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Restaurants

An Sibin Pub

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on May 8, 2013 / review policy

An Sibin Pub TorontoAn Sibin Pub took over the corner lot of The Real Jerk last year and has transformed the space entirely. Though I was never really attached to the Caribbean eatery, there seemed to be an injustice in how the whole deal went down... you know, big Irish pub chain stomps over independent business?

An Sibin Pub TorontoPart-owner Rick Auiler sets me straight, explaining that they're not a chain. Auiler and partner, Scott Brockington, may have learned the ropes with the Quinn family (owners of the Irish Embassy and PJ O'Briens) but this is their first venture after breaking off on their own.

An Sibin Pub TorontoThey also contend that the hoopla surrounding The Real Jerk was in many ways due to the overzealous new landlord who had been shopping the site around. Auiler had even pulled out of the deal entirely before the landlord sweetened the pot, kicking in some free rent for all the inconvenience and delays. Auiler tells me Ed Pottinger (owner of The Real Jerk) even came in opening day and said that there is no residual ill will.

An Sibin Pub TorontoAll that said, I had low expectations going in. With no shortage of Irish pubs in Toronto, I was skeptical as to whether this new place could offer even a fraction of the unique character of its predecessor. On a recent weekday afternoon, I was in the neighbourhood anyway and thought I'd see what they'd done to the place.

It looks good inside. The formerly dingy veneer has been replaced with the requisite Irish themed paraphernalia and emerald green colour scheme. The high ceilings and second floor loft area make for a rather cavernous pub.

An Sibin Pub TorontoI had assumed the menu would be a generic affair but my interest was piqued by chips and curry ($6) and the Celtic Egg ($9). The chips, house-cut and fried to order, are accompanied by a little pot of creamy, rich yellow curry for dipping.

An Sibin Pub TorontoThe egg, which is wrapped in sausage and bread crumbs before frying, is the more impressive of the two. It somehow achieves a barely set centre that remains liquid enough to sauce itself, a feat I've seen even high-end kitchens struggle with.

An Sibin Pub TorontoThe Bo Burger ($12) from chef Tim Pettigrew (formerly of Grindhouse Burger Bar), is good too. Composed of Ontario beef that's ground in house, they'll serve it on the rare side if requested. Topped up with Guinness honey mustard and all the fixings, it's a pub grub staple that's well executed.

On tap, there are 20 beers that decidedly stay away from big corporate breweries and instead opt for craft and Irish offerings. While the selection is still somewhat predictable, there's at least one tap reserved for guests (on my visit it features Kensington Brewing Co.'s Watermelon Wheat beer) and they occasionally dabble in casks.

Dubbed the House of Ceol (old Irish for music), the pub hosts Celtic rock or folk bands four or five nights a week including an Irish trad session sounds featuring five to 20 players on Sunday afternoons. St. Paddy's Day is unsurprisingly a big deal and Aulier tells me their inaugural celebration this past Spring saw the bar reach capacity by noon and spill over into a tent out back.

An Sibin Pub TorontoAll in all, it was a satisfying way to lose an afternoon made better by unexpectedly accomplished food. Locals can look forward to weekend brunch featuring traditional Irish fry-ups and there are plans to add a Sunday night roast dinner.

The pub is open daily from 11am until last call.

Discussion

22 Comments

LOL / May 8, 2013 at 08:22 am
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Great location, but the music is way too loud. Tried this place out a few weeks after it opened around dinner time, and had to raise my voice to hear my friend across the table. If they could tame that a touch, it's otherwise not so bad. Does have that faux-Irish chain pub feel though.
johnsonstarfish / May 8, 2013 at 08:28 am
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I've been to this pub on a few occasions with friends who live in the area. While I don't like it much at all, it does have a good beer selection. Weekend nights this place is crawling with drunk hicks dancing to irish music. It's a pretty funny thing to watch.
cosmosuave / May 8, 2013 at 08:56 am
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Otherwise known as the Irish Jerk...
Donkey / May 8, 2013 at 09:43 am
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i miss the red pea soup
Abstracteden / May 8, 2013 at 10:04 am
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It's a same they took a lesson in appearance from all the other chains. I walked past it thinking it was a Foggy Dew, or a Paupers for the Eastside -nothing but some Celtic writing and a Guiness sign -really? Oh well.
N / May 8, 2013 at 10:21 am
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"On tap, there are 20 beers that decidedly stay away from big corporate breweries..."

That's only partly true. There are some local craft beers on tap, but Unibroue, who make Blanche de Chambly, are owned by Sapporo. They also have Cameron's and Okanagan on tap, which are both owned by Molson-Coors.

It looks pretty generic, but their menu seems OK. But Prohibition and this place have become douchebag filters. People with a certain fratboy attitude who don't want to venture further east tend to go to those two places, which is great for the rest of us eastenders, but it makes this place petty unappealing (Prohibition is unappealing for a bunch of other reasons too).
JohnO / May 8, 2013 at 10:54 am
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Who writes a review about a pub and allocates 66% of the review to it's food? Irish pubs are for drinking, music and atmosphere. not food.
Roy Keane / May 8, 2013 at 11:03 am
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Had the wings there on Monday night ($6/pound). They were excellent. Would definitely go back.
Dr. Strangelove / May 8, 2013 at 11:26 am
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I've only been here once, for a late lunch with my mother, but it was terrible. The place literally smelled of s h i t for a short while during our stay. Furthermore, some genius decided that lunch time at a restaurant was a good time to do some renovation work. I don't know what the hell he was doing upstairs but it most assuredly involved sawing metal, or something. Oh, and never once did I think I was in an Irish pub. Bloody terrible. Won't be back, but why would I when there are mucho better establishments in the area. Hope they die soon. Miss the Jerk terribly.
scottd / May 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm
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Faux Irish pubs are the new McDonalds.
Stanley / May 8, 2013 at 02:43 pm
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Douchebag central...Live and work in Leslieville and would never set foot in that place due to the people I see in there.
obligatory / May 8, 2013 at 03:27 pm
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the owners are probably decent people, but this really doesn't feel like a good replacement for the real jerk. that open-concept interior doesn't give off the 'cozy pub' vibe real deal irish pubs are known for. and painting interior and exterior green...you'd figure 'An Sibin Pub' would be enough to scream "hey, we're irish."
McRib / May 8, 2013 at 03:27 pm
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anyone who has actually been to a bar in Ireland would know these "Irish pubs" are nothing of the sort. A few photos of Cork, a Guinness poster, and a Celtic name doesn't cut it.

Just call it a pub.
Sinead / May 8, 2013 at 09:37 pm
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Somebody who refers to the Irish language as "Old Irish" is probably not the best judge of what's authentically Irish.
Irish or Gaeilge is a living language that is spoken in many Gaeltacht areas of Ireland.

irish / May 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm
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Another fucking Irish Bar - Thank God!
Scott Highet / May 27, 2013 at 08:53 pm
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I would might want to try this place
C Sear / June 3, 2013 at 01:55 pm
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The best pub in Lelieville is The Roy. I agree with commentary above. If you lived near this place you would not go in it... It sincerely has the worst food in the area and it's not the best evening out...
John / June 4, 2013 at 03:30 pm
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Who are these "douchebags" mentioned above?

This pub does cater for a young to Middle Aged crowd. Riverdale residents (of which I am) need to take their head out of their ass and realize that there are so many new people coming to the area in the last 18 months and Condo Blocks going up everywhere around DVP and Queen. Riverdale is not the pensioners retreat that it once was. The whole area is full of young professionals and this place is suited to them and young families.

It is not my favorite bar on the east side, but if you are looking for an entertaining night on the weekend on Queen East then this is probably your best spot.

The food here is very high standard for a pub... No it will not be getting any Michelin stars but that is not it's aim.

One thing nobody has commented on is the service...

Most of the guys who work here are brilliant, a lot of genuine Irish staff. The bartenders have the customers in tears of laughter sometimes and always care about the service. Sometimes it can be a little slower if the place fills up quick but that's the same anywhere.

I'll be back with friends, who all seem to enjoy it too.

Sarah / June 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm
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The worst part of riverside. Loud, college crowd, bad service, bad food. Hard to understand how this place is still open.
AA / July 25, 2013 at 08:19 am
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The food here is consistently bad. I thought their $10 lunch specials might add some flavour, but I was wrong. Gave them 6 opportunities to impress; didn't happen once. Also, they're probably the only place in Riverside that doesn't have a happy hour... so if you're into bad food an expensive beers, this is the place for you.
Jessica / January 17, 2014 at 09:42 pm
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I don't know why some of these comments are so bad! I live right around the corner and absolutely love this place. There are real Irish people working there and a great Irish crowd. My favourite is their sweet potato fries! AA said they don't have a happy hour but they do and always have ..
This pub is for all kinds of people - which is obvious since a knitting club meets there!
Absolute deadly place :)
Mary-Ellen Casciato / March 12, 2014 at 05:51 pm
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I don't know where these bad comments are coming from. First, I have been to Ireland and the Sibin is what Ireland's places look and feels like. Live music with especially Celtic and east coast bands C'mon.

I have been an east-ender for 30 years and this is the first place that I have been to that has ALL brackets of customer, young, older :-), lots of actual Irish, straight, gay, rich, poor and just all in all a lot of fun

I chuckled on the review, by the way, Cameron's is an independent Brewery, not Molson's.

I love that the staff are Irish, the beer is a great price and I don't know what that one person was thinking, they have happy hour every day. The food was great, I am now hooked on the curry and that amazing Pate.

To some of those bad reviews, maybe you should relax your butt a bit, take a breath and just enjoy life. I have watched this place grow and evolve since they first opened and look forward to it's future. No first place starts easy but these guy listen and learn

As an East End Lifer I am so very happy top have the Sibin here. Cheers

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