit)
Service staff: good
Prices: very expensive, but worth it for the most part
Toilets: downstairs and upstairs, the latter for the ladies is lovely, I think it might be as close to perfect as one can get (sadly, the upstairs men’s is just nice and unfortunately for the ladies there is only one toilet in the toilet). My grandmother would approve!
Patio: small one at the front, perfect for people watching in Yorkville, and a larger one at the back 
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: none!
Live music: I don’t think so
Piped-in music: nondescript

Rating: five pints (out of five) 

Hemingway’s

Hemingway’s (website, Twitter)
142 Cumberland Street, Toronto ON M5R 1A8 (on the north side, between Avenue Road and Bellair Street, the nearest major intersection is Avenue Road and Bloor Street West) 416-968-2828
Google Maps 

One of the few reasons to go to Yorkville.

I can’t recall my first visit to Hemingway’s as I’ve been going there for decades, but my most recent visit was because we wanted to see a film at the now defunct Cumberland movie theatre. We arrived too late for the then-current showing, so we decided kill time at a pub — sometimes the pieces just fall into place — while waiting for the next one.

Hemingway’s can get very crowded and it draws a younger crowd for the most part, that might have something to do with the fact that it’s open until two every night and is open every day of the year. I have no idea why Antipodeans (I love that word) frequent this pub, but they have good taste. The pub is decorated with books, travel posters, and a large picture of Hemingway and Castro, the seating inside is green leather benches with wooden chairs. Hemingway’s seems to be designed for groups, I’ve been here with a dozen or more friends and my husband, who used to work nearby, came here for company functions too.

Number of visits by yours truly: a dozen or so visits, most recently on a Sunday afternoon in July 2011
TTC information: Bay Station, exit from the west end and the pub is just across the street
Booze selection: I counted 54 beers, they also have cider, wine, and various mixed drinks (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: upscale pub food. We had the calamari and it wasn’t rubbery at all!
Service staff: attentive
Prices: reasonable for Yorkville
Toilets: the ones downstairs are not bad, I didn’t check the ones that are apparently upstairs
Patio: street level and upstairs at the front and at the back. The front upstairs is a smokers’ patio and the huge one at the back  — it can seat more than a hundred people — is partly covered in the summer, fully covered and heated in the winter (if my memory serves me well)
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: one over the bar
Live music: Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays in the winter
Piped-in music: dance dance dance music

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