Food & Drink, Venues

Etc. November 2012

Britannia Rules

In case there was any doubt that folks love a traditional English pub, The Firkin Group of Pubs celebrates its 25th anniversary with a total makeover of its nine Toronto locations that’s leaving a bold “cool Britannia” theme in its wake. The dramatic redesign embraces a living room atmosphere with funky British accents such as Union Jack sofas and maps of the London Underground, cozy fireplace lounges, intimate booths and mingling areas for billiards and darts.

New cocktail and food offerings reflect the refresh with inventive updates on British classics. Each Firkin pub is event-friendly, accommodating groups of 10 to 200 depending on the location. Rolled out in five pubs to date, the rebranding at all Toronto locations will be complete early next year. A round of pints for everyone!

Dinearounds Made Easy

We asked Dishcrawl Toronto, the dining version of a pubcrawl that’s proving sold-out popular with social scenesters, if they can also curate private events? The answer was a resounding “Yes!” Launched here last year, Dishcrawl (now in 12 North American cities) is all about connecting foodies with culinary neighbourhoods. An ambassador chooses the locale, books logistics, co-ordinates meals and promotes to Dishcrawl subscribers through social media, sharing only the neighbourhood. Restaurants are revealed at meet up.

For private events, Dishcrawl works its restaurant relationships in customizing a planner’s theme, group size (10 to 150 ideal) and preferred locale. A maximum of three restaurants, each serving either the appetizer, entrée or dessert course, are best for large group walkabouts, recommends Toronto ambassador Yashy Murphy who also arranges table-side visits from the chef, sommelier or owner. Let Dishcrawl handle the promotional deployment or, where privacy an issue, assist planners with the invite.

Take Events To Church

Last month, The Cathedral Church of St. James, a designated heritage landmark at Church and King Streets, welcomed industry members to experience the event possibilities of its newly renovated parish house, renamed The Cathedral Centre. Swathed in glass, the three-storey centre is an elegant, modern juxtaposition to the church’s grand gothic revival architecture and majestic 200-ft. spire.

Inside, event spaces are bathed in light-bathed and filled with scenic city and garden views. For large gatherings, the main floor’s Snell Hall (Capacity: 400) is striking with floor-to-ceiling windows and walkout to park terrace. Host an intimate reception in the Bowen Balfour Library (Capacity: 50), which features exposed brick and glass room dividers. Meetings and workshops will enjoy the airy, light-filled settings of the Community Room (Capacity: 120), Lecture Room (Capacity: 50) and Boardroom (Capacity: 18). Audio-visual and preferred caterers list available.