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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Ceili Cottage - Update

The Ceili Cottage is currently under construction. As I mentioned here on January 15th, the news of this traditional Irish local opening in Toronto's Leslieville has caused some excitement, leading to numerous readers sending emails inquiring about the opening date, and asking about what the proposed beer selection will look like.

I am just as curious about this new place as everyone else. Owner Patrick McMurray shared his visions and his ideas with me back in January and they all sounded amazing - and the location is very close to my apartment, leading to excitement of my own. So with that in mind, and after getting all your emails, I decided to pay the Ceili Cottage a visit to catch up with McMurray and get some 'before' shots of the old garage. Or as McMurray likes to call it, the 'Durty Auld Garrage.'

This is the building where the 'local' will be. 1301 Queen Street East. The building once housed an auto shop and has been around since the early 70's (so McMurray believes). It might not look like much now, but it should look great when the renovations are complete.

This is the front room where the garage office used to be. It is not a big room, just perfect though for an Irish snug. "There will be a couple of pews situated around the walls in this room," stated McMurray. The renovations are underway in this room as you can see in the picture. The ceiling will be left exposed - showing off the wooden rafters; the walls will be cleaned up, but left exposed; and the windows will stay, letting in some natural light. The floor boards will be planked, and dark in colour. There is a door leading to the back room (not pictured), so let's head there.

This is the back room where the bar will be. "I have a good idea where everything will be situated once the brick and rubble are moved out. This week the floor will be dug up and removed. It will be leveled out, and then the markings go on the floor." I'm listening to McMurray explain his vision and I can actually picture it in my head, something I can't put on paper (or in this case computer) to give you the clearest picture. This room will feature a stand-up piano for all to play, the bar (where there will be some good beer to sup on), more pews, a small dance floor, a set-up for oyster shucking and more. Irish artwork will cover one wall (the wall where you'll see McMurray in the pic) and books and bottles will line a shelf on the wall to the left, above the cut-out window. The beer - as mentioned earlier; McMurray plans to have a number of stouts from Ontario, Quebec and Guinness. He also plans on having many Ontario craft beers on tap as well.

Back outside. In front of the van is a garage door, which will be a victim of the renovations. However, it will be replaced with large french doors and another window. In front of the door will be a small cooking station for the summer months. To the left of the van, in front of the two windows, will be the patio, which will be almost as big as the inside. McMurray has plans to cook outside in the summer, which I imagine will attract people in off the street. You can see a metal fence in the shot - it might give way to a white picket fence in the future - or a stone fence. Along the right side of the van (sorry for no shot) McMurray plans to start growing some hops, hoping they'll spread along the length of the entrance.

And there you have it, the 'before' shots of the Ceili Cottage. McMurray plans on getting everything done and ready for opening for the middle to end of April. "We still have a lot of work, but I'm here all the time, everyday, working away."

Stay tuned for more news as the local progresses.


Anonymous said...

Wow, those are quite the "before" pictures. Looks like a lot of work ahead. Best of luck with an April ETA!

Anonymous said...

Ceili Cottage is open now:

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