The Madison Avenue

The Madison Avenue (website, Twitter)
14 Madison Avenue, Toronto ON M5R 2S1 (on the east side, between Bloor Street East and Lowther Street, the nearest major intersection is Bloor Street West and Spadina Avenue) 416-927-1722
Google Maps

Your frat home away from home.

Ah, the Madison, or as some call it, the Maddy: a labyrinth of rooms entwining three Victorian houses together, poor service, and more pretty young things than a cougar would know what to do with. I went to the Madison with a friend who arrived early and was “kicked out” of the downstairs part as it didn’t open until nine (there were no signs) and then apparently sat for 20 minutes upstairs before being acknowledged by our waitress only moments before I arrived. Our waitress was pleasant, but it seemed there wasn’t quite enough servers for the crowds. And it was crowded! Almost dangerously so, and it was only seven when we left. I think my friend and I were the eldest people in the Madison by the time we managed to squeeze our way to the exit.

The Madison has pool tables that are poorly located next to the toilets making the facilities difficult to access as you politely wait for people to take their shots. There are dart boards, fireplaces, and interiors in the British style (meaning interior glass, velvet seats, etc.). The pub, located in the heart of the Annex, is open every day of the year and until two at night! Perhaps if I were in my early twenties, I would be in love with the Madison, instead I entrust this establishment to future generations of budding pub lovers as I probably won’t be back.

Number of visits by yours truly: second or third visit, most recently on a Friday afternoon in April 2012
TTC information: just a minute east from Spadina Station
Booze selection: 20 or so beers, including Magners cider (no Pimm’s). The website claims 150 draft taps, so those beers must have multiple taps
Food selection: no surprises
Service staff: see above for my friend’s adventures
Prices: reasonable
Toilets: very cramped
Patio: west-facing and rooftop, apparently it works out to five different patios on various levels
Wheelchair accessible: no way
Televisions: not as many as you’d expect, but we were in a quiet spot. According to the website, the pub has more than 50 televisions
Live music: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, starting at ten
Piped-in music: not on when we were there

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

Selynn’s Regal Beagle

Selynn’s Regal Beagle 
335 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON M5S 1W7 (on the south side, between St. George Street and Huron Street) 416-591-6859
Google Maps

Consider staying on the long and winding road to another watering hole. 

I’ve walked by the Regal Beagle hundreds of times as it’s on the same block as the Bata Shoe Museum, near the Royal Ontario Museum, and just north of the University of Toronto. However, it was only recently that I stopped in for a pint. I was pleasantly surprised, however, it seems that my experience was unusual. I should caution my reader (only one subscriber so far, but that’s better than none!) that a large of number of the reviews for the Regal Beagle — which might ring a bell as the neighbourhood pub of Three’s Company fame — are negative. According to reviews of the pub on the internet I have read, the draft beers are flat and tasteless, the nachos minimal, and the fries awful.

The Regal Beagle was rather quiet that afternoon with only a handful of customers, including a regular at the bar, but I guess that had more to do with the time of day than anything else. The pub has a large party room at the back, which is for rent. The pub has lots of booths, most for parties of four and has a digital jukebox.

Number of visits by yours truly: first visit, on a Saturday afternoon in September 2011
TTC information: equidistant between St. George Station and Spadina Station
Booze selection: 10 beers and Strongbow cider — or as our waitress called it, Wrongbow — in a can and a number of mixed drinks (no Pimm’s, sniff)
Food selection: straightforward pub grub with burgers and sandwiches, I had the shepherd’s pie, which I thought was rather good
Service staff: very polite and very friendly
Prices: very reasonable, but you are very close to the University of Toronto
Toilets: not bad
Patio: north facing
Wheelchair accessible: wheelchair might not fit entrance as there is a concrete planter and an iron fence on the patio which narrows the entrance considerably
Televisions: two over the bar, one at the back
Live music: nope
Piped-in music: Beatles all the time (but could be a lot worse)

Rating: three pints (out of five)