We count down the 12 Days to Christmas, why not the 17 Days to St. Patrick’s Day? If there’s one holiday that should be a season of cheer, it’s this one, we say. Here’s Edition 6 of the Vacay.ca St. Patrick’s Day in Canada Countdown — where we name 17 of the best Irish bars in the land!
Day 6: The Auld Spot, Toronto
Story by Adrian Brijbassi
TORONTO — If you choose to be Irish only one day of the year and even then prefer to go about it in an urban Canadian way, the Auld Spot Pub is the place to visit on March 17. It’s a little bit Irish, a little bit Scottish, but fully Toronto — and in this most multicultural of cities that’s something to celebrate.
On trendy College Street in the city’s Little Italy neighbourhood, the Auld Spot sets itself apart from traditional bars with an atmosphere that’s a touch more sophisticated and a menu from chef Josh Dalton that’s much bolder than the typical pub. Wild Boar Bangers & Mash ($20) will delight anyone looking for Irish flavours, while oysters from Rodney’s Oyster House will satisfy seafood lovers and salads made with organic, locally sourced ingredients will keep locavores happy.
“Everything is done from scratch, including our sauces,” says server Melissa Moore. “The only thing we source out is ketchup and mayonnaise, and we try to be organic with the rest of our ingredients wherever we can.”
The tasty Fish & Chips ($15 for one piece, $18 for two) features beer-battered halibut with good flavour and minimal grease.
“The food here is really nice,” says Patrick Kennedy, an Irishman from Tipperary who recently received his landed immigrant status in Canada. “When you do all that drinking you need a break to get some good food to make sure you stay sober, or can keep going a little bit longer, I should say.”
The Auld Spot, which has been open for two years, would be the place to come if you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without the shenanigans that go along with an overly boisterous crowd. Although there’s a Danforth Avenue location as well, the pub doesn’t have a corporate environment, which is another plus.
“It’s super cozy. It’s for those who want to go out without necessarily feeling like they want to fight huge crowds on that day,” Moore says.
St. Patrick’s Day plans: The Auld Spot on College Street will open at noon and have live music or DJs going until close. Best of all, though, is the special beer-based cocktails, some of which will also include Irish whisky. Dalton will also create an Irish-inspired menu for the day. There’s no cover charge and prizes will be given away.
Cost of a pint of Guinness: “We don’t have Guinness. We like to support our local breweries, so we offer Mill Street Cobblestone Stout instead,” Moore says. Pints of those brews from Toronto cost $6.85 ($7.74 after tax).
Have you got a favourite Irish pub? Tell us about it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature it in our countdown!