Food & Drink

5 Great British Pubs in Toronto

Knowing that there are so many great ‘Brit-themed’ pubs in downtown Toronto, it was one of our main goals to find the best ones as quickly as possible. These are our top selections to try out:

Elephant & Castle

The Elephant & Castle gets included mainly because of its great location and ambiance. If you get off the subway at St. Andrew and walk a few minutes West on King, you’ll find it right in the downtown core. The pub itself has two bars, a lot of space for big groups and pool tables, and has good music, so it’s a good place to go for late lunch or dinner. They also have stained glass at the bar, a fairly wide selection of ales and cider, and a really good British pub grub.

Elephant & Castle can be found at:
212 King St W
Toronto, ON M5H 1K5

Bar Wellington

Bar Wellington is an awesome summertime pub. It has two patios and is located in a quieter part of the west side of Toronto. The space inside is quite narrow and cramped, but it goes back far and up a number of levels, giving it a ‘London pub’ feel. it is probably one of the oldest pubs we’ve been to in the city, which gives it ‘Brit points.’ You won’t find many British culinary options on the menu; its main attraction for us as a British pub is the decor and the ‘red brick’ aspect, which most pubs here don’t feature.

Awesome view of the CN Tower from the Bar Wellington rooftop

It also has an awesome view of the CN Tower from the rooftop patio.

Bar Wellington can be found at:
520 Wellington St W
Toronto, ON M5V 1E3

Duke of Kent

Duke of Kent, Toronto

The Duke of Kent is an awesome little pub to hang out in if you’re in Midtown Toronto in the trendy Yonge/Eglinton district. The Duke of Kent has the look and feel of what a good English pub should be. Great for a Friday night and even better for getting a bit tipsy. We like to go here on a night out; the comedy club is just up the street, and there are plenty of other bars and pubs to move on to if you get bored. The food is, well, British and not too pricey.

Duke of Kent is at:
2315 Yonge St
Toronto, ON M4P 2C6

Queen & Beaver

We took a bunch of friends (mostly non-Brits) here to watch a football game (we won’t talk about it anymore; please don’t stop reading!). The reason we enjoyed it so much was because of the amount of effort they put into accommodating our group. Karin arrived early to get a table but found that in each of their 3 rooms, all with TVs set up for the game, there was just no space. She immediately talked to the Manager, who took her down to a room next to the kitchen with a massive long table and private TV just for our group. Not only that, but the food was absolutely delicious!

For watching sports down the ‘local’ like back home, you would be hard-pressed to find a better pub to recreate the same atmosphere.

This is a fab pub for foodies and football lovers alike (and that’s without even mentioning the entertainment in the men’s bathroom – you’ll have to go there to find out what we mean).

Go there now:
35 Elm St
Toronto, ON M5G 1H1

The Fox 

Number 1 on our list is a pub we keep going back to. Easily the best location in the city, the Fox is right by Harbourfront, south of Bay, so anytime you’re by Union station, it’s a must-visit. It has a modern and tasteful Brit decor, a big patio which is great for people watching and gets a nice amount of sun in the afternoon. It serves good beers, ciders, wines, and more and has a tasty but affordable menu, with Creme Brulee on the dessert list. It is a good place for big groups and events; we were introduced to it through the Brit Meetup, and we try to attend once a month.

Creme Brulee from The Fox
Find the Fox at:
35 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M5J 1J5

What is special about British pubs?

British pubs in Toronto offer a unique and special experience that stands out in the city’s vibrant food and drink scene. Here’s what makes them special in the context of life in Toronto:

  1. A Taste of Britain: British pubs bring a little slice of the UK to Toronto. With traditional British decor, food, and drinks, they offer an authentic experience that can make you feel like you’ve stepped into a cozy pub in England or Scotland.
  2. Community Hub: Just like in the UK, British pubs in Toronto serve as social hubs where people gather to relax, chat, and enjoy each other’s company. They often become neighborhood favorites where regulars are known by name, creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
  3. Delicious Pub Grub: The food in British pubs is hearty and comforting, perfect for Toronto’s diverse culinary landscape. Dishes like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and Sunday roasts are a big draw, providing a change from the usual fare and a taste of British culture.
  4. Unique Beverages: British pubs in Toronto often feature a wide range of beers, including traditional ales, stouts, and imported British brews that you might not find elsewhere in the city. They also typically offer a selection of whiskies and other spirits.
  5. Eventful Evenings: These pubs frequently host events like trivia nights, live music, and sports screenings, particularly soccer (or football, as it’s known in the UK). It’s a great way to meet people and enjoy a fun night out.
  6. Cozy Atmosphere: British pubs are known for their warm, inviting interiors, often featuring wooden beams, fireplaces, and comfy seating. This cozy ambiance is perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of Toronto and enjoying a relaxed meal or drink.
  7. Cultural Experience: For those who have a connection to the UK or are simply fans of British culture, these pubs offer a familiar and nostalgic experience. They provide a cultural touchstone, whether you’re a British expat, a traveler reminiscing about a trip, or just someone who enjoys British traditions.
  8. Outdoor Spaces: Many British pubs in Toronto have charming patios or beer gardens, which are perfect for enjoying a pint outdoors during the warmer months. It’s a lovely way to soak up the city’s vibrant atmosphere while enjoying a bit of British hospitality.

What is the difference between a bar and a pub?

The differences between a bar and a pub can be subtle but important. Pubs, short for “public houses,” typically offer a cozy, welcoming, and often rustic atmosphere designed for comfort and relaxation. They feature traditional decor like wooden beams and fireplaces, and they provide a mix of seating options to create a homey environment. Pubs emphasize both food and drinks, serving hearty and comforting dishes such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and Sunday roasts alongside a variety of beverages, including traditional ales and imported British beers.

In contrast, bars often have a more modern, sleek, and sometimes louder atmosphere, focusing primarily on socializing and entertainment. They can range from casual sports bars to trendy cocktail lounges, with a primary emphasis on serving a wide range of alcoholic drinks. While some bars do offer food, it is usually lighter fare compared to the substantial meals found in pubs. The ambiance in bars tends to be more energetic and dynamic, catering to a different kind of social experience than the relaxed and community-focused vibe of a pub.

If you come visit Toronto on holiday or for longer, we recommend you check these places out.  If you live here, let us know your views and if there are any you think we’ve missed! One thing for sure is that it is a lot easier finding a great British pub than it is finding a great Indian restaurant to eat at here.

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About the author
Growing up in Detroit, Lindsey is a Michigan State University alumnus. She feels incredibly lucky to live in Detroit, and much more, to spend her days promoting the Detroit area as a travel destination.