From the guy that brought us The Bristol, and before that The Bristol Yardie, Davy Love’s latest venture in Toronto is the Old Laurel pub (apparently a nod to the Fred Perry logo found on clobber often favoured by mods) located at College and Spadina.
In Davy’s words, “The new bar, will be a classic British pub, amped up with an added element of rock & roll, 1977 punk rock, ska, Trojan reggae and northern soul and elements of Britpop culture too – basically everything my friends and I like and grew up liking”.
From the outside, you are greeted with distinct lettering, letting you know that you have arrived. It looks cool and contemporary, and there’s clearly some sort of “Carlsberg” affiliation, with a number of signs above the door, and a projected image on the pavement.
Once inside, you literally feel like you have stepped into a classic British pub. Tudor-esque beams throughout the room, a group huddled around the dart boards at the back, and something you don’t see too often these days…a duke box! One observation made was that there were no telly’s, and once your selection from the duke box has ended, it’s back to the sounds of conversation and laughter. Exactly how a pub should be – a meeting place for friends to catch up, talk, drink and be merry.
The waitresses were very attentive once I had found myself a seat, immediately ringing off the list of beers that were on tap from Tetley’s and Fuller’s to the earlier mentioned Carlsberg. I was also very impressed with the menu, lots of British classics: bangers and mash, fish and chips with mushy peas, steak and kidney pie and not to mention a good ol’ vindaloo. Plenty of dishes that had me salivating and if the quality of these dishes are anything near that of what had come to be expected at the Bristol, well…
Hearty and comforting food in an almost lounge like environment – perfect!
Whilst waiting for my beans on toast dinner, I sat back and took a moment to soak up the atmosphere, listening to The Rolling Stones bellow out over the speakers – much to my satisfaction!
The food was great, staff friendly, a good ambiance – perfect for a Friday night. Currently the pub is a little minimalistic, but as time goes on, furniture can be added to give it more of that homely pub feel. The Bristol Yardie influence is already evident with a feature wall of Brit legend portraits.
I even spotted a Royal Air Force ensign behind the bar – very patriotic. Also behind the bar was a display of other beverages – Fosters, Newcastle Brown Ale and Boddington’s served in cans. I also clocked on to a couple of Brits sat at the bar ranting about the price of alcohol these days – it was a Friday after all.
Overall, a very pleasant experience. The Old Laurel can only get better. I was also made aware that there are a further 2 ajorning rooms to the main pub, one for intimate music gigs and the other to show the footie – Aston Villa fans are intent on making it their supporters hub.
If that’s not enough, there’s a newly opened Cat Café next door. Spot on!