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Ronnie's Local

Posted by Jessica McGann / October 21, 2009

In Kensington Market, there's a place where everybody knows your name. Well, they will if you advertise it. And if they still remember it the next time you go. But make it enough of a habit, and Ronnie's Local could truly be your local.

An unsuspecting little hideaway on Nassau street, Ronnie's feels like part British pub (not the sanitized, franchised versions we have here, but the real, antiquated British "locals" that hang maps and trophy heads on the wall in the name of decor), part romantic, "I-know-a-great-little-spot" destination, and part house party.

If you sit in the small back room on a Saturday night, the crush of rowdy drunks around you and Legion House decorating will make you feel as though you've teleported to jolly ol' England at a quarter to eleven on a Friday night. Take a seat in the front room around 9 or 10 on a weeknight and you'll have all the privacy you need for quiet conversations or eliciting secrets from an undercover contact - or you can just sit back and watch the unobtrusive TV, while chatting to the bartender and other guests.

On a summer night, Ronnie's front patio, adorned with Christmas lights and picnic tables, feels like a packed shindig. The laughing and carousing with your neighbours feels so much like someone's backyard party, you almost feel as though you should offer to help clean up before you leave.

Sit-down-and-have-a-chin-wag types will be happy to know that Ronnie's never has live music, which isn't to say that you won't hear great music there. If you're any good at identifying stereotypical cultural subtypes, you'll only have to cast an eye at one of the bartenders to see that avant-garde indie music, overlooked genres and structurally-complex compositions rule the iPods here. If your knowledge of local bands is better than your critical evaluation skills, you might even identify $100's Paul Mortimer as he pours you a beer

Bike poseurs, don't ride your stylized fixie over to Ronnie's unless you know what all the components are called, as you'll immediately realize for yourself upon seeing the sea of bike caps and messenger bags on the patio in summer. And single ladies, the ratio of men to women at Ronnie's Local is on par with the state of Alaska's!

If Kari "the Hipster Grifter" Ferrell and her "I love beards" tattoo could be on Ronnie's patio instead of in jail for fraud, she'd think she'd died and gone to heaven. So if you love beards too, put on your best plaid shirt and head over to Ronnie's Local instead of tattooing it on your back.

Writing by Jessica McGann

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Stratford Pilsner, Stratford Common, McAuslan's Apricot Wheat, Great Lakes Devil's Pale Ale, McAuslan's Cream Ale, Mill St Lemon
Signature Drink:
Whatever gets you drunk
Bar Snacks:
Avant-garde indie, overlooked genres, structurally-complex compositions... Slayer, Tribe Called Quest, Buddy Holly, etc.
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
Kensington Market crowd, hipsters, bike couriers, musicians, artists
3pm till last call in the winter, 2pm to last call in the summer



tracy / November 1, 2009 at 7:46 PM

I lived in the Market for several years, before i upped and moved here to London, England in the early 90's. But i come to Toronto several times a year, and always make beeline straight to my old stomping grounds - and i have loved Ronnie's Local since it first opened.
Although, having lived in London since 1991, i fail to see the bizarre (i'd hasten to add, naive, but well-meaning) comparison with a UK pub on a Friday at closing time... but i will most definitely agree, Ronnie's rocks! AND they let you bring in toasties from The Grilled Cheese across the road, and they also let you order pizza at the picnic tables! Great beer selection, and excellent LOUD thrash on Fridays... and a nice bit of Bolan during the week... how can you lose?
Yay for Ronnie's!

Audrey / November 2, 2009 at 1:56 PM

I love beards. Do you think I'll finally find a boyfriend if I come here?

david / November 5, 2009 at 2:11 PM

I have a beard! :)

I hate Ronnie's patio though, as it's always taken over by smokers. But it's still a nice place to see the sunset in K-Market on a hot summer day.

jackie / October 7, 2010 at 5:22 PM

This place has the worst service. Although the location is brilliant and the atmosphere is quite interesting, be prepared to looked down on and racist servants. Unless you are a friend of a bartender you will not feel welcome there.

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will p / April 17, 2012 at 11:57 PM

Bike messengers dont goto Ronnie's. Its a dump, and that's coming from some one who drinks at the beast. No self respecting messenger goes there period. J have never seen a working messenger go there mostly because we get treated like sub humans all day why on earth would any of us go there after work to continue the trend while drinking gross micro brews. Remove that from your review please s a service to all of Toronto's real messengers

Luna / June 3, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Interesting decor and atmosphere... I like it. More than anything I love flavoured beer like raspberry which not many places have but Ronnie's does, at least when I went. Raspberry beer is the best!

Kensintoner / June 16, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Great beer, and great patio, but about the worst service in Toronto. Truly and tremendously racist servers. You WILL feel persecuted and unwanted.

Billiedean / June 16, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Racist servers

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