Tall Boys

Tall Boys Toronto

Tall Boys (website, Twitter)
838 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON M6G 1M2 (on the north side, between Carling Avenue and Shaw Street, the nearest major intersection is Ossington Avenue and Bloor Street West) 416-535-7486
Google Maps

One of Toronto’s better pubs!

A familiar name to those who read “Toronto’s best pubs” articles, Tall Boys has been around since late 2012, however it taken me all this time to review it. I must admit it’s the name that has kept me away, Tall Boys sounds cheesy, like Vickie’s Diner or a strip club. (By the way, I do know what a tall boy is.) Anyway, like any decent ancient Greek tragedy, I have been punished for my snobbery and Tall Boys was well worth the visit.

Tall Boys is one of those new-fangled hipster bars with wooden tables with lots of grey and splashes of red. Tall Boys was very popular the night in question, there was a line-up for tables, but the Toronto Raptors were in the playoffs at the time. However, it might be because according to their website, Tall Boys has ‘Toronto’s Largest Selection of Ontario Craft Beer” and “at any given time, we carry over 70 of the finest Ontario Craft Beer[s]”. Unfortunately, the Raptors lost that night, but my drinking companion and I had a good time there and will be back!

Note, cash only for bill under $20.

Number of visits by yours truly: my first, but not my last, on a weekday evening in late April 2016
TTC information: closer to Ossington Station (three minutes), but it’s a prettier walk from Christie Station (six minutes) 
Booze selection: their approximately 70 beers are sorted by type, which is something all pubs should do. They also have four ciders — GLB Pompous Ass; Coffin Ridge Forbidden; Pommies Farmhouse; Shiny Apple Cider
Food selection: burgers, tacos, and sandwiches. I had the Tall Boy Burger, which is three patties, as well as a fried egg and other not-standard condiments. The burger had a skewer through it to transport it and there was a hush as it honed into view of our table. I had to eat two of the three patties separately as there was no way I could have eaten the burger at once. My late father would have been so proud of me! 
Service staff: very nice
Prices: good for food, not so much for booze
Toilets: clean, but a bit smelly
Patio: an up-and-over door onto Bloor Street West
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: two
Live music: no. Comedy on some Thursdays and trivia on Mondays
Piped-in music: modern

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

Black Horse

Black Horse
928 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON M6H 1L4 (on the north side, between Delaware Avenue and Concord Avenue, the nearest major intersection is Ossington Avenue and Bloor Street West) 416-531-9096
Google Maps

One of Toronto’s oldest pubs!

Established in 1892, the Black Horse pub looks like it has seen a lot over its long history. It reminded my drinking companion of a greasy spoon, which I must agree with as it had a rather worn look about it. Everything from the rounded arches to the mirrored bar reminded me of what a pub must have looked like in the ’70s. All that was missing was a thin haze of secondhand cigarette smoke.

We stumbled across the Black Horse as we were in Korea Town and decided it was pub time (but when is it ever not I hear you say). I had read somewhere that the Black Horse pub had a horse head protruding into the street, but that’s nowhere to be seen now and we almost walked by as that was what I was looking for. Inside, there are booths, tables and a couch in the back. The walls are covered with photographs of old Toronto, horseshoes, and equine-related paraphernalia, and the kitchen is exposed, which is always a good sign in my opinion.

Note, there is the Dark Horse, further along Bloor, and there is also a Black Horse pub in Mississauga.

Number of visits by yours truly: my first, but not my last, on a weekday afternoon in late December 2011
TTC information: just a block and a half west from Ossington Station
Booze selection: 12 beers and no cider! Zut alors! I don’t know why I even bothered to ask if they had Pimm’s. They didn’t
Food selection: rather limited with pasta and burgers. We had the large order of chicken wings, which was good, but the wings were small
Service staff: good, but rather shy
Prices: very reasonable
Toilets: the most cramped toilets I have been in since I was last in England. My knees touched the door
Patio: north and looked nice
Wheelchair accessible: no, a step up into the bar and steps to the toilet
Televisions: two
Live music: no
Piped-in music: light jazz on the radio

Rating: three pints (out of five)