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bars/pubs/lounges/places for drinks where 40somethings aren't out of place, where conversation is possible without straining your voice, and the music isn't turned up to nightclub levels between 10:30 pm and midnight....

I'm out of the loop. Went to the Bohemian Gastropub last night (don't expect a typical European style Radler if you order "The Radler"- this one is about half fresh-squeezed lemon juice and very tart- way too tart for this Goldilocks), and the music levels were fine when we got there at 10:30 pm, but by the time we left at midnight, it was too friggin' loud. It felt too awkward to ask them to turn it down, when the volume is intentionally being turned up by staff to levels where conversation becomes very challenging, and the majority of the staff and clients seem to like it that way. I kept looking through the window to Le Palette, wondering if it was quieter across the street.

I know the Drake Lounge is ok around 10 pm, but if I remember right, it's usually very loud by midnight. Two Cats and Brassaii are nightclub-loud by 11 or so. The Thompson's lobby is too loud for me. Even the Irish Embassy, where I was dragged a few weeks ago, is ridiculously loud by 11 pm. Origin turns loungey by 11 pm, and was super loud by 11:30 pm. Pravda gets a young crowd later at night, and is nightclub loud.

The Esplanade Biermarkt was really loud last time I was there. Is the King W location also superloud between 10:30 and midnight? I haven't been for a while.

How loud is a place like the Wheat Sheaf? What about Harlem Underground?

Places I consider on the quiet side:
the Monk's Table
The Rebel House
The Consort Bar
The Library Bar
The Roof at the Park Hyatt.

Suggestions for any part of town would be fine, but I'd especially like recommendations for south of Bloor and west of Bathurst, and for places where the crowd is likely to be down-to-earth.

Rebel House
1068 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W2L4, CA

461 King St. W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K7, CA

158 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M5R1A8, CA

The Drake Hotel
1150 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

Park Hyatt
Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

Wheat Sheaf Tavern
667 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M9, CA

Harlem Underground
745 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

La Palette
492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

The Monk's Table
1276 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T 1W5, CA

The Bohemian Gastropub
571 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2B6, CA

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  1. What about Celi Cottage? Or do things wind down there early?

    3 Replies
    1. re: millygirl

      Haven't been yet. Thanks, millygirl ;-)

      1. re: prima

        But the cottage is not west of Bathurst, it's east of Leslie St.. And it holds about 20 people total, I've never been able to just walk in and find a spot.

        1. re: foodyDudey

          Read carefully. "suggestions for any part of town are welcome"

          Perhaps if she arrives early enough she may be one of those lucky 20. Maybe it's just a matter of karma??!!

          We went just last week for the first time, and we're able to get one of the last few tables in the back. Had a great evening.

    2. You seem to have this pretty well covered. I might add The Cobourg on Parliament @ Winchester. When it gets loud in the front, you can always escape to the much quieter back room.

      The Cobourg
      533 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M4X 1P3, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: Googs

        Thanks, Googs. Haven't visited the Cobourg yet.

        The Cobourg
        533 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M4X 1P3, CA

      2. The King W Biermarkt is ear-splittingly loud, especially when they have a live band playing. Wheat Sheaf is a lot quieter and fits the down-to-earth criterion nicely.

        2 Replies
        1. re: caviartothegeneral

          Thanks, caviartothegeneral.

          Hope to try the Wheat Sheaf next time I'm looking for something closer to King & Bathurst- I really wish we had chosen the Wheat Sheaf last night. Noticed an article online that suggests the Old York Bar & Grill on Niagara also might be on the quieter side, for that neighbourhood.

          Old York Bar & Grill
          167 Niagara St, Toronto, ON M5V1C9, CA

          1. re: prima

            The Old Yorke is lovely but often full. Another favourite is The Paddock on Bathurst just south of Queen.

        2. The Beaconsfield.

          1154 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1J5, CA

          4 Replies
          1. re: iMarilyn

            Thanks iMarilyn...hadn't been to the Beaconsfield in about 5 years, and didn't remember it being on the quieter side. Probably should've gone there, since I met my friend at the Drake before we walked east.

            1154 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1J5, CA

            1. re: prima

              My friend works there. It gets pretty loud by 11 p.m. Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun and 40s would be on the older side of the crowd but the food is not bad and the drinks are reasonable in terms of price.

            2. re: iMarilyn

              beaconsfield is pretty hipster, there is always a dj on serato playing very loud music. It's also very dark. Gets Drake spill-off when it's too packed, expect that crowd.


              This spot is new, I haven't been so don't know the noise levels. There's also Victory Cafe, the music isn't too loud, noise is more from conversation amongst customers.

              A quiet one would be Ciros by Bloor & Lansdowne, my personal fav would be Drift by Dovercourt and Bloor. They have southern tier ipa in bottles.


              Owner is real cool, I like his taste in music. Leaning towards Footprints/Turning Point territory if you're familiar with that.

              1. re: aser

                I love Drift -- they do decent food, too.

                As for Ciro's, good beer selection but it's kinda dive-y.

            3. I would highly recommend the Black Hoof's Cocktail Bar. However, it's a small spot so if you're looking for a busier environment, look elsewhere.

              1. I almost forgot The Pilot. I've never had a problem with conversation or getting a drink. If you can't get into The Roof, The Pilot always has plenty of space (and spaces).

                The Wheat Sheaf is perfect for a low rent night out.

                Pilot Tavern
                22 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M4W1J5, CA

                1 Reply
                1. re: Googs

                  thanks Googs. Haven't been to the Pilot for a while!
                  And have been wanting to try the wings at the Wheat Sheaf.

                2. The bar at the Ritz might be good for you. Great patio in the summer and amazing bar snacks - maple syrup covered bacon.....yum....

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Cat123

                    the ritz bar is so quiet....the bacon is great

                    1. re: ingloriouseater

                      good to know, thanks, Cat123 and ingloriouseater.

                      1. re: prima

                        Note that there are 2 bars - make sure you go to the back of the hotel - not the one in the lobby (although there is nothing wrong with it, I'm not sure it's what you are looking for).

                        1. re: Cat123

                          the back bar only has the outdoor area that is of any real interest. the whole building and service is sterile, lacks warmth and the 'standards' don't feel genuine at all....

                  2. Try the Gem at Davenport and Ossington.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sloweater

                      thanks sloweater...didn't have Gem on my radar.

                    2. there's a nice neighbourhood bar on harbord st. (right at roxton) called the roxton. they have food and drinks.. a nice, quiet place.

                      7 Replies
                        1. re: prima

                          i think it is sort of like a neighbourhood secret since it is tucked in a residential area.

                          1. re: helenhelen

                            I like the Roxton because the owner/bartender told me he hates mill st organic but has to have it because that's what the hipsters buy.

                            Cracked me up, and yes it's the definition of a bland beer.

                            379 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M6G1H8, CA

                            1. re: aser

                              i thought pabst blue ribbon is what hipsters drink..

                                1. re: aser

                                  I haven't been to The Roxton in a while, but I remember liking it.

                                  379 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M6G1H8, CA

                          2. Have you started your pub "crawl"? I'm curious to see what your thoughts are on the various options.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: sloweater

                              The only places I've visited since the original post are the Drake and the Monk's Table. The Monk's Table had a fair number of late 30somethings/early 40somethings the night I was there. The Drake seemed to have more 40somethings than most bars, but between midnight and last call, the percentage of 20somethings making up the crowd increased considerably.

                              Are there any bars downtown/near the St. Lawrence Market/King East that Hounds would recommend for a couple 40somethings on a Friday night, from around 10 pm until midnight, besides the Bar at the Ritz? Considering the Bar at the Ritz, or possibly Avenue or the Pilot if we head towards Bloor. Not interested in Pravda. Thanks for any other suggestions.

                              1. re: prima

                                you can try the c'est what - a casual bar on front st.

                                there's also that pub located at the bottom of the flat iron building (i forget the name now).

                                1. re: prima

                                  Don't forget the Consort Bar at the Kind Eddy. Upscale casual and still very woody thank goodness.

                                  helenhelen, that's the Down Under Pub in the Flatiron. I much prefer it over c'est what. I guess it depends on what you're in the mood for. c'est what's just too cool-guy for me. Down Under has that right amount of seediness a pub should have so you can relax without too much of it so you can't.

                                  1. re: Googs

                                    Actually I think that the Down Under was replaced by a Firkin pub - now known as the Flatiron and the Firkin. I don't know whether it has subsantively changed inside though - the outside patio in the summer (obviously not toally relevant now) is definitely Firkin standard.

                                    Trevor has a small bar area/menu which is good for a quiet drink but it is not exactly hopping.

                                    Reservoir Lounge is nearby but I haven't been in ages.

                                    There are a number of interesting looking pubs on King just east of Jarvis but I haven't ever really tried them.

                                    1. re: Cat123

                                      Ew. I don't very much care for Firkins. I'll miss Down Under during patio season. Oh well, thanks for saving me the trip.

                                  2. re: prima

                                    I like the Jason George near the SLM. Very low rent and usually quiet-just right for 60 somethings.

                                2. I'm going to add The Grove to this list. Neat place for drinks for a 30something and 40something crowd. Most cocktails were in the $8-$12 range. I wish a place like this existed in North Toronto, within walking distance to a subway station, but I have a feeling a vibe like that can only be found on Dundas W.
                                  I knew I'd like it as soon as I walked in and heard them playing the Talking Heads.

                                  1. Anyone have any recs for favourite patios for drinks and appetizers, where 40somethings won't feel out of place? Considering the Pilot, haven't been for a while.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: prima

                                      I'm considering Frida myself, prima. Sun-drenched, salsa, and margaritas say summer to me.

                                      1. re: prima

                                        Bar Hop http://www.barhopbar.com Twitter @barhopbar is near King & Spadina across from the Timothy's Coffee. It's where Libra Lounge used to be. The owner is a former bartender at Smokeless Joe. Smokeless patrons may recognize some other former employees there. 24 craft beers on tap (Ontario, Quebec, International) plus one cask. Food is good (though I'd love if the food was similar to Switzer's Corner in NYC or The Garbardine here in T.O.) The bar is nice and long, some high tops and tables in front and back. There is a small patio out front. The music isn't loud, you can have a conversation easily and the music mix is something this nearly 40 something likes. Opens at 4pm Sun-Sat.

                                        $5 Ontario (most) pints on Sundays, $10 mussel specials on Monday, buck a schuck oysters on Tuesdays. There's frequently non-menu food specials. The beeramisu and the chocolate carrot cake are good (I normally hate carrot cake!


                                        Sounds like an ad I know. No vested interest on my part beyond wanting my local bar to succeed (we like going there.) It was disappointing when Smokeless had to leave the neighbourhood for College St.

                                        1. re: lister

                                          Spitzer's Corner in NYC. Spelling brain cramp.

                                        2. I recently got to try Spirit House and I think it would be a good addition to this list. The drinks are fantastic and the room is nice. We were there on a Friday night and it never got club loud.

                                          1. Check out The Queen and Beaver on Elm west of Yonge. The food is amazing--all house made high quality British pub food. They have a small roof terrace which is great. Good beers, of course, and a great vibe. The pub is on the second floor. I'm surprised no one else suggested it.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: meanmartin

                                              last 2 visits the sevice was terrible at the Q&B, the food has become meh...

                                              1. re: ingloriouseater

                                                Oh no! I admit I haven't been there in a few months. That's too bad. The food always seemed more expensive to make than they could possibly charge for it. Maybe it caught up with them?

                                            2. monks kettle at royal york and bloor is amazing. their beer selection is top notch, their charcuterie tray is fantastic, and 40 is the new 30 here.

                                              whelans has been a favourite of mine for years at keele and bloor, but haven't been much lately....

                                              1. Anyone have a rec for a Fri Karaoke night w of Yonge, south of Dupont? Has anyone been to Mayday Malone's for karaoke or any of the Karaoke nights in the Junction? I realize I could suggest XO or Twister, but I'd prefer a regular bar with a Karaoke night, rather than private Karaoke rooms. Seems the Gladstone has its regulars, so I'd prefer a place that non-regulars get some play. Thanks for any ideas.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: prima

                                                  I felt the Gladstone worked really hard not to let their regulars take over.

                                                2. Bump.
                                                  Anyone have a new favourite spot? Or a rec for a favourite summer cocktail made at any of the places already mentioned?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: prima

                                                    Not new but we always enjoy Crooked Star at Dundas and Ossington if in the area. The patio is kind of meh, but the noise levels are usually tolerable and service is warm.

                                                    I'm finding the need for places that facilitate conversation more important. Possibly it's about getting older but never really noticed it being so irritating until just a few years ago. It seems less about the music levels and more about tables of people shouting over each other.

                                                    1. re: prima

                                                      Did something of a crawl a couple of months back with some friends in that demographic and tried a number of places on Ossington. Foxley, Reposado and Bellwoods Brewery all have decent patios and didn't seem to count the wrinkles. Decent apps (Foxley's whole menu is small dishes). From the point of view of decent places where you won't be treated as soylent green, The Saint, Salt, Boehmer, and Hawker Bar are decent places to sit down and nibble with a bevvy or two.

                                                      1. re: Snarf

                                                        Agree with you on The Saint and Boehmer, and Foxley in the hood.

                                                        I would also add to your list:
                                                        Dakota (not during music acts, obv)
                                                        Julie's (beautiful patio, slow service)
                                                        Union 72

                                                      2. re: prima

                                                        I've been seaching for the exact same specs for my pub club which covers several age groups. We wanted a relaxed location, ability to enjoy our conversations, good beer, patio as a bonus. We loved the Imperial Pub (upstairs) which is a loveable dive bar. Would appreciate more suggestions as we love to try new places.