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Restaurants

The Dog & Bear

Posted by Angelina Purpura / Reviewed on June 19, 2012 / review policy

dog and bear torontoThe Dog & Bear pub is the latest iteration of 1100 Queen Street West, a space best known as the former home of the Social. Converted by members of the team behind Parts and Labour and the Hoxton, the once club-like space is now an Empire-styled pub, and one that should prove quite popular in a neighbourhood that's witnessed a massive influx of condo-dwellers over the last few years. While there's no shortage of restaurant and bar options in the area, the Dog & Bear still fills a hole with its sports-friendly atmosphere and traditional pub offerings.

dog and bear torontoThe walls are stone and hung with old-style tapestries, while large televisions above the bar face comfy booths on the opposite wall (thus giving them solid sight-lines). My visit happened to fall during a Euro Cup match between England and France, which left but one table available with out a wait — the one that doesn't have a complete view of the televisions. I didn't mind though, because on any other day, the gorgeous wooden table set against the window would make for an ideal people-watching spot.

As far as the food and drink goes, the beer selection is decent (I counted around 20 draught offerings or so), but by noon on game day they were already running dry on over half their stock. This wasn't a total loss as there was still plenty to choose from and the type of snafu one tends to chalk up to the early period of an establishment's life. And besides, we were there for the pub grub, and first up was the fish and chips ($17).

dog and bear pubThe fish was tender without being soggy, and the batter was nicely crisp. The fries were brown and soft, like those one expects from a chip truck. It's not the best fish and chips I've ever had, but the dish isn't an overall miss either. The highlight was the tangy slaw, which added som much needed crunchy texture and and some acidity to cut through all the batter. For $17, I'd expect a bit bigger portion, but nothing's altogether cheap here.

dog and bear queen stNext, I went with another pub staple, the cottage pie ($12). It was accompanied by a delicious onion gravy that was served separately, meant to be added once I'd cracked the crust of the mashed potatoes. I had a few bites before adding the gravy, and it was a wise choice.

The pie is made with an adequately fatty ground beef, so it has an amazingly full beefy taste, and is complemented nicely by the buttery potatoes. There could have been more vegetables in there, but the onion gravy, once added, brought out such a rich flavour combination that I hardly even missed them.

dog and bear torontoAfter all that we were rather full, but I had to get my favourite British dessert — sticky toffee pudding ($6). It's a simple treat: just soft cake covered in thick, sweet sauce. The pudding served by Dog & Bear is indeed sticky and sweet, but it unfortunately also came served in enough butter to poach a fish.

There was not nearly enough toffee flavour to justify the amount of liquid. Sticky toffee pudding is not a dessert for the calorie-conscious to begin with, but this was a bit much. Once I got to the centre of the dish, I felt like I was eating an over-zealously buttered muffin.

dog and bear torontoWhile there were a few misses with the food, the overall experience here was pretty good, made even more exciting by the game. I'll likely be back to have that cottage pie again, and hopefully the beer selection will be as diverse as it's intended to be.

Discussion

27 Comments

McRib / June 19, 2012 at 01:05 pm
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Scotch eggs on the menu?

I NEED TO KNOW
cosmosuave / June 19, 2012 at 01:28 pm
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Wow thats some dismal looking FnC for $17...
mike in parkdale / June 19, 2012 at 01:57 pm
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why don't pubs have dart boards anymore? Well I guess the old ones like the Duke of Gloucester does, but you never see it any new ones. Darts aside, good luck with the spot. Please don't turn it into a nightclub.
Stephanie / June 19, 2012 at 02:10 pm
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What the hell is the point of a pub review that doesn't even tell us what's on tap, not to mention if its well served? Could you guys maybe send beer drinkers out for pub reviews?
Josh / June 19, 2012 at 02:33 pm
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You got more than one strip of fish right? You just used the single piece for a glamour shot? 1 piece of battered fish and what looks to be just a palmful of fries for $17....geez I love pub grub but I wouldn't pay that price for that amount ever.
Jay / June 19, 2012 at 02:34 pm
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Welcome to Adam Vaughan's Toronto. Good fun is replaced with fake pretension that doesn't bother anyone who wishes to be in bed by 9pm on a Saturday night.
Jilted / June 19, 2012 at 02:40 pm
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An absolute shitshow, went down there to watch a Euro cup game last week, the pub was maybe at half-capacity. Busy for a sunday morning, but definitely manageable, especially considering there was ample staff working. Unfortunately it seemed that half of them were running around like headless chickens.. looking busy, but doing nothing.

Ordered pints and food exactly as the game kicked off. After repeated requests, I finally received my pint at the 40 minute mark of the game. By the time the second half had rolled by (already an hour after ordering), we noticed tables beside us that had come in after we had ordered were already eating their food, and finally our server came sheepishly back to inform us that "the kitchen messed up all the chits" and assured us food was coming, only after asking "what did you order again?"

A paltry $13 breakfast was served to us after an hour and a half wait, and while the food was good, the experience had left a sour taste in our mouths. At this point we had decided that the service was so abysmal that we couldn't leave a tip.

Unfortunatly we wouldn't even get that chance, as after the game was over, we asked repeatedly over the course of 40 minutes for our bill. After 4 requests to our server (who wasn't busy), we said fuck it and walked out.

Worst experience ever.
ps replying to a comment from Jilted / June 19, 2012 at 02:50 pm
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As someone who works in the industry, dining and dashing is simply not cool. No matter how bad your service is, it is unfair to penalize the dishwashers and linecooks. You could have walked up to the POS terminal, paid your bill, left no tip, and asked to speak to the manager about the experience. Pain in the ass, yes - because there really is no excuse for shitteous way you were treated. Fair to the others working behind the scenes in the restaurant, absolutely?
Bruce Mandrake / June 19, 2012 at 03:12 pm
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I wish I could pay more for those fish and chips.
Avery / June 19, 2012 at 03:51 pm
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$17 for that absurdly tiny portion of fish and chips seems like a practical joke that turned into a business success for the pub. Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.
LOL replying to a comment from Jay / June 19, 2012 at 04:08 pm
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LOL please the douche bags that own this place are the same ones that owned the Social, Horxton or w/e its called and a ton of other GARBAGE venues….. this place is a fraud and the clients they draw are morons
v79 / June 19, 2012 at 04:53 pm
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Even with two pieces of fish, $17 would be a ridiculous price to pay for Fn'C that are devoid of any special ingredients. The other items mentioned though seem reasonably priced for an upstart pub trying to be as pretentious as this place.
parkdillyo / June 20, 2012 at 12:34 am
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they can't pull a proper pint of guiness and i had to send my fries back because they were undercooked and over seasoned. dooshbagateria.
everyone else has said it... / June 20, 2012 at 11:09 am
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$17 is a joke right? who would pay that - the actual food cost is probably around 5 dollars. at least up your presentation...
mayor dodge replying to a comment from Jilted / June 20, 2012 at 11:35 am
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Good place to avoid. Any nob joint that charges $17 for 80% batter and 20% fish portion with 2 tablespoons of greasy chips should have their brain dead management removed and heckled all the way to the lake. Just sayin'.
Roctop replying to a comment from parkdillyo / June 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm
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What do you expect from a place that looks like a barn, a good brew? Cold, underdone fries is a justifiable reason to whip the plate back into the kitchen and have the slime-cooks clean it up. Make them pay.
Susan / June 20, 2012 at 09:23 pm
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The place is nice inside. Comfortable couches and big chairs that you can't see in the pics.
Match replying to a comment from mayor dodge / June 21, 2012 at 01:14 am
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I actually have had this a few times. The picture does it no justice. The fish is at least 7-8 oz, which is a normal portion anywhere else. It's on a huge plate, which looks dwarfed in the picture.

I was there today, and the fries were very different from what they were when I was there last week, which is a good thing. Seems like they may have switched the potato they were using. Maybe too many complaints.
$17 may be a little much, but if it's line caught fish like they are serving, I'm sure that's worked into the price. And if the fries stay like they were tonight then I'll be pleased.
mayor dodge replying to a comment from Match / June 21, 2012 at 09:31 am
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Hmmm...It seems that someone there is smartening up. Thanks for the info. I just might try the place when I'm nearby.
Sean / June 24, 2012 at 06:46 pm
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Saw the $$$ prices and passed going there.

Was hungry for fish, went to the grocery store and purchased High Liner fish sticks. Not too bad, not too greasy, more fish too and WAY cheaper than the Dog & Bar. Woof woof.
Michelle / July 2, 2012 at 12:39 am
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Nice space, staff were great, good tunes. They were out of several beers and items that were on the menu and we were there early, so some work is needed with ordering or something. Did everyone miss the fact that it's line-caught fish? And my portion was huge. I could not finish it, so perhaps they saw the comments about portion size. I loved it, and I'm snobby about fish and chips.
J / July 5, 2012 at 09:55 am
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The owners who run this place are idiots (i forget the other douche bags who are partners, but 1 name that sticks out is Jesse). I am surprised this place even turned into a bar.
The staff that work at these venues are uneducated, but the position the employees hold at dog&bar, hoxton etc fits their positions uniquely.

avoid this place.
Hellopaddy / July 30, 2012 at 02:11 pm
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If you are still reading then please ignore the morons in desperate need of spelling lessons, who have tried their best to use the English language above. Here is a proper review of the Dog & Bear by a real life Englishman who isn't one of the self righteous ex-pats that seem to plague this city searching for a hipster infested dump on QSW to call their own and sit there licking pictures of Jeff Kerouac or whatever his over-hyped name is, while splitting a pitcher of Toronto's cheapest because they are all work shy paupers:

The Dog And Bear (formerly a place called the social that I am told was a hole)is an English style pub located at 1100 Queen Street West, in between Lisgar and Dovercourt.

The bar opened about two months ago and has been generating a steady flow of regulars and new comers alike ever since, the wise decision to open at the beginning of Euro 2012 having a echoing effect on any locals who turned up to scream blue murder at their blood connections, which means the place already has a welcoming and familiar feel. A rare atmosphere for a place so new to the paltry offerings that surround it.

The fish and chips are great as is all the other food. (pickled eggs for $1 should have all those tight purses above piping down about the cost and quality) Now I read again, should those that haven't even frequented yet be leaving comments? Makes one look rather stupid in my eyes.

A few unique dishes of note would be the Fries Smelts (whitebait in the UK) with caper mayo. You get the perfect amount for sharing while a game is on or to nibble on as the night passes with laughter and smiles.

The Poached Haddock salad is awesome, a really well thought out, summery dish with the perfect amount of vinaigrette.

I would also recommend the wings, while some seem to find them small, this is actually how I prefer my wings as the flavour intensifies, also nice to see the two choices of honey garlic and buffalo, you aren't bewildered with fancy names for hot sauces and combinations that suggest the creator pointed at two random pages in a dictionary.

Overall this place is just awesome, it has a great crowd running the show (Come on guys, if you are gonna call someone a douche bag try and follow the British trait of saying it to their face and not on here, do grow up) Richie always putting a hand over the bar to shake those of his regulars, even if its only a second coming. The vibe is always one of laughter and cheeky stories and if you, like me, are bursting at the seams for the Premiership season to start then their schedule will be more than enough to appease. I sense a higher order of breakfast goods being placed when the time rolls around and long may such a trend continue!

Whether you live here or are coming for a visit, this place is great, its just that the majority of Torontonians see most things from a glass half empty perspective and like to moan. All that from a very well traveled Brit who is more than well placed to comment on all things British, half the miserums above have probably never been, nothing to say yet saying it far too loudly springs to mind.

The Dog and Bear, it's the one!!

jojo / January 17, 2013 at 03:23 pm
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Most of these comments are old and let me be the first to tell you that it has very much changed. There is nothing on the menu over $15 and most days there is a special which includes a draught beer for $15 (friday-fish and chip + beer for $15)

Its cosey inside and my partner and I were thrilled to find old board games behind the booths. There was a good crowd in the back getting loud playing darts but that added to the pub vibe.

Food was prompt, delicious and good value. Servers were polite, great atmosphere

We will definitely be back

peter chung eminata / March 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm
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Very good information. Lucky me I found your site by accident (stumbleupon).
I've book marked it for later!
Bobby G / January 28, 2014 at 03:38 pm
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Had a horrible experience with a waitress there. She ACTUALLY told me off for putting up my hand (yes, simply raising it - not waving it around) to get her attention. I was shocked at her aggression and sense of entitlement. Not to metion that its a NORMAL thing for a customer to do.

That made my blood boil I let her have it! Not something I like to do / ever do but this really called for it. She was unbelievably rude.

Anyways, the bar manager smoothed things over with a round of shots for the table. Good food. Good Beer Selection. Great setting. Plus got to chill with Kenny Hotz (owner) and Tom Green who were awesome.

It's a pitty that waitress tainted an otherwise great experience.
Quincy / September 3, 2014 at 02:51 pm
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Probably the worst 'pub' in all of Toronto. It is NOT a pub at all. It is really just a sports bar full of rude, drunk jocks watching baseball and listening to white guy hip hop. The food is atrocious frozen garbage and nowhere near authentic British in any way, shape or form.

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