The traditional gold lettering set against a black wall might bring to mind Foxes, Fiddles and Firkins, but this is no cookie-cutter ye olde pub. Behind the simple black doors is a serious chef, 20 local craft and imported beers on tap, another 30 by the bottle, fat leather wingbacks and the welcoming aroma of smouldering peat.
“I wanted to design a place that I would want to live in, where I would feel cozy,” says 37-year-old co-owner Erin Gamelin, a 22-year industry vet. Her co-owner (and partner) is Craig Abbott, a mail carrier by morning and carpenter and builder of one really big pub by afternoon. Completely gutting the 20-year-old Brass Taps location, the pair created a brand new bi-level, 106-seat space that is warm and relaxing—think dark wood floors and wainscoting, red-brick walls decked out with photos from Ireland, Arts and Crafts lighting, yellow-gold banquettes and velvet curtains.
In the kitchen, chef Yehuda Goldberg creates what he’s dubbed “comfort food with class.” The George Brown grad has come home after several years in Europe cooking under the likes of two-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Paul Lacombe of Brasserie Léon in Lyon, France. Now he’s busy roasting veal bones, reducing ales and attempting to elevate pub grub classics—prime rib sandwich, chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie—beyond the usual greasy fare. In his devil’s beef stew ($15.49), Ontario Angus is aged 41 days, then braised over six hours in red wine and Great Lakes Brewery’s Devil’s Pale Ale. Cameron’s fish and chips ($15.49) is a gargantuan 10 ounces of haddock, battered in Cameron’s Dark Ale and served on a mound of chunky fries with homemade tartar sauce.
Sunday afternoons feature a drop-in ceili—an Irish (and Newfoundland) tradition of homemade music and beer—but don’t expect to find Guinness on tap. “I like to deal with the underdog, and the small craft brewers are the underdogs,” says Gamelin. “They are all about passion, care and quality.” Instead, she might pull you a proper pint of Murphy’s Irish Stout or a frosty Rock Creek Cider (both $6.73). And if making a choice proves difficult, flights of four five-ounce beers are only $7.49.
Stout Irish Pub, 221 Carlton St., 647-344-7676, stoutirishpub.ca.