PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: Liberty for all at Toronto’s Brazen Head
Finding a great pub while travelling is great; finding one in your hometown is even better; but finding one in your hometown that reminds you of travelling is surely the ultimate – after all, it’s the best of both worlds: ease of access, faraway dreams.
That’s how I felt this week when I discovered the Brazen Head in Toronto, or, I should say, was introduced to it, thanks to Tourism Ireland, which hosted an event there.
I dare say I know a few pubs in T.O., but this one was unknown to me, largely because it exists in the newish Liberty Village neighbourhood which many locals aren’t familiar with (myself included). It’s an area bordered by Strachan in the east, Dufferin in the west, King Street (and Lamport Stadium) on the north, and the CNE in the south.
I must say the bustling Village surprised me – a neat mixed-use enclave of new-build condos and offices wrapped around neighbourhood retail and dining options and set amongst and encompassing historical manufacturing and industrial buildings that date in some cases to the late 1800s.
Which is to say, it reminded a lot of London or Dublin, not least the Brazen Head, which, being an Irish pub, would particularly be at home in Temple Bar.
The interior of the pub is spacious with both bar and dining area, the latter centred by a fireplace. Where the multi-level establishment perhaps differs (in a good way) from the traditional British/Irish city pub is its extensive patio space, with not one, but three spaces, including at ground level and on the rooftop. A cocktail bar dubbed The Black Sheep can also be found upstairs.
An extensive daily tap menu offers close to two dozen craft offerings from the GTA and southern Ontario – I had a tasty Barking Squirrel – plus Ireland and further afield, along with wines, seltzers, ciders, and cocktails. Food is elevated pub fare ranging from poutine to fish and chips, meatloaf, and salads. My bacon-cheeseburger was gone quite quickly.
I was there at lunch on a Tuesday, so out of time for the live music sessions Thursday to Saturday nights, nor was the fire yet roaring. But believe that I will be back there again.
The Brazen Head is located 165 E. Liberty, nearer the Strachan end of the village. There’s limited (paid) parking in front, but a big lot a short stroll away (plus street parking). It’s open daily 12-12 Mon.-Wed., noon-2 a.m. Thurs.-Fri., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat., and 11 a.m.-midnight Sundays.
With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:
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First published at Travel Industry Today