Toronto pub patrons might want to consider stashing their newly unwelcome pennies as a savings vehicle for financing their libations, particularly given the risk of their imminent price hike. That’s if the government pays heed to new research that suggests the more we pay for our booze, the less we endanger our health in its consumption.
The study, conducted jointly by researchers at the University of Toronto, the University of Victoria and the University of Sheffield in the UK, found that increasing the cost of a standard-issue drink (think a can of beer or a glass of wine) from $1.25 to $1.50 has meaningful sway over public safety.
To wit: over the eight-year research period, BC hiked minimum per-litre prices on spirits and beer. The move resulted in 39 fewer premature deaths, 244 fewer hospital admissions and in excess of 1,000 fewer crimes committed a year. A 10% increase in the minimum price of alcoholic beverages produced an almost 32% drop in deaths that were purely a result of alcohol alone, such as alcohol poisoning, alcoholic gastritis and alcoholic cardiomyopathy....more
In terms of physical backdrops to unusual public goings-on, they don’t get much more ripe and ready than yer local watering hole. Still in doubt? Pour yourself an eyeful of some recent pub-based shenanigans that caught the attention of the worldwide media.
• According to Britain’s Daily Record, Scottish police responded to a complaint of sexism against a Glasgow pub that was organizing an “Ugliest Woman” competition this past November 4. But when two female officers showed up at the Islay Inn to investigate, publican George Hogg offered up a reasonably palatable explanation. The contest, as it turns out, was for “ugly men dressed up as women.” Ohhhh-kay. The reporting officers were “amused,” Hogg reported.
• The world’s largest-ever pub crawl took place in Charlotte, North Carolina. The annual St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl here attracted more than 15,000 tipplers in 2012, vaulting it to top spot in this rarified world. Curiously, Guinness recognizes a June 7, 2009, pub crawl through the wetspots of Maryborough, Queensland, as the world’s official biggest. Some 4,718 thirsty participants made their way among 10 pubs in this picturesque coastal town on this date, raising $15,000 for charity en route.
At the Metro Convention Centre the weekend of November 15-18, some 40,000 guests will sample more than 1,500 fine wines, beers and spirits in a series of 23 wine tasting classes at the 18th edition of the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo.
Any way you do the math, it adds up to a seriously rocking international cocktail party.
This year’s program offers vinophiles unprecedented access to the world’s greatest wines and most educated presenters, including a cadre of product consultants, media personalities and truly expert wine authorities. Some highlights of the celebrated beginner-to-connoisseur-friendly Tutored Tastings Program:
• 2012 hosts include: Anne Martin, one of Canada’s handful of female sommeliers; Jerry Comfort, a food and wine pairing expert from Napa’s Beringer Vineyards; and Food Network hotshot and Thirsty Traveler host Kevin Brauch....more
The time is nigh for another Beer Week, Toronto, thanks be to hops.
This year, Beer Week is bigger than ever, spilling over into the city’s restaurants, pubs and breweries from September 14 to 22. As always, the event’s designed to give local beer devotees the chance to experience craft beer from local producers dedicated to improving the beer culture in Toronto.
“Bar owners and brewery reps have stepped it up this year to bring Toronto some really killer events that we hope people will be talking about for years,” says TBW cofounder Troy Burtch.
Among them? Pub crawls, intimate beer-centred dinners, beer tours, the annual Homebrew competition and the vintage bottle of hand-crafted beer — a Metric Porter singing with bittersweet and roasted malt flavours — created for display at every participating bar.
Long a favourite of the affair, pairings have been taken up a notch for TBW 2012. Habits Gastropub (928 College St.), for one, is matching beer with opera over six live arias, duos and trios....more
Anyone with a longtime Toronto address and half an ear for the culture that powers the place will experience some resonance at the news that the El Mocambo is about to be reinvented once again.
The owners of Toronto bars the Cadillac Lounge and 99 Sudbury have purchased the iconic club, whose heyday included star turns by some of the world’s most prominent bands and whose influence on the development of popular music is legendary.
The venue was also celebrated as a playground for otherwise overlooked local talents, many of whom are still rocking today. Think Whiskey Howl, and its live recording “upstairs” at the ElMo in May of 1981 (captured in the band’s 2005 CD).
The plan, say the former hotspot’s new owners, is to revisit the energy of the past, and introduce the city to a new music venue where the tunes will flow seven days a week. “We’ve gotta do this,” Cadillac Lounge owner Sam Grosso told the media at the announcement. “We’ve gotta do this for the music and for the history of rock ’n’ roll in Toronto.”
In recognition of its spectacular past, then, and in anticipation of its hopeful future, a brief glimpse of the El Mocambo’s glory days....more
They call them “pink bars,” but a fella can actually wear any colour that suits him at these vibrant gay hotspots. Herewith, a multihued roundup of some of the finest gay drinking establishments in the city.
• Woody’s, 465 Church St. This massive Church Street staple features a covered patio, famously potent drinks, energetic bartenders and a powerful legacy of community involvement.
• Pegasus on Church, 489B Church St. This extremely friendly tavern next to Xtra’s offices offers a sweet spot for some cue-and-ball play in the heart of the village.
• Fly, 8 Gloucester St. This funky and sprawling hangout, where all the “cool gays” go to take off their shirts and shake their thangs, sparkles with drama, drag queens and an abundance of creative theme nights...more
The concept of prohibition may seem quaintly antiquated today, but the rebellious spirit it sparked lives on. Enter Toronto’s Saloon League, a so-called “underground drinking society” inspired, at least in part, by the city’s secret supper club, Charlie’s Burgers.
The Saloon League’s Twitter tagline — “Beer and chaps. We like to drink things we can't normally get” — pretty much sums up the organization’s MO. Members congregate monthly at private residences to enjoy the illicit thrill of drinking beer not otherwise available through conventional channels. Organizers haul kegs of cool stuff — mostly selections from small craft breweries in the States — across provincial and national lines and invite folks signed onto their mailing list...more
There’s nothing in the world like a bang-on bar bet. It is a special kind of magic that surrounds those proposals that one guy (because, let’s face it, no woman would ever engage in such alcohol-fueled buffoonery) issues to another that simply cannot be seen through. How is it, then, that these apparently unachievable challenges so often find their mark? Surely the biggest obstacle to scoring a bar-bet victory is in identifying the victim who’ll take you up on your proposition.
One school of thought advances the idea that many bar bet dupes take the bet knowing they’re going to lose; their interest in how it’ll go down trumps their monetary losses.
In any case, it generally begins with a scam artist making a loud and public claim that attracts attention, some of it bleary eyed, from the assembled masses.
“I’ll bet I can tie this cigarette in a knot without breaking it,” he might announce. Or: “I’ve got $20 that says I can blow the bottlecap back into the bottle.” And so on.
Here’s where the real trick comes in. Clever hustlers understand the importance of engineering the proposal such that it looks like the chump’s holding the reins. This means introducing an idea...more
You didn’t go to the bar looking for problems. You had a taste for some Jägermeister, was all, and maybe a bit of catching-up time with your buds. Before long, you found yourself on the dance floor rocking out and doing the white man’s overbite with the best of them.
And that’s where trouble found you.
New research suggests that the dance floor — not the bar or outside the men’s room, say — is the place most likely for a fight to break out in a large drinking establishment. The study, undertaken by scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, reveals that some 20% of the most harmful incidents take place on the floor, with another 13% spilling out in its close proximity.
All told, researchers made more than 1,300 visits to 118 Toronto bars and clubs over the course of two years....more
Ask the guy spinning platters on his old turntable what kind of beer he drinks, and don’t be surprised to learn that his taste for the old fashioned and authentic extends to his refreshments. Cask-conditioned ale, or “real ale,” as its most enthusiastic fans know it, is beer served in its natural state: without pasteurization or the injection of unnecessary carbon dioxide.
The appeal of cask ale is obvious: its taste benefits dramatically from the fermentation process that continues, right up to the point that it’s making its golden path down your throat...more
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