chris atchison/metro toronto
McVeigh’s Irish Pub
124 Church St.
Ambience: Ignore the drab façade and aroma from the washrooms that greet you on your way through the first set of doors because what lies behind door number two is an extremely cosy, inviting Irish pub suitable for a big night out with friends or a quick pint after work. The pictures and quotes from Irish literary luminaries such as Brendan Behan, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce tip a hat to the self-deprecation and delightfully sarcastic tones that define the traditional humour of the Emerald Isle; the décor also reflects the easy-going tone McVeigh’s attempts to convey. The tables, chairs and old-fashioned wall murals may remind you of that tavern your grandpa used to drink at, only with a much more varied demographic appeal. Those who appreciate traditional Irish music will be in their glory as musicians play the small stage here most nights of the week (fiddlers on Tuesdays!) while upstairs the bar is open Thursdays for comedy night.
Crowd: Unlike Grandpa’s tavern, this pub doesn’t cater specifically to old-timers discussing their glory days, but a much more diverse crowd composed about evenly of men and women in their late twenties and older.
Dress code: It’s fairly easy to follow because there isn’t any to speak of. McVeigh’s is about as casual as they come.
Should I dance on the bar?: Probably not the bar, but maybe a table — especially on St. Patrick’s Day.
Will I get lucky?: There’s almost no chance, but you’ve still got the feeling of warmth after spending a night at a welcoming pub with friends to tuck you into bed at night. Not the same? I didn’t think so.
Best accessory: Any piece of clothing that reflects your real — or imagined — Irish heritage.
Cocktail du jour: Beer, beer and more beer — and a few good Irish whiskies, as well. The draught selection is predictable — Guinness, Caffrey’s — but gets the job done nicely on a cold winter’s night, as do the top shelf selections of spirits. Slàinte!
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Sunday.