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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Bedford Academy

Bedford Academy (website, Twitter)
36 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto ON M5R 1A9 (on the north side, between Avenue Road and Bedford Avenue, one block north of Bloor Street West) 416-921-4600
Google Maps 

The Bedford Academy could be a great pub, but settles on being a reasonable watering hole instead. 

Over the years, the Bedford Academy has benefitted from the poor service of the Duke of York. The Duke has a problem with some staff members’ attentiveness and bookings or rather lack thereof and as a result, I’ve gathered my belongings and moved across the street to the Bedford. For a while we went to the Bedford — which was close to my beloved’s old work place —  instead of the Duke, but, alas, service seems to be a problem for both establishments. I remember on at least one occasion being ignored at the Duke, going to the Bedford instead, and being ignored there too. (I was sober — could it have been the worst half hour of my life?) I’ve been to the Bedford enough times to know that I would rather go somewhere else.

However, focussing on the times I have been served at the Bedford Academy, I have enjoyed myself. The pub is in a huge old house sprawling over three floors (the top floor has a private party room) featuring soft orange lighting, olive-coloured walls, Art Nouveau chandeliers, and a European flavour. The seating inside is varied, although I have spent most of my hours on the enormous patio of the Bedford. The Bedford benefits from its close proximity to UofT with its clientele and is open until two seven nights a week.

Number of visits by yours truly: two dozen or more visits, most recently in June 2012
TTC information: St. George Station’s east exit, within stumbling distance
Booze selection: 19 beers on tap, including Strongbow cider. They also have lots of wine (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: lots of burgers and pastas
Service staff: good this visit 
Prices: reasonable for being so close to Yorkville
Toilets: clean
Patio: one of the larger patios (seats more than 180) in central Toronto, you’ve got a lot of selection of locations as the patio wraps around the building 
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: not as many as you might expect
Live music: no
Piped-in music: jazz and blues

Rating: three 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) 

The Duke of York Pub

The Duke of York Pub (website, Twitter)
39 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto ON M5R 1B2 (on the south side, between Avenue Road and Bedford Avenue, one block north of Bloor Street West and just west of Avenue Road) 416-964-2441
Google Maps

The Duke of York’s location makes it ideal for meeting with friends from across Toronto.

I have been to this pub more than a hundred times over the years, even though the service sucks. (My better half used to work nearby and I’m sticking to that story.) You can have a wonderful server one time, then another visit spend all evening trying to get the same person’s attention. I have walked out of there a few times having given up on being served. (I usually give them five minutes or so to acknowledge us, which I think is reasonable, and, yes, I do tip well and am quite easy to please and they have a greeter at the door who will seat you in an active section.) I have also dealt with the pub for special events for groups as large as 50 and the staff haven’t been as helpful as other places.

The Duke of York is a bit of a rabbit warren and the greeter can sometimes be confused as to reservations or what’s going on with the PubStumpers event. (PubStumpers usually starts forty minutes late, at eight-forty-ish, so we stopped going there as we were getting home so late.) If meeting someone there it’s a good idea to let the person know where you are in the pub as there are eight “rooms,” not including the patios and it can get busy. The pub has standard pub décor with “clans of Scotland” historical prints. A group of eight or more will find it hard to get a table without reservations, however, if your group size is four, practically every spot is tailored for you. The Duke of York is close to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum, and Yorkville.

Note, there is a Duke of York Tavern on Queen near Jones, so be clear when making plans with friends.

Number of visits by yours truly: 100 or more, most recently on a Tuesday night in February 2011
TTC information: St. George Station’s east exit, within stumbling distance
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: hit and miss, hence the less-than-great rating. I was there last night (2014.01.25) and I had to ask twice for the same glass of water, twice for butter for my haggis, and twice our waitress told me to “wait just a moment” as she dashed to serve other customers. She was nearly in tears, which I think is more a reflection of poor staffing levels than of poor staff. I’ve given them enough chances over the years, so I think I will take my wallet elsewhere from now on
Prices: expensive both in terms of booze and food, you go there for the location
Toilets: clean, you can hear the subway in the ladies’ washroom in the basement. They recently added a men’s to the top floor
Patio: south and north of building, the north one is quite small (I’ve never sat there), the south one in the back is surrounded by tall buildings, so don’t go for a suntan
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: quite a few, depending on where you sit you can be in an area where there are none
Live music: Thursdays in the Cellar
Piped-in music: standard ’80s/’90s

Rating: three pints (out of five) due to the poor service