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