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Seeking: Nice & large lounge/pub/bar for group of 16

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A large group of approx. 16-20 of us will be meeting up for drinks for a few hours in early February, on a Saturday evening - somewhere between 6-8pm.

What I am looking for, is an ideal lounge/pub/bar.....AND the following criteria:

a) Where we don’t need reservations to linger in the bar/lounge area for a few hours…so think big and roomy.
b) Where there is live music or good music playing...so nothing too quiet
c) Where parking is not a hassle and easy enough to find
d) And lastly, where a diverse crowd and age range won’t feel out of place (30-70 year-olds)

I've looked at many recommendations and have this on my shortlist:
a) Li’Ly Lounge
b) Brant House
c) Vivoli
d) Distillery District - Mill St Brew Pub only option, all others doing Winterlicious
e) A Salsa Lounge, like Lula or El Rancho. Never been to either though!
f) Brazen Head Pub
g) Forte Bistro
h) The Bier Markt (The Esplanade)

Will any of these fit the spot? Where would you go?

Thanks for everyone's help, in advance!

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  1. I don't recall the bar area of the the Mill St. Brew Pub being very large, but I could be mistaken, as I've only ever sat at tables there. The Bier Markt is certainly big enough and won't shoo you away, but it's a very young crowd and it gets deafeningly loud in there, so you'll have a very hard time talking to each other.

    I would check out the Foundation Room (corner of Church and Front). It's big and has a nice atmosphere, parking is reasonable in the area. Good spot for drinks. And if your group doesn't like it, you can always walk down to the Esplanade and go to Bier Markt. :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      Ooh, I must check out the Foundation Room. That's a new one to me.
      Thanks!

      1. re: sylvrgirl

        Each December my colleagues and I have a lovely pub lunch at PJ O'Briens, behind the King Edward Hotel. Not sure about the live music, but worth checking out.

        1. re: Montrachet

          Thanks for this addition. I'll be sure to check them out!

    2. A little off-the-map, but maybe Andy Poolhall on College west of bathurst? very loungey and big.

      1. I haven't been in years but for an pub feel how about Dora Keogh on Danforth?

        1. If mid-town works for you , I have a few pub suggestions, and parking shouldn't be an issue on a Saturday.

          Scallywags (11 St. Clair ave W) has a 2nd floor private room which is much prettier than the rest of the pub. They don't charge a fee for the room, but you'd want to reserve well in advance. There is a "green P" lot less than one block north on Yonge. Mostly standard pub fare, but you can't beat their prices.

          http://www.scallywags.net/

          The Rebel House (1068 Yonge St.) is tiny, but they have an upstairs bar, if you phone far enough ahead you might be able to get the whole space to yourselves. They were one of the first spots to focus on Canadian cuisine and microbrews.

          http://www.rebelhouse.ca/

          The Bow And Arrow (1954 Yonge St., at Davisville) has several rooms which could work, including a large upstairs for private parties. Also very early converts to the local ingredient ethos. They have something like 20 draught taps, and do beer sampler trays. (website is down)

          1. At that time the Bier Markt Esplanade will be fine, they're typically fairly dead until later in the evening in the bar space. 6-8pm won't see any crowd, never mind a very young one.

            Brazen Head is a fairly good fit, especially on a Saturday as the upstairs pub is open. The upstairs is probably a better fit for the size of your group if you all want to sit together.

            C'est What could work, lots of room, but not all at one table

            Irish Embassy could be another option, more open space than PJ's, since PJ's second space isn't open all the time and you'd be cramped in regular PJ. That said, it's got great atmosphere.

            Fynn's of Temple Bar could also work (it's across the street from Brant House)

            I don't think Brant is a real option, nor Forte, since they're targeting a different audience.