Hidden away on Colborne St, right behind the King Eddy, is P.J. O’Brien. This is the city’s top Irish pub; a downtown fixture for as long as I can remember. I had my first “legal” pint here and continue to frequent when I need a place for a semi-casual client lunch or a pint before the game. Good luck getting within a block of the front door on St. Patrick’s Day, though.
The food here is good. Period! If you’re looking for finger food before a big night out, you’d be hard-pressed to find better wings anywhere in the financial district. A very generous serving with all the fixin’s make this a great plate to share. Other handhelds include a decent Burger and an even better Veggie Burger (ya, I admitted it!). The winner, though, is their Club Sandwich. They substitute that useless extra piece of bread (albeit toasted multigrain) for a thick slice of grilled chicken breast. Finished with guacamole mayo, this goes great with a side salad and a pint… and this place pours a perfect pint.
Heartier Irish favorites adorn the dinner menu. Fish & Chips and Beef & Guinness Stew are about as iconic as you can get. The top seller, though, is their Corned Beef & Cabbage. Tough not to order this one if I’ve brought my appetite with me.
The Quinn family have turned the success of P.J. O’Brien into a bit of a pub empire. I will never hesitate to meet up with friends at their main-floor long bar or in the Pat Quinn lounge upstairs for a pint and/or a pound. Not sure there is a place the Toronto Food Blog has recommended more than P.J. O’Brien when folks ask about good pub food downtown. Sláinte!