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Duke's Refresher + Bar

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on December 9, 2013 / review policy

Dukes Refresher TorontoDuke's Refresher + Bar is the first Toronto outpost of the Muskoka-based bastion of fun, a place that boasts an apologetically brash attitude towards kicking back and letting loose, where Coyote Ugly-like bar-top dancing is not out of the question, and sloppy behaviour isn't judged.

Dukes Refresher TorontoSituated on Gerrard at Yonge in the pedestal of the Aura condos, the space has been designed with a soft spot for eclectic country charm; wood panelling, rusted metals, mismatched furnishings and rec room trophies. Upstairs in the "nosebleed" mezzanine there's shuffleboard, retro lounge seating and the option to order 20 litre kegs for large parties.

DukesThe menu features upscale riffs on pub staples offering the usual suspects like wings, nachos, burgers and fried chicken. Ladies can snack on complimentary cotton candy while they decide on what to order.

DukesFish Tacos come three to order with a choice of Crispy Haddock ($8.95), Spiced Shrimp ($9.25) or Seared Tuna ($9.25), served on warm tortillas with gingered red cabbage slaw, salsa roja, crema piquante and fresh cilantro.

Dukes Refresher TorontoThe Crispy Chicken Cobb ($15.45) is scrupulously crafted of romaine hearts, roasted chicken, the classic Cobb accoutrements (bacon, blue cheese, avocado, eggs) and drizzled with red wine vinaigrette.

Dukes RefresherOn tap, there are 40 beers available in pints, pitchers and 3oz samplers, the latter of which go for under $1.59 each. Regulars can join the Einstein Club for $20, which entitles them to a personalized 24oz stein and discounts on refills for the year.

DukesBrunch, offered on weekends from 9am to 1pm is discounted to repeat patrons who let themselves be ink-stamped the night before. The more visible the stamp: the better the discount on platters of Steak and Eggs ($16.75) topped up with crispy fried onions or towers of malty Shameless Waffles ($9.45). Bonus: both options are available all day on the regular menu too -- along with the Breakfast Poutine ($9.25).

Dukes RefresherOh, and there's Boozy Brunch Milkshakes ($6.91) and $3 off Caesars on Sundays (regular $7.50).

Dukes Refresher BarDuke's Refresher is open weekdays from 11:30am and on weekends from 9am. Take-out orders are encouraged and there's even a section (dubbed the cheap seats) reserved for those waiting.

Dukes Refresher TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns



there's that / December 9, 2013 at 11:15 am
The polished cement floors will make it easier to wash away all the vomit.
Conan The Egalitarian / December 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm
"Ladies can snack on complimentary cotton candy"

What about dudes?

Nigel Tufnel replying to a comment from Conan The Egalitarian / December 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm
What's wrong with being sexy?
Bellissima Betty replying to a comment from Conan The Egalitarian / December 9, 2013 at 01:11 pm
That candy might keep some of us from going sour on you dudes, but not good enough for me and the girls stand around and watch the fights at a place like this on feisty nights. Wonder what they polish the cement floor with?
jd83 / December 9, 2013 at 05:26 pm
I tried this place out Friday night.

While I didn't absolutely love the place, I didn't hate it either. Food was decent... Had the Steak and eggs which was alight. Mine was a touch too much gristle for my liking.

The wait staff was great and always made sure my party was being taken care of.

The only thing I found odd (maybe someone in the know can add detail). With Reds Midtown Tavern and Dukes Refresher. What is being built in-between the two? All 3 of these places kinda look like a variant of each other. I'm not sure why the Aura towers management would let these 3 spots right next to each other.

All this said. I would go back again to Dukes.

On a side note with the comments on the floor. I did see one girl take a bit of a spill. I'm wondering if that's going to be an issue for them.
Ashley / December 9, 2013 at 05:31 pm
I absolutely love the idea of this venue, it is exactly what Toronto needs! The food and venue looks incredible. I've been to the Duke's up north and it exceeded my expectations. The food was amazing and I can't wait to check out this new one!!!
behdad replying to a comment from whodat / December 9, 2013 at 07:11 pm
Read the review policy:

It clearly describes what a "profile" is compared to a "review".
Johnson / December 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm
Terrible beers on tap.
Eric / December 10, 2013 at 07:12 am
I have been a few times and every time gets better and better. Great food and a fun atmosphere. I have found my new spot
chris replying to a comment from Johnson / December 10, 2013 at 11:00 am
Lazy comment. It's mostly industrial suds, but dude is pouring a Boneshaker in the pic and I see a Hops n' Robbers tap. This is much more than I expect from a place like this.
Chris / December 10, 2013 at 07:24 pm
Only been to the one up north but I can't wait to visit the new one downtown. Trolls are gonna troll. Idiots.
Another Corporate Pub / December 10, 2013 at 08:04 pm

"I've been to the Duke's up north and it exceeded my expectations."

Clearly you work for the company. Maybe next time just say so.

"I absolutely love the idea of this venue, it is exactly what Toronto needs!"

Really? How exactly? We need ANOTHER cookie-cutter-pub-style corporate chain? PLEASE...TELL ME. *has stroke*

Seriously, though. I like the Duke pubs (Not this Duke, the other Duke chain) and I get that the corporate-y pub stuff makes money...but enough already...
Another Corporate Pub / December 10, 2013 at 08:07 pm

"I have been a few times and every time gets better and better. Great food and a fun atmosphere. I have found my new spot."

Sure ya have, pal. Do you work front or back of house at Duke's?
Chris / December 12, 2013 at 01:11 pm
While searching for my next craft beer stop I found this article. First off, @AnotherCorporatePub So do you wake up angry every day or did mommy or daddy not hold you enough as a child?
I am a craft beer lover and have been to most of the craft beer bars in the city and will be checking out Duke's soon. I think @Chris said it best, "Trolls are gonna Troll." @AnotherCorporatePub, go back to the pub you own or work at, stop being bitter with the world and maybe it will come back to you.
Another Corporate Pub replying to a comment from Chris / December 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Mate, I'm not angry and mum and dad were very good to me lol - thanks for asking though - all I'm asking for is answers. I'd love to know how Toronto needs another SIR Corp joint. @Ashley seemed very enthusiastic about it! Also, people who say things like "exceeded expectations" or "I was wow-ed!" run companies like this, they don't eat and drink at them.

You claimed that you "were searching for your next craft beer stop" and found this place. Odd, since they seem to have beers that can be found anywhere. Labbatt and Molson products? Mill Street? Diageo? These are new and exciting beers?

Fair enough.

I look forward to your comments about the joint exceeding your expectations and the staff going above and beyond!
Chris replying to a comment from Another Corporate Pub / December 15, 2013 at 05:16 pm
@anothercorporatepub "mate" "mum" and stating "Diageo" instead of Guinness. Me thinks we have a disgruntled pub owner or staff member on our hands. Listing 4 beers on a list with over 30, no you're not a negative person at all. Grow up.

I tried it on Friday night, packed, energetic and a good selection of beer. Loved the little samplers. But being 60+ I probably won't be back on a Friday night, more 25-40 age group. @anothercorporatepub I don't suggest you try it, it looks like the staff and guests were having fun. You would probably hate it.
duder / December 20, 2013 at 10:49 am
Went here the other night. Definitely is a corporate joint (licence plates on the walls, busts of animals, etc). Kitsch al la TGI Fridays or Jack Astors. That being said it is what it is - meaning beers are cold and not excessively overpriced. Food was to be expected. Waitresses are cute. Bathrooms are nice to poop in.

All in all it is exactly what's been expected. To say that it greatly exceeds expectations is hugely disingenuous though.
Simon / December 21, 2013 at 02:21 am
Been to this place a few times with coworkers. Have to say it's a fine establishment. Nice to have a quirky bar in the area. A lot of beers on tap (Beau's Tom Green is a new favourite)and the food is great for bar food. Good looking knowledgeable staff....can't complain.

jeff replying to a comment from jd83 / December 21, 2013 at 10:24 am
It is an Italian place going in between them. Duke's is LOUD, hopefully the Italian place will be more relaxing.

BTW, the reason why they are all "allowed" to be in there side by side if because Sircorp owns them all

Went last night. Good place to go with a group of friends. Decent spot for a "chain" but I would probably stick to drinks and just a bit of food vs. a meal. The fried chicken was mediocre (although HUGE).
jpy / January 30, 2014 at 07:14 pm
Had birthday drinks at Duke's a while ago. The staff were very friendly, gave me a drink on the house and cotton candy for the table. Good beer selection and snack foods.

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