chris atchison/metro toronto
The Jersey Giant Pub
71 Front St. E.
Ambience: Like any pub, the Jersey Giant has traditional trappings that fans adore — intimate tables, dimly-lit surrounds, the stench of beer virtually soaked into the woodwork, and a line of solo regulars propping up the bar. Is it just me, or are they usually oddly silent? Anyway, the Giant boasts all those features, but with a couple extras such as the cosy back pool room adorned with a small jukebox where groups can play and mingle in private, high, beamed ceilings that evoke a Tudor-era feel and some couches for lounging. Put simply, management hasn’t gone out of its way to re-write the rules of pub design, but friendly staff and a slightly eclectic crowd make the trip to Front Street worthwhile.
Crowd: Again, there are the grizzled regulars at the bar, but from there the clientele diversifies wildly, ranging from students, to hipster types, to older area residents. None are out to prove a point (or themselves), but are just there for beers with friends and maybe a game or two of pool.
Dress code: No shirt, no shoes, no service. That’s about the extent of their sartorial requirements.
Should I dance on the bar? It wouldn’t be a wise decision.
Will I get lucky? There’s enough character and life in this crowd that you just might find romance between the beer-stained carpet and wood-beamed ceiling.
Best Conversation Topic: Anything sports related should suffice-unless you’re talking to some of the pub’s artsy clientele. Then opt for Chomsky or Feist.
Cocktail du jour: Do you really need to ask? Like any pub, the Jersey Giant offers a solid range of domestic and import beers on tap, and most of the clientele indulge in the hops-and-barley selections on offer.
The vodka and scotch choices are also worth investigating, the former especially for lovers of fruit-flavoured summer cocktails.
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.