Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Fitzgerald Public House: Toronto, ON

On one of my many walks down Queen Street East, I happened to stumble upon the Fitzgerald Public House located at 2298 Queen Street East at the end of the streetcar line. I have probably walked by this place half a dozen times already as it’s hard to miss. You can tell by the picture.

The Fitzgerald Public House has occupied the building since 1978 and is now owned by a husband and wife combination. I entered the pub around 1pm and I found myself to be the only patron inside. I took a seat at the very old, cherry stained bar, located on the main level of the two storey building and ordered a beer. Katie, my server, brought me a pint of Mill Street Organic Lager to quench my thirst from all the walking. I glanced down the bar to see what else is available and to no surprise I find a bunch of national brand lagers. Rickard’s White, Canadian, Stella, Keith’s, Keith’s Red, Guinness, Strongbow, Carlsberg and Mill Street round out the draught list.

After glancing around the pub and speaking to Katie, I come to realize that this is a very comfortable place to consume a beer. The music is nice and relaxing as Frank Sinatra and other classical numbers ring down from the speakers. The 10 bar stools surrounding the ‘L’ shaped bar are covered in what I assume to be velvet, which is nice to sit on. Everything in this pub appears old, without the help of paint. I noticed an old church pew acting as bench seating in a corner off the left of the bar that added tons of charm. The lighting has been dimmed offering a nice amber glow throughout the pub. The hardwood floors are old and weathered and combined with the wooden pillars and the old Toronto Maple Leafs pictures on the walls, reminded me of an old saloon from a western movie.

Up a flight of creaky old stairs you’ll find the Fitzgerald’s Lounge. There are many couches and love seats that are situated near the windows looking out over Queen Street. Games like Clue, Snakes and Ladders and Scrabble are made available for customers to play, and Katie mentions it’s a good place to have a first date. The bar is curvy with a beautiful painted mural over head. There are some imported beers available upstairs in the Lounge as it tends to cater to a different crowd then downstairs.

The Fitzgerald also has a large patio at the rear of their main level that gets lots of use in the summer months.

Katie and I talk about the status of pubs along this stretch of Queen Street and she told me that Fitzgerald’s caters mainly to regulars. Many people that live or work in the area usually stop by for a pint after work, play a game of darts or come to watch the Leafs in action with some buddies. In the summer months though, Katie says the pubs sees many visitors as people come from all around to visit Toronto’s beaches. It is a nice mix of people and many return every summer for some drinks and food.

There are only two things that appeared out of place in a pub with so much character; the Big Buck Hunter arcade game near the entrance to the outdoor patio and the pull down screen and projector that play sports later in the nights.

The Fitzgerald Public House is a nice intimate pub that I will make sure to visit again soon. The upstairs lounge would be a nice destination after a busy week of working to go and relax with a loved one over some drinks.

2298 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great little place and I could see you being another one of the regulars there.

Jo-dee Hayes said...

I have been invited to join a few friends tomorrow evening at Fitzgerald's to watch a mutual friend perform. I Googled the location as I have never heard of it. now realising that I too have walkeed by a dozen times, and reading these reviews - I must say I look forward to going. Thank you for posting your reviews, very helpful. See you there maybe!

Ed Simms said...

In the early to late 80's Fitzgerald's was much a different than place than it is now.
The upstairs was an excellent - small, intimate dining room that served great seafood (The grilled whole trout was delicious), steaks, homemade soups, chicken and pasta dishes.
They had a decent wine list and an impressive selection of Canadian and Imported beers.
I had many a great meal there back then when I lived in the Beach.
The best table in the room was a small table for two near a fireplace overlooking Queen east.
There were no games.. no sofas.. just wooden chairs and tables.
On Friday night there was usually live entertainment. Maybe an jazzy acoustic guitarist, or a guitar/flute duo.
The downstairs was basic pub fare.. much as described in the review.
There was also an outdoor patio in the back at one point.
The last time I was there was in 1990. It has changed much since then judging by the review.
But back in the 80's it was one of my favourite locals.. either for a great meal in a quiet setting, or for beer and pub eats downstairs.
In fact I took my wife there on our first official date. So a lot of memories tied up in Fitzgerald's.

Unknown said...

I'm the Fitzy in FitzGerald's - the building was an old house when my business partner and I took it on as a site for possibility! In 1978, it was the first licensed establishment in the area and we weren't sure the city was going to grant us the liquor license. But they did! My life partner was an architect student at Ryerson who designed and carried out most of the renos. Friends always seemed on hand and enthusiastic to be part of putting the place together. We spent more than a year buying up flea market and antique furniture, going to restaurant auctions for kitchen equipment, stripping multiple layers of old paint from, and refinishing, tables and chairs. If memory serves me well, the bar we made out of an antique oak door and a brass rail. The menu upstairs was for fine dining and the downstairs as noted by an original regular, was for the pub crowd. It was a fun venture, but I think I slept about 2-3 hours a night the year we opened. Full house every night upstairs and down. People loved the food. Desserts were home-made by some very creative women living in the Beach. Tablecloths went home every night to be washed and re-set for the next day's lunch. There's history in them thar' floorboards and seatstools. Thanks Queen St East- enders for some great memories.

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