When champion oyster shucker Patrick McMurray of Starfish opened this authentic Irish pub on the edges of Leslieville, the area suddenly got a little more interesting. Locals could enjoy the craic without crossing the Bloor Viaduct.
Even more interesting was how the Ceili Cottage maximized their patio in the winter. Before, they had tried creating a skating and curling rink and a mini bonfire. But during a recent winter, they built a yurt. When you climbed inside, it was probably even warmer and cozier than the actual bar. There were lots of lamps and antlers hanging from the yurt's decorative panels. It was one of the coolest things I've seen in Toronto, like a slice of Mongolia in the city. It also solved the problem of a packed bar inside. I'm sure future ideas will be just as inventive.
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Hanging in a Yurt
When you think of Toronto, a Mongolian yurt is not what usually pops into the noggin. For the uninitiated, a yurt — or ger, as it’s known in the motherland — is a circular dwelling used by nomadic peoples of Central Asia. So why is there one at The Céilí Cottage? Well, owner Patrick “Shucker Paddy” McMurray wasn’t able to set up a curling rink on his restaurant’s patio come winter, so a yurt was clearly the next best option.
From the outside, the yurt looks somewhat Lilliputian for something that’s meant to house a bevy of peoples. Inside, it’s different story; enter through the narrow doorway and step into a cozy round space dotted with seating for over 30 (complete with blankets, should there be a chill) and a central bar. The handpainted accents are stunning. Pop in for a pint of brew or a selection of Irish whisky or seat yourself down for a proper meal like Yorkshire pudding or bangers ’n’ mash.