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Gastropubs - The Historical British Concept That’s Made its Way Over The Pond

The British ‘gastropub’ is a quintessential gem in the history of English culture. Gastropubs compete with top restaurants when it comes to dining - refined ‘watering holes’ with upscale menu items, typically offering farm-to-table cuisine in a casual, sophisticated setting.

Elegant Bar with tables and barstools with views of the terrace from windows
EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

Origins

Modern day gastropubs owe their existence to British pubs which have been around for thousands of years; the Brit’s derived the original concept from Italian wine bars, with the difference of beer and ale being the drink of choice. Walking down any street in England, you are bound to encounter a local pub with a distinguishable sign hanging above the door. There are a reported 7000 pubs in London, alone.


The Inception

The birth of the gastropub started with a well-known establishment in East London called The Eagle. It was here that the owner decided to transform a classic pub into a more refined bar and restaurant with upgraded gastronomic offerings - a ‘gastropub’. The concept quickly became widespread and didn’t take long to gain popularity amongst the younger generation of British and Europeans looking for top-quality meals in a relaxed atmosphere. This then caught the attention of American and Canadian restaurateurs.


Earth-to-table

Traditional British cuisine can often be defined as farm-to-table; produce-led, seasonally inspired dishes with locally sourced ingredients are the bread and butter of the menu offerings you’ll find in gastropubs. The menus are typically very thought out and very well done and can be described as upscale comfort food.


Modern day Gastrobars

We can see the resurgence of gastropubs across North America as the movement for local, organic, sustainable food is becoming more top-of-mind for everyday diners. Experience this unquestionably unique, exceptional dining and - don’t forget about the cocktails - right here in Canada. Below are a few of our favourites:


EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace - Toronto


Maison Publique - Montreal


The Fat Badger - Vancouver


Lawrence - Montreal