The Duke Patio Guide

Summer has finally arrived here in Toronto and if there’s one thing all Torontonians love it’s a great patio. Whether you’re grabbing a bite to eat after work or meeting friends for a drink or two, each Duke pub has the perfect patio to suit your needs. Let’s take a look at the different patios in the Duke Family and see what’s shaking on each of them.

The Duke of Devon

The calm before the storm at the Duke of Devon. Arrive early and ensure you get a seat!

Happy Hour Hot Spot

The downtown Dukes are buzzing with the after work crowd. Watch as businessmen loosen their ties and roll up their sleeves under the sun of the Duke of Devon or Duke of Westminster patios. Sneak out of the office and you might even be able to snag a bottle of vino for half price, available until 4pm. Better yet make it a working lunch and take a colleague or client out for lunch, they don’t need to know the wine is half off. If you’re more into lounging, the Devon is a great spot with couches and loveseats to get cozy as the sun goes down. Remember these spots are happening during the week so head to bed early on Sunday night.

There's plenty of room for large parties at the Duke of York.

There’s plenty of room for large parties at the Duke of York.

Summer Sabbaticals

Students and academics head to the shady and relaxed patio of the Duke of York, located in the Annex. This patio is very accommodating for larger groups thanks to large picnic tables and benches. The overhanging branches add a backyard feel and provide an escape from the blistering afternoons we can experience here in Toronto. Since it’s so close to the University of Toronto campus don’t be surprised if you rub suede patches with a professor or two, but let’s be serious, who wears a blazer in the summer. 

Stormy Weather

Typical weekends often see the clouds roll in and nothing can be more frustrating than wanting to be outside when it’s raining. I, myself, can admit to childlike tantrums when I’m craving a Caesar on a patio on a Sunday afternoon. The solution? The Duke of Somerset. With a good ol’ roof overhead, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying a drink outside while staying dry and comfortable and don’t worry if the sun comes out on pint 3 or 4, because seating is also available without cover. It really is the best of both worlds.

Stop and Stare, but then look away

Although you might enjoy the company of your friends, nothing tops the entertaining art of people watching. Both the Duke of Richmond and Duke of Kent rule the foot traffic game, and as conversation fades, people turn their heads to see what characters the city of Toronto has to offer. Whether spotting the latest fashion trends, or helping tourists with directions, the combination of strollers will amaze even those who have been living in Toronto for decades. Don’t be surprised if you run into someone you know or have the overwhelming urge to ask a passerby about their adorable dog. The exposed nature of these patios makes you want to make friends.

Be ready for anything on the bustling patio at the Duke of Kent.

Be ready for anything on the bustling patio at the Duke of Kent.

These two patios are also prime locations for date night. Composed mainly of tables for two, they are the perfect spot for dinner or post movie drinks. It’s important to note the tables are close enough to get in on other people’s conversations, so if you’re about to tell your date that you’re really into them, make sure you whisper or the whole patio is going to know too.  And if things are going very well, don’t worry, the Kent is open until 2am.

Duke Patio Guide

6 Pubs? 6 Breweries? Me?

When I woke up on the morning of the Duke Pubs Beer Fest, I have to say, I had my doubts. The air was damp and chilly, the sky grey and ominous. 6 Pubs? 6 Breweries? On a dreary day? No chance. Needless to say, I was happily mistaken.

All ready to go!

Everyone was ready to get the party started at the Duke of Devon.

When I arrived at the Duke of Devon, in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District I was happy to see a packed patio of beer lovers and weekend strollers enjoying samples of Creemore Springs Lager and their new addition Hops &Bolts under the Mad & Noisy brewery name. The Duke’s chefs were serving baby back ribs and Black and Blue Steak Salad, the perfect complement to the

beers being showcased. The sun was shining as beer expert extraordinaire Roger Mittag

Baby back ribs, anyone?

Baby back ribs, anyone?

explained how Creemore continues to impress craft beer lovers with their commitment to high quality brews.

After trying the Hops & Bolts, I sauntered up the street to the nearby Duke of Westminster, where the Keith’s Hop Series was being sampled. Guests were able to try both the Hallertauer Hop Ale & the Cascade Hop Ale, and were also encouraged to guess which hops were used for each beer. And what was the prize for guessing correctly? Keith’s own Cascade Hop Ale hot sauce.  We were then taken for a tour of the Westminster’s keg fridge, as BetterBeer.com Founder and Certified Cicerone, Steve Riley, explained

what exactly goes in to serving up your perfect pint. While chatting in the fridge I was lucky enough to meet Keith’s super fan Tim Spears and wife Sharon Casey. I assumed that Spears must be from the East Coast but when I asked him he reported, “Nope. East York!” He went on to tell me he’s been a fan of the beer ever since he began serving it decades ago at the Royal Winter Fair. One sip and he never went back. I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll run into these two Keith’s fans.

The clouds had disappeared when I, along with a travelling crew of Duke Pub crawlers, arrived at the lively Duke of Richmond. The Doin’ Time Bluegrass Band had everyone hand clapping and foot stomping, while we sampled the flavourful, unfiltered SteamWhistle Pilsner. Inside, Mirella Amato, renowned Canadian Master Cicerone, educated the crowd on the history of Pilsner.  I even managed to get a hold of my very own Steam Whistle whistle, much to the dismay of my companions.

Clap yer hands and Stomp yer feet at the Duke of Richmond

Clap yer hands and Stomp yer feet at the Duke of Richmond

With half the Dukes down, the travelling crowd continued to become more sociable and boisterous. My favourite beer Guinness was on special at the Duke of Somerset where guests were welcome to step up and try their hands on the tap. Guests were awarded with “Perfect Pint” certificates as proof of their “in-depth training.”

Fullers_Take_PrideWith two pubs left to go, and after delicious mini burgers and snacks, I’ll admit I was on the hunt for dessert. Luckily, the Duke of Kent was serving Fuller’s London Pride Ale and Fuller’s Black Cab Stout.  I found nothing balances the bitterness of these two beers like a Sticky Toffee Pudding or a Chocolate Fudge Brownie. This made the venture up to Yonge and Eglinton more than worth it.

The Duke of York was my final destination.  The patio was full but I managed to find a spot next to Moosehead Brand Manager, Deirdre McDonald. She recommended I try the Twisted Tea, which she informed me has been flying off the shelves at The Beer Store so far this summer. It was love at first sip. If you love iced tea and summer, you will love this beer. I sat there sipping my beer listening to Don Campbell cover Mumford and Sons and looked around the bustling patio and thought to myself, “Damn. This has been a good day.” It goes without saying, I was asleep before 10pm.

The Duke Pubs Beer Festival is coming!

Join us Saturday, June 8th

Join us Saturday, June 8th

We are super excited our Duke Pubs Beer Festival is just around the corner! We’ll have food pairings, seriously fun beer activities, and well-respected guest speakers from Toronto’s beer community.

Please join us on Saturday, June 8th as each Duke Pub showcases a different brewery:

2-4 p.m.
Duke of Devon – Creemore: The Original Craft Beer
Duke of Westminster – An Afternoon Sociable with Alexander Keith’s

4-6 p.m.
Duke of Richmond – A Steam Whistle Shindig
Duke of Somerset – Havin’ the Craic with Guinness

6-8 p.m.
Duke of Kent – Bitter, Dark and Sweets with Fuller’s

6-10 p.m.
Duke of York – Moosehead and Friends on the Patio

Duke Pubs Beer Festival Schedule of Events

Duke Pubs Beer Festival Schedule of Events

 

Entry to our Beer Festival is free. This year the Duke Pubs are supporting the SickKids Research and Learning Tower. All donations are welcome.