The Imperial Pub

Imperial Pub Toronto

The Imperial Pub (website)
54 Dundas Street East, Toronto ON M5B 1C7 (on the north-east corner of Dundas Street East and Victoria Street, the nearest major intersection is Dundas Street and Yonge Street) 416-977-4667
Google Maps

The pub that time forgot.

The Imperial Pub is in many ways your grandparents’ pub with its old-fashioned beer mugs, bright neon beer signs, ancient carpet, antique wooden chairs, overgrown potted plants, tin ceiling, etc. It also features a circular bar with a huge aquarium inside it on the downstairs level. However, the pub comes by its retro style legitimately as it was founded in 1944. (The pub has been updated since then, but probably not in the last four or five decades.)

The Imperial Pub is in an ideal location, just steps from the Eaton Centre, Ryerson University, and Dundas Square, all of which were established after the pub was built. As such, the crowd at the Imperial is a mixture of older patrons and young students. The pub has a back room that is used for concerts and other events (I went there several times a few years ago for board game nights, which they no longer seem to do — a pub blogger can have other interests other than visiting pubs). The upstairs features a library with leather sofas, foosball and there is a jukebox that has jazz music selections.

Number of visits by yours truly: ten or so, most recently on a weekday evening in March 2015
TTC information: just a two-minute walk east from Dundas Station
Booze selection: 60 beers with Thornby cider (they don’t have Pimm’s). The beer is served in old-fashioned mugs
Food selection: not for those on a diet, but pub food as it is meant to be
Service staff: friendly, but the kitchen was a little slow with our order
Prices: inexpensive
Toilets: clean, but cramped and very minimal
Patio: rooftop with a view of Dundas Square
Wheelchair accessible: the toilets are too small for a wheelchair
Televisions: a few
Live music: sometimes and comedy on Monday nights
Piped-in music: Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, “Big band stuff”

Rating: four pints (out of five) 

The Three Brewers

Three Brewers Yonge Toronto

The Three Brewers (website)
275 Yonge Street, Toronto ON M5B 1N8 (on the east side, just south of Dundas Square and north of Shuter Street, the nearest major intersection is Yonge Street and Dundas Street) 647-347-6286
Google Maps

The spot for a beer after exhausting the delights of the Eaton Centre.

This Three Brewers pub and microbrewery is apparently the Toronto flagship for the international chain with another three Toronto locations opening “soon” (as of July 2015, only one other has opened). This one is across the way from the Eaton Centre, and as such the pub appeared to be full of tourists and Ryerson student starting early on their extracurricular credits. My friend and I were in a booth, with a foot rail (!), but there were a number of tables and chairs available that were dragged into various configurations as the afternoon in question wound down. The pub itself features large brewing vats near the entrance and is cavernous with various floors and open rooms for cozier dining for couples and for larger groups. One could get lost in here if not careful or sober!

The Three Brewers is perhaps not the best place to go to before a show at the nearby Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Pantages, Imperial, and later the Canon) as the service was little slow. I am apparently not the only one who noticed this, and timing is everything in show business! They might want to iron out a few kinks — with a larger beer selection and better service — before attempting to take over Toronto.

Number of visits by yours truly: my first on a weekday afternoon in September 2014
TTC information: just a minute’s walk south of Dundas Station
Booze selection: five beers with rather boring names — white, blonde, IPA, amber, and dark (let’s see, they could have gone with Scary, Posh, Ginger, Baby, and Sporty or Julian, Dick, Anne, George, and Timmy, or vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing) and a monthly specialty beer. No cider and no Pimm’s
Food selection: decent enough selections with suggested beer pairings
Service staff: a little slow, but polite (the slowness is noticed by a number of online reviewers)
Prices: expensive
Toilets: in decent shape, but plan ahead as it’s a bit of an odyssey and follow the yellow dots
Patio: nope, but the windows open wide for that lovely second-hand smoke and truck exhaust flavour wafting off Yonge Street
Wheelchair accessible: negative, as toilets are upstairs
Televisions: nine at least!
Live music: nay
Piped-in music: Céline Dion, Tina Turner, Katy Perry, The Cranberries

Rating: three and half pints (out of five)

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.

The Queen and Beaver

The Queen and Beaver (website, Twitter)
35 Elm Street, Toronto ON M5G 1H1 (on the south side, between Yonge Street and Bay Street, the nearest major insertion is Yonge Street and Dundas Street) 647-347-2712
Google Maps

A charming pub fit for a pint or two with friends and for a first date (if you want a second one). 

I started this blog because I was taking a course on writing for the web and had to create one. I decided to write about pubs as friends often asked me for advice on good pubs for first dates through to wedding receptions, etc. Anyway, one of my classmates suggested the Queen and Beaver. I finally got around to visiting it this August and have been back twice since.

The first two times I went to the Queen and Beaver, I sat upstairs in the “sports screening room.” Unfortunately, the room is very noisy as there is no carpet and if it is crowded, you will have trouble hearing your companions, but no trouble hearing the people on the other side of the room. The upstairs is decorated with sports photography and there are books too. The pub uses unmatched plates and a variety of chairs, which is rather charming. On our most recent visit, the downstairs was open — it was closed on our second visit — and we sat in the front room, which was more formal and very nice. Note, they have a private dining room downstairs that can fit about eight people.

Update 2013.12.29: Unfortunately, the Queen and Beaver has lost its coveted TorontoPubs five out five pints scoring due to my two latest visits. We were rushed out of the pub recently by being given our (hefty) bill without asking. Next visit, there was no one at the door to greet us and I could see someone working behind the bar in the dining area (and we hung around for a while) and, while going to the next floor, three different parties converged on the landing, with someone coming down and us going up, with a member of staff behind us, we let the person come down the stairs first and the member of staff then popped in front of us and bounded up. Not impressed! We ended up going to the Duke of Richmond instead.

Number of visits by yours truly: three, most recently on a Saturday evening in November 2011
TTC information: just a block north of Dundas Station
Booze selection: 11 beers, including three different ciders, numerous wines (they have Pimm’s)
Food selection: you can have rabbit and potato pie followed by Stilton-wild cherry ice cream. They have a number of unusual ice cream flavours, and I have had most of them, they are delicious! Note that the menu seems to change frequently.
Service staff: very good
Prices: very expensive, four dollars for a can of ice tea, but worth it for the most part
Toilets: good
Patio: north of the building and one upstairs
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: one large one in the “sports screening room” upstairs
Live music: nope
Piped-in music: in the background

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

The Duke of Somerset

The Duke of Somerset (website, Twitter)
655 Bay Street, Toronto ON M5G 2K4 (on the east side, between Elm Street and Walton Street, the nearest major intersection is Bay Street and Dundas Street West) 416-640-0921
Google Maps

Great for a beer after work!  

My merry band and I have been going to the Duke of Somerset a lot lately to play PubStumpers. However, the latest season is now over and we have decided to rest on our laurels, so I won’t be going back for a while.

The Duke of Somerset has a very business-like crowd, not surprising given its location. It has a lot of booths, which is nice if you like booths, but if there are six of you, announcing you need to use the facilities results in a lot of bother. There are a few benches and chairs with movable tables, but these are few and far between. Keep this in mind if you have a huge group (ten or more), because the pub isn’t really designed for large gatherings. If you are sensitive to smoke, do not sit in the booth that is directly to your right as you walk in the main door. I had the misfortune to sit there once and had the second-hand smoke from the patio repeatedly wash over me.

Number of visits by yours truly: three dozen or so visits, most recently on a weekday evening in November 2011
TTC information: equidistant between Dundas Station and St. Patrick Station
Booze selection: standard Duke pub selection of approximately 35 beers, including Strongbow and Magners ciders. They have Pimm’s!
Food selection: standard Duke pub grub
Service staff: like all Duke pubs it can be hit or miss. If you are lucky you might get Becky, who is very good!
Prices: expensive like all Duke pubs
Toilets: clean
Patio: large portico style on the west side of the building, so not a lot of direct sunlight
Wheelchair accessible: the pub itself is accessible through the office tower at 655 Bay Street, however, I don’t know if this building is open the same hours as the pub. I’d call ahead
Televisions: several, often showing the same sports show on multiple screens
Live music: Wednesdays
Piped-in music: Katy Perry and company

Rating: four pints (out of five)