Crown and Dragon

crown-and-dragon-toronto

Crown and Dragon (website, Twitter)
890 Yonge Street, Toronto ON M4W 3P4 (on the west side, between Church Street and Frichot Avenue, the nearest intersection is Yonge Street and Davenport Road) 416-927-7976
Google Maps

Canadian Basement Gothic.

Crown and Dragon (they seem to dislike the definite article) has been on my radar for a number of years, but I’ve always kept on walking as it doesn’t really seem that inviting and given its location, it’s more the destination than a drop-in spot. (It’s also beside the prettiest facade in all of Toronto — the former Ridpath’s, the facade is being partially retained in the building’s next reincarnation.) The patio for (the) Crown and Dragon is cramped, the televisions all show sports, there is a faint leakage from the Yorkville crowd, it’s loud, and it’s a lads’ pub. That said, I did go back to Crown and Dragon and I will go there again if I happen to be thirsty and nearby.

There seemed to be a lot of regulars and a cacophony of cackling hags the first evening we went to (the) Crown and Dragon. There is a variety of seating in the pseudo basement-styled pub, with benches and movable tables, and high-top tables, and its dartboards, but it’s crowded or cramped depending on the time of day. However, Crown and Dragon’s claim towards “the art of pub” (again, missing the definite article) is a bit pompous for a place that isn’t that inviting and lacking a wide selection of drinks, more like the art of basement bar.

Number of visits by yours truly: two visits, most recently on a weekday afternoon in December 2016
TTC information: a four-minute walk north from Bloor-Yonge Station or a six-minute walk south of Rosedale
Booze selection: 11 beers including Strongbow cider (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: this pub is known for its wings and lays claim to “Toronto’s Best Wings”. (We were not impressed with the wings, but we are in the minority.) These said wings are available in unusual flavors, such as Classic Coke, Foghorn Leghorn, Bloody Mary, and Killer Bee. They also have other pub classics on their menu
Service staff: a bit negligent
Prices: expensive
Toilets: clean, but cobwebs on the ceiling and a bit scary around the toilet near the floor. Apparently the men’s has the sports page pinned next to the urinal
Patio: rather small, east and on Yonge Street
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: six, all showing sports
Live music: nope
Piped-in music: Virgin Radio

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

The Quail (A Firkin Pub)

The Quail Toronto

The Quail (A Firkin Pub) (website, Twitter)
1055 Yonge Street, Toronto ON M4W 2L2 (on the east side between Rowanwood Avenue and Roxborough Street East, the nearest major intersection is Yonge Street and Alymer Avenue) 416-962-0782
Google Maps

A quiet pub suitable for a pint after the rigours of the day. 

I’ve been to the Quail (and Firkin, which it dropped a while ago) several times since I began this blog way back in January 2011, however, I could just never get worked up enough to do a TorontoPubs review. The pub review sheet for the Quail would be relegated to the bottom of the pile again and again until I felt that I couldn’t remember enough even with my notes to give a fair judgement of the place. So I would recycle the Quail review and dream of other pubs. I had someone ask me recently why I hadn’t reviewed the Quail as it’s pretty much in the heart of Toronto, so I thought I should try one last time, just for you, my dear reader. However, it’s taken me two months to write the review. I guess Firkin pubs are rather boring for this jaded reviewer. They’re too predictable and too corporate.

As a re-branded Firkin pub, the Quail has the Cool Britannia (that’s so 1997) style down pat with pseudo punk embellishments, Union Jacks galore, London Tube signs, and various things that scream “God Save the Queen!”. The Quail has a raised seating area at the back that can comfortably seat eight with a sofa and fancy chairs. There’s a pool table right at the back and a mixture of seating including stools with backs, which always worry me if I know I am going to be enjoying my company and booze that night. Large groups won’t have trouble getting seats together unless it’s prime pub time. I can see this pub being a popular summer one with its patio, but summer in Toronto is all too fleeting.

Number of visits by yours truly: my third or fourth visit, most recently on a weekday afternoon in May 2015
TTC information: just a block and a half north of Rosedale Station
Booze selection: about 20 beers or so, including Somersby apple and blackberry, and Brickworks cider (they have Pimm’s)
Food selection: standard Firkin pub grub with lots of sandwiches and wraps
Service staff: friendly
Prices: standard Firkin prices
Toilets: not bad
Patio: west-facing on Yonge
Wheelchair accessible: yes, except for the raised seating/pool table area at the back
Televisions: nine televisions
Live music: probably not given that it’s so open and part of a building
Piped-in music: James, The Who, The Cure, Oasis, Phil Collins

Rating: four pints (out of five)

TorontoPubs’ Midtown Yonge Street Pub Crawl

https://goo.gl/maps/uNkNN34KdZn

Updated: 2017.01.17

Notes on this pub crawl: the walk (2.2 km) takes about half an hour in total or you can take the subway and hop on and off as all of these pubs are close to TTC stations. Keep in mind that the Rebel House is small and that the Monk’s Table is a little posh.

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.

Printable PDF of this TorontoPubs’ Midtown Yonge Street Pub Crawl with map with map.

The Rebel House (TorontoPubs review)
1068 Yonge Street

Wylie’s Pub (TorontoPubs review)
1234A Yonge Street

The Monk’s Table (TorontoPubs review)
1276 Yonge Street

Jester on Yonge (TorontoPubs review)
1427 Yonge Street

The Bull and Firkin (TorontoPubs review)
1835 Yonge Street

Fionn MacCool’s (TorontoPubs review)
1867 Yonge Street

Unfortunately, this pub crawl is not wheelchair accessible.

The Rebel House

The Rebel House (website, Twitter)
1068 Yonge Street, Toronto ON M4W 2L4 (on the west side, between Gibson Avenue and Roxborough Avenue West, the nearest intersection is Yonge Street and Alymer Avenue) 416-927-0704
Google Maps

The place to go for tourists (and their hosts) who want to try a truly Canadian pub.

I’ve been coming to the Rebel House for years because it’s convenient and it’s good. I remember one time ordering a wild boar dish, loving it so much that I ordered it again and had seconds then and there! Alas, I don’t think they have that item anymore, but that might be a good thing. I like the food a lot, so when we did a three-part pub crawl in early July 2011, I suggested that we eat at the Rebel House as I was sure our meal would not disappoint. The Rebel House is located in an old building that was likely around during the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, which the pub is named in honour. The pub’s logo of the hanged man probably commemorates Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews, who were both hanged for their parts in the Rebellion of 1837.

The pub’s seating is very cramped, but that’s my only complaint (perhaps it would not be so cramped if I didn’t order seconds!). The walls are covering with horns of deceased beasties, Krieghoff prints, mirrors, and old etchings. They have a lovely stained glass sign upstairs in the window.

Update 2014.03.21: I tried to make a reservation for 16 people upstairs on a Saturday afternoon and they don’t take reservations. Fine, but when I explained that I wanted the upstairs for a sewing group, I was informed that I would have to rent the entire floor and pay $3,000. I nearly hung up on the server. Some places need to take themselves a little less seriously.

Number of visits by yours truly: a dozen or so, most recently on a Saturday night in early July 2011
TTC information: Rosedale Station. The pub is northwest of the insertion from Rosedale Station, however, you don’t want to crossed north and then west as the intersection only allows pedestrian crossing on the south side, which is annoying and dangerous
Booze selection: more than 30 in bottles and on draught, including Waupoos cider (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: local (i.e. Canadian) in focus, with meals featuring elk, moose, and buffalo, and barley risotto. They also have pickled eggs! (The menu is online)
Service staff: very good
Prices: expensive, but I think you get your money’s worth
Toilets: very cramped in the basement. There is a unisex toilet upstairs that is a little better
Patio: west and very nice with heating lamps and a parachute cover to protect patrons from the blazing sun
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: we were sitting outside, I think there is one over the bar
Live music: nope
Piped-in music: we were sitting outside so there was no music

Rating: five pints (out of five)