There’s something majestic and alluring about the history of Anne Boleyn. A former Queen of England, and a right tough lady, her image and well documented demise may seem like a bit of a buzz kill for a brand spanking new bar, but considering the ripple effect of her legacy that changed England’s history forever, maybe it’s quite fitting after all.
Backed by the affable The Social Group, The Anne Boleyn is a modern and inviting space contained in a pub like atmosphere. Their other well-known projects — Parts & Labour, The Dog & Bear, The Hoxton and Ace Hill Beer Co. — all benefit from co-owner Richard Lambert’s English pedigree: his father owned a pub in England (also named Dog & Bear). He sees Toronto as the perfect landscape for an approachable space, a modern day Brit-style Cheers for those looking for pints, of course, but also deluxe nibbles to go with it.
Long celebrated for their delectable burger from Parts & Labour (which is also on the menu here), Executive Chef Brent Piersens is in charge of the kitchen, leaving his post at Parts & Labour to execute proper pub food like the Scotch Egg ($6), a perfectly cooked, slightly soft egg wrapped in pork sausage and paired with pickles and sweet brown sauce for dipping.
Lighter fare like the Pomegranate Salad Bowl ($14) appeases those looking for a daily dose of greens, with a generous bowl of kale, dill, green onion paired with hefty rye berries and feta, making this a meal-worthy salad. Chef Brent executes well on the classics too, like the splendid Chicken Pot Pie ($16), crowned with a magnificent made-in-house pastry which seals in the creamy goodness, packed with pearl onions, potatoes and peas.
A pint of Guinness ($9) is a natural choice in this setting, but other taps include domestic darlings like Canadian and Coors Light, or premium beers like Belgian Moon, Fullers Pride and MacKinnon Brothers Ale. Cocktails are top notch too, with Pimm’s Cup ($12) and AB G&T ($12) offering a traditional take on British sips. Wines are offered by the glass or bottle, with red hot rose Les Oliviers Rosé ($12) holding court and pairing well with the food menu.
The sumptuous space, designed by Lisa Ho, feels homey, even though it’s a vast 4,200 sq ft cement box at the bottom of a new condo build. Layered elements and luxe materials like the brass accents that dot the showstopper of a bar make it seem like it’s been here for ages. Sports are on every wall, but somehow the TV’s seem secondary to the wonderful wall of books, lending a library vibe and cozy corner for those opting out of football (or soccer if you prefer).
Opening in the wee hours for English Premiere on the weekends, which is naturally best paired with their Full English breakfast, mean ex-pats now have a safe haven to wear scarves year round. And those looking to mix it up late night, well, Anne’s got you covered there too, sticking her neck out ’til 2am every night of the week.
Have you been to The Anne Boleyn yet? What dish was your favourite? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.