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The Dock Ellis

Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Jen Hunter / November 18, 2013

The Dock Ellis launched this week at Dundas and Dovercourt, in a neighbourhood already populated with an abundance of watering holes. Amidst a glut of hip joints full of craft cocktails and DJs, Andrew Kaiser and Callum Woods (The Emmet Ray) have teamed with friend Alain Pitout to build a sports bar that caters to those who love sports, but not the spots you'd traditionally be forced to head to in order to enjoy them.

Named after the star pitcher, infamous for throwing a no-hitter whilst high on acid (who also had a custom-built hat to incorporate the hair curlers he liked to wear on the mound), Andrew and company have fused the traditional "screens-behind-the-bar" aesthetic with communal tables and a number of gaming options (such as foosball and pool tables) towards the back. On the way to the bathroom is a running scoreboard for the Backyard Axe Throwing League (Alain and Callum are members).

The food is also a major consideration here: Trish Gill (formerly of Beast) and sous chef Mat Gulyas are turning out sophisticated bar snacks. After 10pm, the food can be collected directly from the hatch, eschewing the reliance on traditional waiter service as The Dock turns into a late night watering hole more befitting of the area.

The food stays around the $10 mark, leaving us with far cheaper options than is otherwise offered along the nearby Ossington strip. Alain's South African influence shines through in the classic Springbok snack, Biltong (a spiced jerky). Otherwise the sandwiches (all $10) are served with homemade crisps and pickles, and include the now ubiquitous (across this city at least) southern-style flour-dredged fried chicken thigh (with Sriracha ranch sauce) sandwich, and a sausage 'n' egg option.

The milk buns are from nearby OMG bakery, and almost steal the show. However, it was the nachos with beef brisket ($10), that gave us a really pleasant surprise. Topped with herb salad, pico de gallo / salsa blend, and crema, it's served on wontons instead of tortilla chips - they stay crispy until the last bite. Apparently, there'll also be a number of game day specials to snack on while you catch a match.

The Dock Ellis maintains a craft beer policy familiar to regulars at The Emmet Ray, with Amsterdam beers on tap (as well as Stonehammer Pilsner, Beau's Lug Tread, and Wellington ESB), with a few rotating beers by the bottle (Beau's excellent milk stout was on offer on our visit, as well as the brand new Collective Arts beer that's cropping up everywhere this week).

Given that the old sports bars of Little Portugal have been making way for craft cocktail spots or snack bars of late, it's nice to retain a spot where you can actually catch some of the action without being forced to choose between Coors Light or Canadian. I imagine this place will be first pick when I'm rounding up friends for the playoffs in the new year.

Sunday Brunch is coming soon, but in the meantime, The Dock Ellis is open 7 days a week from 6pm-2am, with food served until close.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Amsterdam, Stonehammer Pilsner, Beau's Lug Tread, and Wellington ESB
Signature Drink:
Try the beer
Bar Snacks:
Sandwiches, nachos, pub grub
Patio:
Yes
Music/Genre:
Classic rock
Live Music:
No
Who Goes There:
Sports fans who want more than Coors Light
Hours:
7 days a week from 6pm-2am

Discussion

16 Comments

Vlad the Impala / November 18, 2013 at 9:30 AM
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This place looks awesome. Will definitely be checking it out. Was slightly disappointed to read the "craft" beer lineup though... some more unique offerings would be nice!

eric / November 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM
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Had a chance to check it out last week, great option for catching the game without having to make do with the typical sports bar fare. Try the biltong and nachos for sure.

sb / November 19, 2013 at 8:38 AM
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cool food and beer synopsis, but a major function of a "sports bar" these days is their television. can't see a photo or mild description on size, how many they have, quality, etc.

Maureen In replying to a comment from eric / November 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM
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Place looks like it's worth a visit, but the last photo makes one wonder what shady deals are going on right at their doorstep.

No No: A Dockumentary / November 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM
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Dock spent the last 25 years of his life sober, working with MLB players and adult and juvenile inmates to overcome their addictions. He would be frustrated and saddened, though not surprised, by the notion of a bar profiting from his story. Weak.

http://nonoadockumentary.com

BeerandStuff In replying to a comment from Maureen / November 19, 2013 at 4:49 PM
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Those are the axe throwing guys who are friends of the owners. They look a bit intimidating if you don't know them, but they are super nice people.

Also, the craft menu does have a few more interesting options then what's mentioned. Lots of cans and there are actually 8 taps (some rotate).

They do have a lot of TV's which were more then good enough to watch the leaf game. Admittedly, I'm a friend, but having been to a lot of bars in Toronto this place has a lot going for them.

yesyes / November 19, 2013 at 9:22 PM
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Who's to say they didn't name the bar in honour of Dock Ellis?

Got a no no goin! In replying to a comment from No No: A Dockumentary / November 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM
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How would the bar be "profiting" from his story, per se? I think opening an establishment (even one that serves alcohol) in honour of Dock keeps his interesting and inspirational story alive.

Regardless, very much looking forward to watching the "dockumentary"! Hope you'll be bringing the finished product to Hot Docs next year in Toronto.

M / November 26, 2013 at 10:47 PM
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This place looks like it belongs on the Ossington strip... which is exactly why I would never go. Blah. A real sports bar has a "Norm" sitting at one of the stools.

Nathan McGinty / November 27, 2013 at 6:14 PM
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Dock's interesting and inspirational story will be kept alive regardless of whether a bar is opened in his name. Seems bad taste to honour someone who battled alcoholism and addiction by opening a bar in his name.

Why not name the joint The Rob Ford?

They are "profiting" from his story through unearned goodwill, earned media and reduced advertising budget. It is also very likely a violation of his heir's right of publicity.

DRMXR / December 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM
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awesome place to watch the game(s) only they start at 1pm on Sunday and the bar opens at 6pm. Way to think that one through.

Sunday Football / December 22, 2013 at 10:52 PM
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They are open for brunch on sundays at 12:30 to catch all the games

Jonathan Stein / January 7, 2014 at 4:26 PM
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definitely my favourite bar in the city...tied with the Emmett Ray! Seriously great food...good atmosphere and seriously addictive shuffle board!

Sunny Kay / January 21, 2014 at 2:38 PM
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Love this bar! Where else can i get fresh local beers, play foosball and pool, watch the Leafs, catch some Archer or kung fu movies during commercials, and grab a delicious gourmet meal until 2am for only $10? Only the Dock!

Kouponn / January 27, 2014 at 6:48 PM
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I finally made it out here.. wasn't too busy until about midnight, then it was packed. Nothing special but the crowd was great.

Neva Goinbach / March 23, 2014 at 3:05 AM
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What a piece of shit of a place. Had to deal with the douchebag bouncer for a minute and found out quickly that it meant that the bar was douchey just like its "bouncer".


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