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.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Whelan's Gate Irish Pub: Toronto:ON

Comfortable, intimate, warm, inviting and snug, are just some of the words one could use to describe the atmosphere of the independently owned Whelan's Gate Irish Pub.

Located at 1663 Bloor Street West, this popular pub had been serving locals for over 15 years in a nice old building with plenty of character. There are two levels at Whelan’s and a patio located at the front building.

The main level features a small bar at the back of the room along with five tables. Beer posters, signs, cans and bottles are scattered throughout this level rounded out with a mix of fall/autumn decorations. Old weathered hardwood floors and wooden beams look great with the white stucco ceiling and original brick that has been left exposed. There are a couple of televisions showing hockey and other sporting highlights, but are drowned out by Pearl Jam blasting from the speakers. Tolerable on a Friday night but hopefully not on a weekday afternoon.

Upstairs was just as nice. More tables can be found as well as some booths. There is a also a back room used for hosting a large group. Again, hardwood floors, wooden beams and old wooden furniture made for a nice setting with the dimmed lighting. On the night I visited, there was live music. The bar staff informs us that musicians rotate between gigs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The singer was great and entertaining which added to my night.

The beer selection consisted of some imported beers and a couple of micro-brewed beers. Amsterdam 2 Fisted Stout, Oktoberfest and Blonde, St. Ambroise Pale Ale, Kronenburg 1664, Stella, Strongbow, Labatt 50, Keith's, Keith's Red, Creemore Springs, Smithwicks, Harp, Kilkenny and Guinness, which happens to be a big seller. The bar is nice and dated and an old beer fridge can be found behind it which is creative decorating. You don't seem to see that everyday in a pub.

I spoke with a couple of regulars who have been coming to Whelan's for years due to the hospitality and kindness they receive from the staff. They also understand they are supporting an independent owner and it makes them feel good doing so.

It was a great visit with some good friends who have made it their local. With the exception of the loud Pearl Jam music downstairs, Whelan's Gate is a terrific pub that all classes of society will enjoy.

1663 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON


Anonymous said...

I have been to Whelan's before when I was younger and recall loving it. Great ambiance and terrific staff. Next time I make it back to Toronto, I am going to stop by for a pint or two.


Anonymous said...

I think this is the best Irish pub in Toronto...It's real !!
not one of thise "out of the box" wanna be's. And the really care about the Guinness.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I cannot say the same, yesterday a few of friends and I went to this bar. The service was the worst I have ever experienced. The waitress was very rude, if she decided to speak to us at all. There was something wrong with the bill so we asked her to fix it and she would have none of it. She even accused us of wanting to skip out on the bill for no apparent reason, and the worst part is she did that to our friend's whose birthday it was. We used to go to this pub every couple of weeks, but after this horrible experience, I'm sad to say last night was my last visit. But alas the waitress said "I don't care about your business" when we were just simply trying to get things worked out..but the owner might care.

Troy Burtch said...

Anonymous #3

That is too bad. I have had service like that before (not at Whelan's) and know what it's like. Hopefully they will smarten up, and one day you should give them another try.

Anonymous said...

I really love this pub. The service varies for me, sometimes I get the really nice and friendly gal and other times I just get the not so friendly staff member. But I do love the food, the atmosphere and the co-owner is awesome! They are really into keeping the Irish feeling alive. Excellent place!

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