TorontoPubs’ St. Lawrence Market Pub Crawl

https://goo.gl/maps/3ydcD5ceQXR2

Updated: 2017.01.17

Notes on this pub crawl: the walk (0.6 km) takes about eight minutes in total. Keep in mind that the Jason George pub is the weakest link in this crawl, so you might just want to skip it and C’est What is just too hip for its own good. TTC directions back to the subway are available on each pub’s individual review.

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’ St. Lawrence Market Pub Crawl with map.

Scotland Yard (TorontoPubs review)
56 The Esplanade

Bier Markt (Esplanade) (TorontoPubs review)
58 The Esplanade

C’est What (TorontoPubs review)
67 Front Street East

The Flatiron and Firkin (TorontoPubs review)
49 Wellington Street East

The Jersey Giant (TorontoPubs review)
71 Front Street East

The Jason George (TorontoPubs review)
104 Front Street East

Unfortunately, this pub crawl is not wheelchair accessible.

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.

Watermark Irish Pub and Restaurant

Watermark Pub Toronto

Watermark Irish Pub and Restaurant (website, Twitter)
207 Queens Quay West, Toronto ON M5J 1A7 (inside Queen’s Quay Terminal) 416-214-2772
Google Maps

A pleasant way to enjoy a pint on Toronto’s waterfront.

The first to greet us at the Watermark Pub were the pigeons that sneak in when the pub is empty and everyone is on the patio admiring the view. We sat near a lovely fireplace, with comfy seats and interesting prints on the wall. The Watermark is one of the largest pubs in Toronto and that doesn’t include its huge patios. The Watermark Pub has mixed online reviews, sometimes the service is good, sometimes not, the food is also hit and miss, with not a lot of selection. They apparently have a tiny kitchen, so you might arrive and be unable to eat as the kitchen is more than an hour behind with food orders. (The toilets are also small.) With a pub that large in such an ideal location, you have to plan accordingly, this could be a great pub, but it needs a larger kitchen and more staff. You can’t skimp on service!

The Watermark is a sister pub to the Brazen HeadMurphy’s LawPogue Mahone, and the Foggy Dew so if you like them, you’ll like this one. However, this one seems to be a weak link the chain, so don’t go in with high expectations.

Number of visits by yours truly: first, but not my last, on a weekend afternoon in July 2013
TTC information: according to the TTC, the quickest way to the Watermark from Yonge and Bloor, which is always the place I use as a start point for this blog, is taking the Bay bus south, which is a 23-minute ride. I would suggest walking from Union Station, but Google Maps won’t cooperate and let me work out how long it would take. I estimate 10 minutes, give or take traffic and/or construction
Booze selection: 30 beers, including Magners, Thornberry, and Somersby ciders (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: not a lot of choice. The menu is online
Service staff: friendly
Prices: expensive
Toilets: clean and tidy, but only two (I seem to recall) stalls in the ladies’ for a huge pub
Patio: east and south, facing onto the Toronto Islands
Wheelchair accessible: apparently, but the toilet entrance is very small, so I would be hesitant
Televisions: three in our section
Live music: “on the patio sometimes”
Piped-in music: U2, the Cult, Chicago, Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” (which was cut off halfway to play crap and I heard someone howling like a dog from the bowels of the kitchen)

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

Bier Markt (Esplanade)

Bier Markt (Esplanade) (website, Twitter)
58 The Esplanade, Toronto ON M5E 1R2 (on the north side, between Church Street and Scott Street) 416-862-7575
Google Maps 

Surrounded by other booze holes, the Bier Markt manages to stand apart. 

For some reason I have avoided going to the Bier Markt chain (there’s one on King West and another in the Shops at Don Mills) since starting this blog. The Bier Markt doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi that proper pubs have (I still haven’t distilled what that is), but it is a decent place for a pint as the extensive beer list is what sets it apart and it does take one’s breath away. Perhaps my avoidance has been because I know that most of my readers already know about it.

We went to the Bier Markt (Esplanade) as we were going to a wedding at the St. Lawrence Hall that afternoon and decided to celebrate before the celebrations began. The Bier Markt suffers a bit from an identity crisis, the front looks like a fancy restaurant, but there is an area at the back has huge speakers that would not look out of place at a concert. These said speakers are in front of a 16th-century mural (Pieter Bruegel’s The Peasant Dance), so that adds to the confusion. The tables are covered in white dining cloths with candles, but there are wooden benches for large groups. Plus, it’s dark, almost suspiciously so, however, I found the place to be clean and precise in its execution.

Number of visits by yours truly: my first on a Saturday afternoon in July 2012
TTC information:
equidistant from Union and King, one block south of Front after passing Yonge Street
Booze selection:
well over 100 beers from around the world, with a focus on Belgian beers. As always with a selection this large, be prepared for a back-up order as they might be out of your first choice. For those who are cider drinkers, they have Thornbury, Somersby, Sir Perry, Blackthorn, Rekorderlig and Rekorderlig elderflower (no Pimm’s)
Food selection:
okay 
Service staff:
slow, I actually started to get nervous that we would miss the wedding ceremony as our waitress kept disappearing. This news story about the front-of-house female staff having to wear skimpy outfits might be something to keep in mind. Yes, they changed the policy, but they still had it and enforced it until people complained. I am not impressed with sexism with my booze  
Prices:
 expensive for the most part, but look where you are. However, it is cheaper for some beers
Toilets:
good
Patio:
south and quite large
Wheelchair accessible:
yes
Televisions:
two in our section
Live music:
 Thursdays to Sundays, check the website for details
Piped-in music:
can’t remember — sorry

Rating: four 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)

C’est What

C’est What (website, Twitter)
67 Front Street East, Toronto ON M5E 1B5 (on the southeast corner of Front Street East and Church Street) 416-867-9499
Google Maps 

So hip it hurts. 

I went to C’est What for the first time way back in the last century. I thought it was a wonderful pub as it was right downtown, in a cellar, and was so cool with its cozy nooks and low lighting. C’est What is still in that same downtown cellar, but to my now world-weary eyes, the veneer is a little worn.

Today, C’est What has art for sale displayed on the walls, an aquarium, several fireplaces, pool tables, and there was a whiff of vanilla. However, the night that the YUPCA (York University Pub Crawl Committee) bestowed a visit upon the establishment there was no toilet paper in the ladies, it was too loud, and it was very, very crowded. Our group of five was seated at a table right against one of the support columns and because of the over-sized art on the nearby walls, we couldn’t really fit around the table properly, which didn’t make for a relaxing visit. According to online reviews, large groups have had a difficult time finding a spot and the staff don’t make it easy.

Number of visits by yours truly: three or four times, most recently on a Friday night in January 2012
TTC information: equidistant from Union and King Stations, no point in taking the streetcar unless you are running early 
Booze selection:
a section of more than 30 Canadian-only mircobrews, with a whisky and wine menu (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: decent menu
Service staff: looking at a number of other online reviews, apparently the service can be awful. We had a good waiter who met with our drinking companions’ high standards of having a nice package
Prices: not bad
Toilets: terrible! There was no toilet paper in the ladies. I took off half a pint (see below) for that gaffe
Patio: no patio
Wheelchair accessible: certainly not!
Televisions: no televisions
Live music: several nights a week, see their events page for details
Piped-in music: rock, I think. It was loud, too loud

Rating: three pints (out of five) 

Scotland Yard

Scotland Yard (website, Twitter)
56 The Esplanade, Toronto ON M5E 1A6 (on the north side, between Church Street and Scott Street) 416-364-6572
Google Maps 

Great for a pint after returning to Toronto VIA (get it?) GO Transit. 

I expect like many people, I first went to Scotland Yard Pub when I took a wrong turn after coming out of the toilets at the Old Spaghetti Factory many years ago. There I stood a little bewildered, a little bemused, as I was suddenly in a different place from where I expected to be. Fortunately, all was not lost and your heroine managed to get back to her date and meal, but not before noting that there a pub nearby and all was right with the world!

Like the Old Spaghetti Factory, there’s lots of stained glass, 1920s posters, paintings, and old photographs in the Scotland Yard pub. The pub also has two dart boards and a library nook that is raised by several steps, which might not be as private as first thought as it is the access to the storage area and so we saw several barrels of beer being carted by us during the course of our luncheon. For those curious, Scotland Yard is probably the closest pub to the downtown GO bus station, so if you’ve just missed your bus, you could go there for a quick pint.

Number of visits by yours truly: third or fourth visit, most recently on a weekday afternoon in October 2011
TTC information: equidistant from Union and King, one block south of Front after passing Yonge Street
Booze selection: 13 beers, including Blackthorn and Peelers ciders (no Pimm’s)
Food selection: limited, but if you are craving a meal, then a pint, you have the Old Spaghetti Factory right next door
Service staff: very friendly
Prices: decent
Toilets: clean and lots and lots of stalls as it shares the facilities with the Old Spaghetti Factory
Patio: not at the moment due to construction on the Esplanade
Wheelchair accessible: yes, as you can see from the photograph there is a load of construction at the moment, so the pub is accessible, but the sidewalk probably isn’t
Televisions: five and three showing Buzztime Trivia
Live music: nope
Piped-in music: the Bata Band and company

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