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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Village Idiot

Village Idiot Pub (website)
126 McCaul Street, Toronto ON M5T 1W2 (on the northwest corner of Dundas Street West and McCaul Street side, the nearest major intersection is Dundas Street West and University Avenue) 416-597-1175
Google Maps

Mecca for the students of OCAD and for those who can’t find Sin & Redemption just to the north.

When I began this blog way back in January 2011, family and friends asked me if I was going to write negative reviews. I said that I would, but that I would try to stay away from places where I already knew the pub was not worth my time — or yours. One of these places was the Village Idiot. A few years ago I went there to have a pint while my better half went shopping nearby. I expected him to be gone about 20 minutes, enough time to order us both pints and get settled into a relaxing afternoon. I sat down and waited, and waited, and waited to be served. I eventually got up to leave. It was only then as I was gathering my belongings that the waitress finally spoke to me. I can’t remember what I said, but as I am not racked with guilt over it, I presume it wasn’t rude. I left and stood outside in the pouring rain waiting for my husband rather than sit in the Village Idiot a moment longer.

Fast forward to January 2012, I decided to give the Village Idiot one more try as I would like to be charitable and the pub was not an utter failure every time I had been there. When I entered, I was a little late, so when one of the staff came up to me, I said I was looking to see if my companion was already there. The fellow just walked away without waiting to see if I needed to be seated to wait for my companion. However, a minute later someone else came and asked if I would like a table and things went smoother from there.

The Village Idiot is very cramped, very noisy, and very dark at night. The walls are burgundy with gilded mouldings and a stuffed deer’s head looms over the bar. During the day, the pub is fairly well-lit by the garage door windows that are opened during the summer. Close to OCAD and to the AGO, this pub will do little to add to your recent cultural experiences.

Number of visits by yours truly: my fourth or fifth visit, most recently on a Friday night in early January 2012
TTC information: a five-minute walk west of St. Patrick. No point in waiting for a streetcar unless you are running early or want to be late
Booze selection: 37 beers, including Leffe Brune (his lordship’s favourite) and Blackthorn cider (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: my tongue was burned by the hot Cornish pasty and it was tender for several days. Their menu is online
Service staff: can be good, but can be terrible
Prices: student prices
Toilets: two stalls and a little cramped
Patio: no, but it does have glass garage doors that open in good weather
Wheelchair accessible: no, too crowded and there’s a step at the front
Televisions: none!
Live music: nope
Piped-in music: couldn’t hear as it was so loud

Rating: three pints (out of five)

Sin & Redemption

Sin & Redemption (website)
136 McCaul Street, Toronto ON M5T 1W2 (on the west side, between Dundas Street West and D’Arcy Street, the nearest major intersection is Dundas Street West and University Avenue) 416-640-9197
Google Maps

Your preferred destination for booze after taking in the delights of the AGO.

Sin & Redemption was the second stop on our most recent pub crawl. Planning the evening with our dear friend, he suggested the pub as he thought it might appeal to our tastes.

Benefitting from its proximity to the Art Gallery of Ontario and to OCAD, Sin & Redemption has two crowds, well-heeled gallery patrons and future professional artists. This dichotomy is reflected in the pub’s name, which likely has something to do with the overpowering view of the large Catholic church across the street. The pub has three sections, which seem to have their own separate personalities. We sat in the middle section in very comfortable chairs and drank in the dark wood everywhere (my visit notes mention that the floors were nice!). In the southern most room there are even a few very private spots that look almost like converted closets which seat only two and might be perfect as a first date spot.

Number of visits by yours truly: my first, but not my last, on a Saturday afternoon in September 2011
TTC information: a five-minute walk west of St. Patrick. No point in waiting for a streetcar unless you are running early or want to be late
Booze selection: 32 beers, including Leffe Brune (his lordship’s favourite) and Sir Perry cider (they have Pimm’s). They also have an extensive mixed drink list
Food selection: fancy end of pub grub, we got bread with our meal, which made it seem more restaurant than pub
Service staff: good, but made no conversation and seemed bereft of humour. (Update 2014.03.01: Our waiter, Adam, was damn good, friendly, and bent over backwards for my fellow diners and me, he is why Sin and Redemption now gets five out of five pints)
Prices: expensive
Toilets: downstairs with a lovely smell. Lot of paper towel dispensers (why?)
Patio: no, but the windows are large garage doors giving you a lot of fresh air (unless the wind is blowing in the secondhand smoke)
Wheelchair accessible: no
Televisions: no
Live music: no
Piped-in music: very, very nondescript. Lots of saxophones (ugh) and drums

Rating: five pints (out of five)

The Duke of Somerset

The Duke of Somerset (website, Twitter)
655 Bay Street, Toronto ON M5G 2K4 (on the east side, between Elm Street and Walton Street, the nearest major intersection is Bay Street and Dundas Street West) 416-640-0921
Google Maps

Great for a beer after work!  

My merry band and I have been going to the Duke of Somerset a lot lately to play PubStumpers. However, the latest season is now over and we have decided to rest on our laurels, so I won’t be going back for a while.

The Duke of Somerset has a very business-like crowd, not surprising given its location. It has a lot of booths, which is nice if you like booths, but if there are six of you, announcing you need to use the facilities results in a lot of bother. There are a few benches and chairs with movable tables, but these are few and far between. Keep this in mind if you have a huge group (ten or more), because the pub isn’t really designed for large gatherings. If you are sensitive to smoke, do not sit in the booth that is directly to your right as you walk in the main door. I had the misfortune to sit there once and had the second-hand smoke from the patio repeatedly wash over me.

Number of visits by yours truly: three dozen or so visits, most recently on a weekday evening in November 2011
TTC information: equidistant between Dundas Station and St. Patrick 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: like all Duke pubs it can be hit or miss. If you are lucky you might get Becky, who is very good!
Prices: expensive like all Duke pubs
Toilets: clean
Patio: large portico style on the west side of the building, so not a lot of direct sunlight
Wheelchair accessible: the pub itself is accessible through the office tower at 655 Bay Street, however, I don’t know if this building is open the same hours as the pub. I’d call ahead
Televisions: several, often showing the same sports show on multiple screens
Live music: Wednesdays
Piped-in music: Katy Perry and company

Rating: four pints (out of five)