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.

Grace O’Malley’s

Grace OMalleys Toronto

Grace O’Malley’s (website, Twitter)
14 Duncan Street, Toronto ON M5H 3G8 (at the intersection of Duncan Street and Pearl Street, where Ed Mirvish Way turns into Duncan Street, the nearest major intersection is University Avenue and King Street West) 416-596-1444
Google Maps 

A Maritime- and Irish-influenced pub in Toronto’s financial district.

As an avid theatre goer, I was surprised to learn of Grace O’Malley’s. I have spent a lot of time over the years finding a place to eat before attending something at the Princess of Wales or the Royal Alexandra Theatres or Roy Thomson Hall and in my research, I’d never stumbled across the pub. However, if you think this is a suitable place for a pre-theatre meal, then it might be a good idea to go somewhere else. The pub (named after an Irish heroine, but Maritime-themed) was loud, so very loud that I was straining to hear what my dining companions were saying and it’s not really designed for relaxing pre-theatre dining (however, our waitress did ask how long we were going to be as I expect she guessed we were seeing a nearby production and not staying for the band).

That said, Grace O’Malley’s draws its clientele from the financial district, it was very much an after-work crowd, full of business professionals, hence why it opens at four on the weekends. The pub has lots of stained glass partitions, tonnes of wood, including numerous barrels (why?), and a penchant for spelling Gracie’s without the apostrophe.

Number of visits by yours truly: first and last visit on a weekday evening in December 2012
TTC information: a five-minute walk north-west from St. Andrew Station, if you are coming from King Street, note Duncan Street is called Ed Mirvish Way from King Street East to Pearl Street
Booze selection: 13 beers with Strongbow cider (no Pimm’s)
Food selection:
traditional pub grub with good fish and chips
Service staff:
good
Prices: 
not bad
Toilets: 
good
Patio:
east-facing and tiny
Wheelchair accessible:
no way
Televisions: 
lots and all showing sports
Live music:
yes, most nights of the week. Check the website for details
Piped-in music:
not on

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

The Office Pub

The Office Pub (website, Twitter)
117 John Street, Toronto ON M5V 2E2 (on the east side, between Nelson Street and Adelaide Street West, the nearest major intersection is Richmond Street West and University Avenue) 416-977-1900
Google Maps 

Nightclub, karaoke bar, upscale bistro dining restaurant, or pub? Only you can decide. 

When I walked into the Office Pub, I thought I was in a nightclub. If your mission statement is in the name of your establishment, then why confuse the matter by appearing to be something else? Anyway, the nice chandeliers and fancy tables hidden in darkness belong more in a nightclub than in a pub, which is odd given the after-work crowd it draws upon.

The menu for the Office Pub was covered in errors — would you like an Alexandar Keiths or a chocoalate flourless cake? And the website has the wrong postal code. However, the food was good with decent portions, and the waitress was attentive and didn’t complain when we asked at the end of the evening for separate tabs. There is a large upstairs area that is more pub-like than downstairs, and a third-floor private party room. I think they need to pull up their socks given the competition next door — the Town Crier).

Number of visits by yours truly: my first on a weekday evening in September 2012
TTC information: a seven-minute walk west and south from Osgoode Station or west and north from St. Andrew Station
Booze selection: 28 beers including Strongbow cider in bottles and Somersby cider on tap (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: lots of interesting poutines and pubby foods (the menus are available online)
Service staff: very good
Prices: good for food, expensive for beer (the menu did not list prices for the beer and had they done so, I would have stopped sooner than I did)
Toilets: not bad, but given the size of place, one ladies is not enough
Patio: west-facing Hooters and apparently in the back, but I didn’t see that one
Wheelchair accessible: nope
Televisions: three in our section and all showing sports
Live music: sometimes on Mondays, karaoke three nights a week and stand-up comedy sometimes
Piped-in music: Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, George Michael

Rating: four pints (out of five) 

The Town Crier

The Town Crier (website)
115 John Street, Toronto ON M5V 2E2 (on the east side, between Nelson Street and Adelaide Street West, the nearest major intersection is Richmond Street West and University Avenue) 416-204-9588
Google Maps

A delightful pub close to Queen Street West and the Theatre District!

I must admit I have become a little jaded when it comes to pubs, which is not surprising given my mandate to seek out new pubs and new taverns, to boldly go where no TorontoPubs blogger has gone before, and to report weekly. I am starting to visit pubs I have previously avoided as it feels a little like I am running out of unreviewed pubs. So it’s rather nice to go to a new pub and feel a little of that ol’ pub sparkle.

The Town Crier was better than expected for a number of reasons apart from my check list below — dark red walls with gilt crown mouldings, dark wood panelling, lovely light fixtures, and (warm) leatherette chairs. The only criticisms I have of the pub, apart from the situation in the ladies’ toilet (see below), is that the tables are very small, so that it felt a little cramped and that there is no air conditioning, however, they have tonnes of fans, so they do their best to make their patrons comfortable. We will be back.

Note, this pub is owned by the same people who run the Village Idiot Pub and Sin & Redemption and there is a large upstairs area, which can be reserved as a private party room.

Number of visits by yours truly: my first, but not my last on a weekday evening in September 2012
TTC information: a seven-minute walk west and south from Osgoode Station or west and north from St. Andrew Station
Booze selection: almost 100 beers from around the world, including Leffe Brune and four ciders — Somersby, Thornby, Sir Perry, and Blackthorn (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: German focus with a twist (which was rather nice for my better half who had just come from the Fatherland and was pining for the cuisine)
Service staff: very good
Prices: not bad for the size of the servings
Toilets: unfortunately, the toilets were very messy on my most recent visit (2012.11.11). The ladies’ toilet stall on the outside wall might be best to avoid when the window is open as the person using the stall might give a show to the people who live across the way. Just saying…
Patio: west-facing Hooters, for some this might be considered a bonus
Wheelchair accessible: nope
Televisions: none
Live music: nope
Piped-in music: Feist, Neil Young

Rating: five pints (out of five) 

OverDraught Irish Pub

The OverDraught Irish Pub (website, Twitter)
156 Front Street West, Toronto ON M5J 2L6 (on the north side, between University Avenue and Simcoe Street, downstairs from Joe Badali’s, the nearest major intersection is Front Street West and University Avenue) 416-408-3925
Google Maps

Could this be the most romantic pub in Toronto? 

Near the Princess of Wales and the Royal Alexandra theatres, and within sneezing distance of Roy Thomson Hall, the OverDraught Irish Pub is a delight! I was late for my luncheon date there as I could have sworn the OverDraught was on King instead of Front, then, once inside, I walked straight past my friend as she was ensconced in a corner. This pub has several ideal spots for first dates and when I mentioned this to our waitress she informed us that in the five years she had been working there that 10 couples who had their first dates at the pub were now married or in serious relationships as they came back to the OverDraught to celebrate their first-date anniversaries. Those aren’t odds to sniff at! (By the way, the timing of this posting, being the day before St. Valentine’s Day, is pure coincidence.) The privacy is created by jutting bookshelves, and well-placed tables and chairs. The pub also has a fireplace and a spot called the library, how much sexier can you get?

My friend ordered the ploughman’s lunch, which she said tasted mouldy. She brought this to the attention of our waitress who removed the item from the bill and was very nice about it. Plus, when I was chatting to my friend recently, she said she would go back to the OverDraught despite what happened as it was such a nice pub. (I think I had the fish and chips, all I recall was that I enjoyed my meal with no complaints or ill effects afterwards.)

Note, the website says to call about Sunday opening hours.

Number of visits by yours truly: my first, but not my last, on a weekday afternoon in January 2012
TTC information: equidistant between St. Andrew and Union Stations
Booze selection: 12 beers, including Strongbow cider. They also have a number of whiskys. My companion said that they had an “un-pub-like focus on cocktails” (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: fancy end of pub grub, the menu is online and a little hard to read. I know pubs love to go for the all-Irish look, but when the font is difficult to read, you have gone a step too far
Service staff: very good and friendly
Prices: a little expensive, but you are in the heart of the theatre district
Toilets: very nice
Patio: nope
Wheelchair accessible: no, it’s downstairs
Televisions: seven
Live music: Thursdays and Saturdays
Piped-in music: Killers, Mr. Bowie, Arcade Fire

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

The Duke of Devon

The Duke of Devon (website, Twitter)
66 Wellington Street West, Toronto ON M5K 1H1 (the patio is on the north side, between York Street and Bay Street; the pub is downstairs and is accessible through the Toronto PATH, near the Toronto-Dominion Centre) 416-642-3853
Google Maps

Open only during the week? Pity!  

First of all, I apologise for the above photograph of the Duke of Devon Pub. This one is even from my second attempt as the first batch of photographs were all bad upon closer inspection. I would have taken a photograph of the patio, but it was a chilly day and I didn’t want readers to think the patio was empty on sunny days.

The Duke of Devon is quite large downstairs including the private rooms, which were open during my recent visit. The clientele is very professional (surprise, surprise!) in appearance, however, when looking at other people’s reviews of the pub, a lot of them mention the attractiveness of the waitresses. (Wolves in sheep’s clothing, it would seem.) Another good point was raised in that the pub doesn’t have a personality, it’s fine for lunch, but I wouldn’t take a date here. The pub has lots of booths, along with the standard tables and chairs. One thing to keep in mind is that there are no windows to the outside world as it’s underground, so it might seem a bit claustrophobic for some, despite the size of the venue.

In case you are downtown on a weekend and pinning for a pint, don’t bother with the Duke of Devon, as it’s closed! (We found out the hard way.)

Number of visits by yours truly: two or three, most recently on a weekday in September 2011
TTC information: equidistant between King Station, Union Station and St. Andrew 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: friendly
Prices: expensive like all Duke pubs
Toilets: clean
Patio: upstairs, very large, and south-facing, but hardly any sunshine due to the skyscrapers
Wheelchair accessible: the pub itself is accessible through the Toronto PATH; the patio is too crowded for mobility
Televisions: seven!
Live music: “sometimes on the patio”
Piped-in music: Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, The Clash

Rating: four pints (out of five)