The latest addition to gentrifying Beaconsfield Village is a simple space that’s designed to service the increasing number of residents moving into the area. Opening just in time for Euro 2012, Dog and Bear is a traditional British pub from Richard Lambert and Jesse Girard (Parts and Labour, The Hoxton), along with co-owners Stefan Brogren (yes, that Stefan Brogren), Michael Homewood, Kenny Hotz (yes, that Kenny), Richie Smith, Jamie Webster and Benn Young. The aim: to provide a unintimidating place for neighbourhood folks to hunker down for a drink and watch a game or two. Lambert tells us that the pub was inspired by his father’s similarly named pub in Canterbury, England, and that he’s simultaneously excited and nervous about Lambert senior seeing the space for the first time in August.
All 3,750 square feet of what used to be TheSocial (Lambert and Girard’s party-centric place) has been revamped: the yellow brick walls have been exposed, the ceiling beams have been restored and there’s a new slate floor. The bar is now on the west wall, outfitted with brass taps, with velvet-laden booths flanking the east wall. The wide space dividing the bar from the booths provides ample room for patrons to gather around the many flat-screen TVs along the 30-foot bar. Among the period pieces decorating the place are vintage English ceramic toby mugs,Victorian-era portraits of the Royal Family, dog and bear drawings, images of Lords Gladstone and Dufferin, a Union Jack and a 1903 “God Save the King” banner. There’s also a private room tucked in the back and a space up front that opens onto Queen Street, furnished with plush red couches from Marty Millionaire.
Being a pub, Dog and Bear has about 20 beers on tap ($5–$8), including a number of Canadian (Creemore, Mill St.) and U.K. (Bass, Newcastle, Boddingtons) brews. Although the emphasis is on beers and ales, cocktail sippers and wine drinkers have a few options to choose from ($7-$12) as well. While Smith takes care of the front of house, chef Andrew Eade (Splendido, Luma, Scaramouche) heads up the back, serving hand-crafted pub food. Snacks range from curry-flavoured crisps ($3) to battered pickles ($4) and Welsh rarebit ($6). Heartier courses like the ploughman’s board ($15),smoked corn and haddock chowder ($6), chicken curry ($12) and bangers and mash ($12) are all nods to British classics, served with a Torontonian touch that includes local heirloom vegetables and herbs from Eade’s garden. The kitchen is open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving lunch, brunch and dinner fare; those looking for the hearty Full English ($12) will be happy to note that it’s available until 3 p.m. daily.