I have never been to London. I have never been to Scotland and I have never been to Ireland, but walking into The Feathers Pub on Kingston Road makes me feel like I have.
After arriving to Toronto in 1967 from Edinburgh, Scotland, Ian Innes took many years pondering about opening his own pub. "I think most Brits really want to open their own pub, at least in the old days," he said in an interview with The National Post back in 2003. It wasn't until 1981 that Innes decided to purchase and renovate an old furniture store into what is today known as The Feathers Pub. It is a wonderful watering hole in the upper part of Toronto's Beaches area where locals and regulars frequent often.
The pub isn't huge but it isn't tiny either. It's just the right size, accommodating close to 100 as there is no patio. There is long bench seating throughout the pub that is covered in red velvet as are the chairs at each table. Maroon coloured flower carpeting stretches throughout the entire pub reminiscent of your grandmother's living room (good thing in a British pub). All the walls are covered with flowered wall paper, along with many framed photographs that Innes has taken himself of his homeland. This one was my favourite. There is some shelving holding some old scotch whiskey bottles and memorabilia and the stenciled tin ceiling is covered in a dull golden colour. This place oozes British charm that no Firkin chain could ever reproduce with all the cash in the world.
The clientele ranges from young adults to those in their late years as you can see in from the picture below. A group beside us had their toddler with them which I enjoy seeing in a pub - a family atmosphere. Their is a loyal soccer group that makes there way in on Sunday's to catch the game on the telly and you might also bump into regulars engaged in a game of darts near the entrance.
Innes is well known in the pub industry both here and abroad due to his very large collection of single malt scotch whiskeys. With over 450 different varieties to choose from, you could try a new one everyday and still not taste the entire menu. Even though I enjoy a nice single malt, I am a beer guy and I hope to always be. So, let me tell you about the beer line-up.
There are 23 draught choices for you to consider with pints running from $4.76 to $5.60. They include:
Feathers Lager (brewed by Wellington), Carlsberg, Carlsberg Red, Carlsberg Light, Gritstone, Keiths, Great Lakes Red Leaf, Steam Whistle, St.Ambroise Pale Ale, St. Ambroise Cream Ale, Mill St. Tankhouse, Mill St. Organic, Stella, Boddington's, Fullers ESB, Fuller's London Pride, Belhaven Thistle IPA, Stiegl, Smithwicks, Gunniess, Strongbow (cider) and Marston's Pedigree.
Feather's also offers Wellington County Ale cask conditioned, as many of the regulars are ex-pats of Scottish, Irish or English descent. There are some really good selections and at a decent price you can't go wrong.
The food: If you don't enjoy British food than maybe you should just stick to the beer. Ploughman's Lunch, Bangers and Mash, Steak & Kidney Pie, Cornish Pastry and more. And it is delicious and very economical. Feathers is truly a gastropub in every sense of the word and all food is prepared fresh - home cooked. They also offer a brunch from 11am - 3pm.
There was music playing in the background, but I couldn't hear it because of all the chatter coming from the packed house. It is in places like this that you have no need for a newspaper as you'll learn more about politics and recent news from the mouths of the regulars who discuss everything from weather to sports in lively debates. I loved this place for its warmth, its authenticity, their beer, the food and the wonderful atmosphere. I'll be going back and I think you should too!
962 Kingston Road,
Toronto ON Canada
***The former photograph of The Feather's facade was removed recently due to my un-authorized use of the picture. The picture was taken by Rick Ingleson. I apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused and I have since replaced it with one I took (albeit not as professional).