The Best Irish Pubs in Toronto
The best Irish pubs in Toronto offer more than a pint of a Guinness and a handful of vaguely traditional menu options. They're places with a neighbourly vibe and welcoming atmosphere where you might feel just as at home drowning your sorrows as you would kicking up a jig; and, of course, fresh kegs of the black stuff don't hurt either.
These are the best Irish pubs in Toronto.
A quaint spot in Leslieville, Ceili Cottage stands out among the city's other mostly paint-by-numbers Irish pubs. It's cozy, to say the least, but an excellent patio in the summer which converts into a yert in the winter boosts capacity and a large selection of whisky and draught options paired with a decent menu and plenty of oysters make this Leslieville spot a prime spot for a wee pint or a tidy dram.
Big on cozy celtic charm, Dora Keogh on the Danforth has an excellent list of imported beer and live music a few times a week. The venue has a decidedly laid back and a vaguely worn-in vibe, however, whereas some bars wear their age poorly (like a moth-eaten suit) Dora Keogh just seems to get better and more comfortable with age.
This High Park pub is usually quite busy and that's actually a large part of its charm. With a menu that is more proper pub fare suited to soaking up booze than fine dining, Whelan's Gate gets by on its character. It only has two tiny bars and two patios but what else do you need for a little Irish vacation in the city?
Cabbagetown's Irish Pub feels like it's been around for years. The staff are welcoming and friendly and the place has the exact right vibe you'd want from your local. There are 20 beers on tap and most of them are local and the food is classic rib-sticking pub grub. There's even a quirky and cozy faux-grass patio at the back on which to enjoy it all.
Certainly the best Irish pub in the area, Etobicoke's Galway Arms has great food, one of the best pints of Guinness you'll find in the GTA, and a menu comprising roast beef, ham and cabbage, Irish stew, steak and mushroom pie, and the sort of comfort food that, paired with a well-worn corner booth, might just make you forget you're at a bar (until there's a football game on).
One of the city's more authentic-feeling Irish bars, PJ's has classic copper-topped bars, a decent draught list of the usual suspects, and a downright respectable selection of Irish whiskies. Those who frequent the place know it as a vaguely-out-of-the way refuge in St. Lawrence with a vastly underrated menu.
Having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, McVeigh's is a real-deal, no frills, family-owned Irish Pub. I can't pass it without recalling the time it stood in for a grubby Irish bar in Boston in the movie Boondock Saints, and the actual bar, often tended by Jimmy Sr, Jimmy Jr or Paul McVeigh, doesn't seem too far off from that gritty fiction (gun touting religious nuts aside). Cheap pints, decent food, and Irish tunes on the weekend.
An intimate and cozy Irish pub in Leslieville, The Roy's clientele is typically a bit older and you won't find any of the goofy club-pub shenanigans here. It's as much a spot for deep conversation as it is for quiet contemplation. And if you're craving a home-cooked meal but can't make it home, there's prime rib dinner on Sundays.
Jesse Milns at Whelan's Gate
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