What Toronto bar would suit a book club meeting?
August 28, 2009 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Torontofilter: Can anyone recommend a good pub/bar in Toronto (downtown) where a book club could meet to discuss our book of the month? We'd need seating for about 10-12 people and preferably not too noisy.

To give you an example of a place we liked was Betty's. Low key and not overly pricey.
posted by jmmpangaea to Food & Drink (16 answers total)
What day of the week / time of day would you be going?
posted by modernnomad at 8:32 AM on August 28, 2009

Response by poster: Always on a Friday and usually around 5pm. Thanks.
posted by jmmpangaea at 8:37 AM on August 28, 2009

It might be bigger than you need but there's a very nice back room at the Dominion Pub on Queen St E. The Corktown Ukulele Group meets there. I have no idea what they might charge.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:45 AM on August 28, 2009

(hastily erases all suggestions)

That's a difficult time to find a quiet bar in downtown Toronto. All of the places I was thinking of - the Pilot, the Imperial, Sin and Redemption - are either going to be doing big after-work-drinks or early-dinner business. You're going to need a place a little off the beaten track.

Unfortunately, that's the best answer I can give. It's a complete non-answer, but basically any pub that is quiet on a Friday evening is going to have a tough time paying rent. It's hard enough finding a bar where two people can have a quiet drink, let alone a dozen.

Hopefully someone else will post an answer that proves me wrong.
posted by flipper at 8:48 AM on August 28, 2009

The Central at Bathurst & Bloor is pretty accommodating -- that's where my bookclub meets.

If you're planning on eating, you want the foosball room, since you'll have tables, though it'll be noisier. If you're not planning on eating, ask for the upstairs back room with the cushy chairs, which is quieter and more comfy.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:03 AM on August 28, 2009

I had friends who used to really like the Imperial Public Library on Dundas just east of Yonge. I haven't been there, but they said that downstairs was more barlike, but upstairs (the Library bit) was more quiet, with couches and books and magasines. But this is sometime ago (okay, 15 years), and I don't know how quiet it is now, especially on a Friday.

That said, have you considered going to a restaurant or liscenced cafe instead of a bar? You would probably find many restaurants very quiet at 5pm, and they wouldn't mind people coming into drink and maybe have an appetizer.
posted by jb at 10:15 AM on August 28, 2009

Ah - I think flipper just pointed out that the Imperial is loud on a Friday at 5.
posted by jb at 10:16 AM on August 28, 2009

Agree with everyone else - Finding a quiet place on Friday at 5:00 sounds tricky.

You might want to try and find a place that has a small private room and would let you reserve it.

Paupers on Bloor has a small (maybe too small?) private room. Or the Duke of Gloucester on Yonge just a bit below bloor - they have a few rooms, maybe they would let you reserve one.
posted by ManInSuit at 11:23 AM on August 28, 2009

Holy Oak Cafe in Blansdowne in licensed now, and is pretty quiet. It's never been too busy when I've been, so you should fit fine.

Ciros, also in Blansdowne, might work. They have lots of bigger tables at the back. It's kind of poorly lit though. At 5:00 this might not be much of an issue, though in the Winter it'd probably be really dark.
posted by chunking express at 11:35 AM on August 28, 2009

Mind you, Blansdowne is West of downtown proper, but it's on the subway line. As others have said, finding a quiet bar in the city proper on a Friday night might be a bit of a non-starter. Lots of places are going to have an after-work happy hour crowd.
posted by chunking express at 11:37 AM on August 28, 2009

Pauper's has a small private room on the main floor, which is pretty quiet at 5pm on a friday.
posted by SassHat at 12:14 PM on August 28, 2009

Response by poster: These are all great. Thanks everyone.
posted by jmmpangaea at 12:48 PM on August 28, 2009

More of a coffee shop than a pub, but they have an upstairs are that might work: Tequila Bookworm on Queen W.

Foggy Dew won't necessarily be quiet, but they have a small-ish room off to the left or a big table at the back that could work.
posted by nometa at 1:03 PM on August 28, 2009

If you don't mind heading out to Cabbagetown, Chapter 11 might fit the bill (and the name is perfect, n'est-ce pas?). They have a nice seating area in the back that's often quiet and has a fireplace and board games and other nice things.
posted by greatgefilte at 3:33 PM on August 28, 2009

Chapter 11 was great, but sadly they are no more. 557 Parliament is now a lighting boutique. I heard rumours that the bar was planning on moving to the Annex, but I'm not sure if that ever came to be.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:14 PM on August 29, 2009

Well, damn. Sorry to see it go. At least it went out eponysterically.
posted by greatgefilte at 6:58 AM on September 4, 2009

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