Golden Pigeon Beer Hall
The Golden Pigeon Beer Hall is a communal German-style pub in Toronto for natural wines, craft beer and Eastern European spins on bar food classics.
The ground floor space that Golden Pigeon occupies has a lot of history, it was home to Ben Wicks Restaurant and Bar for almost 30 years.
Named after the popular British-Canadian cartoonist, the grub pub was in operation from 1980 to 2014, and then became The Tilted Dog Bar and Kitchen, before Golden Pigeon took over.
Chef Chris Mentier has lived in Cabbagetown for nearly two decades, spending his spare time at the pub due to the lack of bars or late night food destinations in the area.
Mentier partnered up with owners Julian Altrows and Matias Ludevid on this new project after having cooked for them at Black Pony Cafe, which they also own.
Golden Pigeon pulls in an eclectic crowd of mainly locals and big groups looking for reasonably priced pints and better than average bar food.
The space is organized with communal beer hall-style seating that's placed around the main bar.
The feel of this place mashes together the moody lighting of English pubs, free arcade games you'd see in Indie bars, and industrial light fixtures from old breweries.
To drink, the Golden Pigeon House Lager ($15) is served in a giant stein, or you can get a pint for $8.
It's a German lager made by Common Good Beer in Toronto. It's brewed at a colder temperature with the yeast remaining at the bottom of the tank during fermentation.
The result is a lager that is a super light, crisp and easy drinking.
If you're not a beer person, I'd recommend trying the Soif Revel Cider ($10). Juicy flavours of cherry, strawberry and Zweigelt grape skin surface with each mildly fizzy sip.
The food menu was carefully curated by chef Mentier who spent a ton of time studying old German cookbooks as a launch point to come up with the dishes served here.
The Meatballs on Toast ($14) features two pieces of homemade rye toast that have poached meatballs made with a mixture of veal, pork and beef piled on top. These are covered in a creamy caper sauce that gets stopped up by the firm toasted bread.
My favourite item was the Baked Spaetzle Mac and Cheese ($17). The German egg noodles are topped and baked with layers of Swiss cheese, old cheddar, bechamel sauce, and toasted bread crumbs.
Get your cameras ready for the nice cheese pull that comes when you dip your fork inside this creamy, savoury comfort dish.
Braised Beef Cheek ($18) is an elevated dinner option for those looking for more than just fish and chips.
The meat is slow braised for 6 hours is served covered in chasseur sauce made from oyster mushrooms, tomatoes, cream, and tarragon.
A serving of butter-dressed spaetzle comes on the side. It's a melt-in-the-mouth experience with the tender pieces of meat.
For the seafood lovers, Golden Pigeon is one of the very few bars to serving oysters (6 for $18, 12 for $34) in Cabbagetown.
The oysters are sourced straight from the waters of Prince Edward Island, and comes with cocktail sauce, horseradish, and lemon wedges.
Golden Pigeon's exterior sports an elaborate patio with tons of space for outdoor dining. An ode to the Ben Wick sits near the sign of the bar.