Sometimes, you just want a beer from a surly old barkeep who made poor decisions in life, in surroundings only the sarcastic would label “atmosphere.” Welcome to XYYZ’s favourite dives east of Yonge.
Years after the smoking ban, the Duke of Gloucester still smells like your grandfather’s car seat. Perilous steps are badly slanted but sticky enough to prevent a tumble. Enjoy perfect greasy hangover breakfasts. 649 Yonge Street, (416) 961-9704.
McVeigh’s New Windsor Tavern is rough around the edges and, well, the middle too. Deformed paintings of Ireland’s poets decorate the walls. It’s old-school Catholic. If you have opinions about Ulster, keep them to yourself. 124 Church Street at Richmond, (416) 364-9698.
The Ulster Arms lost its loyalist (and most other) teeth years ago, their orange streak faded to a nicotine stain. Ancient codgers stare at the hockey game, sipping beer you can still order for less than a buck. 1345 Gerrard Street East, (416) 466-5325.
“What? I answered the phone! I must be open!” welcomes the bartender just down Gerrard at the Maple Leaf Tavern. Clearly, few of its patrons are online much. 955 Gerrard Street East, (416) 463-6309.
Noah’s Ark Tavern is popular with homesick Maritimers reviling Hogtown. Don’t call your broker on your Blackberry from this place. 2777 Danforth Ave. at Dawes Road, (416) 690-6222.