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Oct 29, 2008 01:36 PM

Quiet Pint in Downtown TO?

Any recommendations for a relaxed pub in the downtown area where you can get a good pint without being bombarded by sports on large screen TVs, lager louts and the like? Some place with a couch or two would be nice

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  1. Volo has a couch and a long and interesting beer list - I've been there when it's pretty hectic, but the last few times I've been have actually been nice and mellow. They could stand to update their list more often - it seems like my first pick is always something they're out of, but when that happens, they're pretty good at making recommendations for substitutes. They have one small TV, but it's hardly intrusive, and generally only has a sporting event on if someone asks for it (i.e., they turned it on for me when I wanted to see Michael Phelps win his 8th gold medal this summer).

    Smokeless Joe has also had a nice, chill atmosphere whenever I've been in, but no couches. Also a really good selection of beers.

    C'est What would also suit your purposes - I believe you can even curl up on a couch by a fireplace with your beer.

    587 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

    C'est What
    67 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E1B5, CA

    Smokeless Joe
    Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

    6 Replies
    1. re: Wahooty

      I wouldn't suggest C'est What. I've been there when they had the game on a few television screens. Their food and service have also gone downhill recently.

      1. re: foxymoron

        Fair enough - I've only been there when it's been fairly quiet (and not hockey season), and the room I'm thinking of is, as far as I can remember, TV-free. It can also be relatively waitstaff-free, but again, I've been in a very low-maintenance mood when I've been there. I agree that the food is absolutely nothing to write home about, but they do have good beer. :)

        1. re: foxymoron

          Gone downhill lately?!?!?!? That place has been stinking up Front St for years. And I LIKE pubs.

          1. re: foxymoron

            C'est What used to be a place I'd go for a quiet pint after work, but the last couple times I sat at the bar I observed what seems to be a disgusting new practice in Toronto bars: the overflow from beers being poured on tap is put into a glass, and when there is a half pint of warm stale beer overflow collected, it gets dumped into subsequent drink orders.

            When I asked a bartender about it, all he could do was shrug, blame management's direction, and assure me that nobody sitting at the bar gets served the overflow.

            1. re: NovoCuisine

              That's gross!

              I used to like C'est What when they had the little room for live performances. Last time I went, I ordered the lamb burger which arrived burnt. I sent it back and received an equally burnt burger. Even worse, the server avoided our table, never asked how it was and still charged me for the ridiculous patty of carcinogens. I won't be going back.

              1. re: NovoCuisine

                Argh! I have also witnessed this. Intersteer in Roncesvalles Village is a great, newly refurbished bar, but I was completely appalled when I saw the manager perpetrate this vile act unto another bar-sitter.
                So, it wasn't just my imagination:-(

          2. Volo has also extended its Cask Days, with Grand River's Pumpkin Ale on the menu this Friday, lol.

            6 Replies
            1. re: JamieK

              WooHoo! Fuller's London Pride from a cask is sublime...count me in

              1. re: Finnegan

                there was a story in the Star recently about what a coup it was for Ralph to get that cask along with the Extra Special Bitter -

              2. re: JamieK

                How's the food at Volo? I just checked their website and it looks like a really good spot. But, no menu.

                1. re: grandgourmand

                  I've only ever had beer, wine and cheese there. If you click on the place link below (if the site is working properly), you'll see a list of threads where Volo is mentioned. The quality of food doesn't come off so well in some of those threads. But if you enjoy local beer, wine and cheese, Ralph is passionate and knowledgeable.

                  587 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

                  1. re: JamieK

                    I'm with JamieK - I can only vouch for the cheese. But they do a pretty mean cheese board. I do wish they would include some sort of bread that wasn't loaded up with rosemary - I'm a rosemary freak, but even I sometimes want something more neutral so I can taste my cheese.

                  2. re: grandgourmand

                    I had a nice salad there, and my husband has had their burger a couple of times and said it was ok. I seem to recall we also shared a pizza that was on the small side. But we were enjoying the beer, so the memories of food are fuzzy. :-)

                2. i second Volo, i know you were looking for beer, but they also have a great selection of Canadian ciders and wines...

                  1. I would also suggest Cest What. Even if a game is on, there is another big room without any tvs. Good food, and great beer. Some couches as well if you are there early enough to grab one.

                    1. Not sure how well they pull a pint and I know the beer selection is small, but I've grown quite fond of The Cobourg on the east side of Parliament between Carlton & Winchester. Serene, friendly, and very cozy. Comfy chairs, loveseats, and sofas. A perfect place to begin or end an evening and make new friends while you're at it. A decent selection of wines, both bottle or by-the-glass; not bad martinis; and a reasonable selection premium liquors. No meals to be had, but they do have cheese and meat trays that I've yet to check out.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Googs

                        Yes I like The Cobourg as well...haven't been in awhile but the pate is very good...warning though the bartender prepares the pate plate and if it is busy then it will take awhile...but it is a nice place to chill and wait if you have the time...

                        1. re: BloorWestie...

                          Being in a hurry and being at The Cobourg seems incongruous to me.