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.

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The Firkin On Yonge

Firkin on Yonge Toronto

The Firkin On Yonge (website, Twitter)
207 Yonge Street, Toronto ON M5B 2H1 (on the east side, between Queen Street and Shuter Street, the nearest major intersection is Queen Street and Yonge Street) 647-345-0455
Google Maps

Is this really a pub?

The Firkin On Yonge is the brightest pub I have ever been in! Blindingly white walls! They also don’t have cider. I don’t know if they are being ironic, but having a picture of stick-thin Twiggy on a place that serves food doesn’t really inspire confidence.

The Firkin On Yonge is a relatively new pub (it opened in the spring of 2012), but it has a built-in reputation as part of the Firkin pub chain — so too many televisions, limited menu, and regular beer selection — but there’s more to pubs than that! The pub is long and narrow (it has an exit on the alleyway near Massey Hall). Downstairs, they have a long bar and lots of booths and upstairs can be a private party room. Apparently, the place attracts a business crowd during the day, despite the fact that they are across the street from the Eaton Centre.

When asking my better half for his thoughts on the Firkin On Yonge, he said that he had nothing to add, it left no impression. Considering the location, you’d think they would at least try, but with substandard service, no cider, and no atmosphere, I really would go anywhere else but here.

Number of visits by yours truly: first and last visit on a Saturday afternoon in March 2013. Second pub of the day!
TTC information: just north of Queen Station
Booze selection: 24 beers, but no cider! (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: standard Firkin pub grub with lots of sandwiches and wraps
Service staff: not good, our server was too busy and it appears we aren’t the only ones who have noticed the harried servers. When we got our change back from our bill, our server gave us back two dollars too much, when I politely pointed this out to her, all she said was “okay”
Prices: standard Firkin prices, not expensive, but not cheap
Toilets: downstairs and clean enough
Patio: 
tiny smoking patio on Yonge
Wheelchair accessible: 
yes, they even have an elevator
Televisions: 
lots and lots
Live music: 
apparently they do have live music, but I could see no promotion of it
Piped-in music: 
Muse, Depeche Mode, and Tom Petty

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

McVeigh’s New Windsor Tavern

McVeigh’s New Windsor Tavern (website)
124 Church Street, Toronto ON M5C 2G8 (on the southeast corner of Richmond Street East and Church Street, the nearest major intersection is Yonge and Queen Streets) 416-364-9698
Google Maps

Nothing like a review of a bad pub to remind you why you started this blog in the first place! 

You know you don’t feel welcomed when an old man comes up to you when you enter a pub and says “Are you with the group upstairs?” No pleasantries, no smile. If I was with the group upstairs, I’d be with the group upstairs! I decided to check out the toilet and the same old man appeared like an apparition and asks me why I going downstairs. I said I wanted to use the ladies’ and he says they weren’t there. No pleasantries, no smile, no directions. I turned around and went back to my seat wondering why they didn’t have a ladies’ (you never know). It was only when I was re-seated that I saw the grumpy old man staring at me and waving me towards the back of the pub. I ignored him and then saw him shake his head at me. I later shifted over to see that there was a ladies’, hidden by all the pillars. If you can’t see the ladies’ toilet from where you are sitting because there are pillars in the way you assume that the ladies’ is where the men’s is. I never did bother to go.

Fortunately, my knight in shining armour had seen the Beer Academy (reopening soon!) on the way to McVeigh’s, and seeing what a disappointment McVeigh’s was for me, he suggested we go there sometime. I said why don’t we go tonight and so we did and had a lovely time instead. I will never ever go back to McVeigh’s and if this post convinces one other person to go somewhere else instead I will have considered my half-hour visit there not wasted. (My knight in shining armour had no problem with the pub, but he can be easier going than I can be sometimes.)

Number of visits by yours truly: first and last visit in November 2012
TTC information: a two-minute walk from Queen Station
Booze selection: 7 beers (that ain’t a typo) and Magners cider (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: on a blackboard (that had serious glare on it) with a bare bones selection. The poutine was good
Service staff: our waitress was nice, but the old man needs to learn how to interact with the public
Prices: we learned after we ordered that the poutine was $10 on the bill as the bare bones menu did not feature prices
Toilets: unknown, but apparently the men’s is the toilet that time forgot
Patio: tiny patio on Church Street
Wheelchair accessible: nope
Televisions: two, one was turned off
Live music: yes, several nights a week
Piped-in music: Juice Newton and Lionel Richie

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

The Duke of Richmond Pub

The Duke of Richmond Pub (website, Twitter)
20 Queen Street West, Toronto ON M5H 3R3 (on the east side, just west of Yonge Street, with the main entrance one block over on James Street) 416-340-7887
Google Maps

Great for watching local politicians or getting a bite to eat before a play.

I love going to plays, ballet productions, and the opera, so I have been to the Duke of Richmond a number of times over the years as it has a great location. It’s near the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Canon Theatre), and Massey Hall, as well as the Eaton Centre and City Hall. One evening, while on my way to see South Pacific, I saw then mayor David Miller at a nearby table.

This pub, like many in the downtown core, can get crowded and the Duke of Richmond is no exception. Like many of the other Duke pubs, service can be hit and miss. A few months ago, I e-mailed to make a reservation using their internet reservation system and no one got back to me. However, another time I called as my husband had lost a treasured fountain pen, and we thought it might be at the Duke of Richmond. That time the person who answered the phone was very helpful, and, yes, we eventually did found the pen at home.

This is one of the nicer pubs in terms of décor, which is standard Duke pub style. If you are a large group you might have problems finding seating even at the quietest of times as so many of the seating arrangements are booths. However, two of the last times I was there, there were large groups at the back, so the pub might be able to accommodate your needs, if you happen to get someone helpful on the telephone.

Number of visits by yours truly: a dozen or so, most recently on a Saturday afternoon in February
TTC information: Queen Station, take the south exit to Queen Street West, then follow the sidewalk west around the corner to James Street
Booze selection: standard Duke pub selection of approximately 30 beers, including Strongbow and Bulmers ciders. Yes, they have Pimm’s!
Food selection: standard pub grub
Service staff: pleasant, but you can wait for service sometimes, which is annoying if you have a play starting shortly
Prices: expensive like all Duke pubs, but we’re talking tourist/politician/shopping central
Toilets: rather fancy
Patio: on the street facing west, with a lovely view of Old City Hall, however, that building blocks most of the sun in the afternoon
Wheelchair accessible: yes and no, it seems to be wheelchair accessible through the office building that the pub is attached to, but the office building was closed when I was there on a weekend and we couldn’t exit through it, even though the entrance from the pub to the office building was unlocked. I’d call ahead
Televisions: yes, three were visible from where I was sitting
Live music: no
Piped-in music: standard ’80s.

Rating: four pints (out of five)