Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Monday, January 7, 2008

The Rebel House: Toronto, ON

First impressions go a long way, especially when you’re experiencing something for the first time. I had never been to The Rebel House on Yonge Street before but it was a pub that came highly recommended. Every person I talked to described it as warm and inviting with friendly staff and good beer.

I was meeting some other beer lovers there for some drinks and dinner and I happened to arrive a little early to take in the environment. The Rebel House consists of two levels: the main floor which is at street level and an upstairs loft. I noticed that the lower level was completely full so I headed upstairs where I was greeted by a friendly wooden RCMP statute at the top of the stairs. I spotted a table for four and promptly sat down. A server approached and instead of saying hello or can I get you a drink she states “Are you eating?”

“Yes” I say.

“Well, what about the others, you aren’t sitting here by yourself are you?”

“No, the rest are coming shortly, but I thought I’d get a head start on them.”

“Are they eating?”

“I can’t be sure, but there will be plenty of beer drank.”

“Oh, we give diners preferred seating, so if they aren’t eating we’ll have to move you to the bar.”

“But I’m eating and I can assure you that we’ll provide you with some good business throughout the evening,” I say.

“I just hope their eating for your sake,” she says.

Okay, salutations aside, let’s talk about the place. Their website tells an interesting story how the name Rebel House came to be. They do a great job explaining it so I won't touch it, but it has to do with a rebellion against British forces in early Upper Canada. As mentioned, The Rebel House has two levels that are very snug and cozy. The upstairs level has a small bar offering bottled beer and spirits. There are boards on the walls naming each Ontario craft beer that’s available on draught, which is many. Denison’s, Steam Whistle, Black Oak Pale Ale and Nutcracker, Mill St Tankhouse, Neustadt 10W30, Great Lakes Winter Ale and more.

A nice feature in the upstairs loft is the old musket above a large window overlooking Yonge Street. How technology has changed! A small fireplace is going on one side of the place providing a nice glow and a perfect backdrop for the blistery night. There is some bench seating with creative mountain designs and no more than 20 people can fit at all the tables.

Before all the quests arrive, two of us are moved downstairs where two tables are waiting. This was nice of the staff and made up for the welcoming I received. The downstairs atmosphere has everything to do with warmth. Even though we are sitting near the doors leading out to the patio we are still cozy. Like I said earlier, it’s not a big space and everyone is crowded together enjoying each other’s company. The food arrives and looks delicious. The mussels are fabulous and I’m told the meatloaf is simply terrific. Oh, and the beer is great too! My Black Oak Pale Ale goes very well with the mussels.

The long wooden bar is situated to the right as you enter the pub and runs the length of the wall curving away from the front entrance. There are bar stools all along the bar, enough to seat many patrons. A large bay window provides customers with the opportunity to watch the hustle and bustle of pedestrians along Yonge and would be nice on a hot summer afternoon.

In the end I found it in my heart to forgive the server I ran into when I first arrived and had a terrific time talking beer with the group. It’s true what I’ve heard about The Rebel House, it is unique, serves quality beer at reasonable prices and provides a living room like setting away from home. The food was delicious, the rest of the staff were great and The Rebel House is situated just steps away from the Rosedale subway station. Now I can provide recommendations, just make sure you have something to eat.

The Rebel House
1068 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON

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