When we became parents, eating out turned into a very big deal. It became like Christmas or any other rare and festive time. It was easy when our first son was a baby. He slept while we enjoyed our food. But once he got to a certain age, it become much more difficult. When our second son came along, eating out really become a rare occurence. But what helps is when you find somewhere close to home and where you feel comfortable bring your kids.
That place for us is the Mugshot Tavern, located at Keele and Bloor.
When we moved to the west end, it was the first place we went to eat. We had just checked out our new place and wanted to tour the area. To be honest, the reason we went there was it used to be Mackenzie’s when I lived in Toronto several years ago.
We were sad that Mackenzie’s moved, but we are very happy we stayed and tried out what took its place.
Since, we have been to the Mugshot Tavern many times, for brunch, dinner and late night drinks when we actually had a night out without the boys.
The food is above average for a pub or tavern and I have yet to have something I did not enjoy. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff clearly have fun at what they do.
The real selling point for us is how much the kids like it and how much the staff cater to our kids.
Over the many visits, they have provided us with crayons and colouring books and even put one of the TVs on cartoons. Not sports, cartoons.
The menu for the kids is pretty standard (chicken fingers, grilled cheese etc.) but I have tried both and they are certainly home-made.
The boys can be loud and crazy and we never have to feel like we are bugging somebody.
The last time we went was for brunch on a Sunday. It was not busy, so it was perfect for us. The server, she told us she had little boys of her own and you could tell. She went above and beyond to make our two feel happy and occupied. They got to sit at their own table with crayons and paper. It was a nice touch. We got to eat our food and relax.
The decor of the place is also fun for everyone. As in the name, there are mugshots everywhere. There is always an argument over who is who in so many of the photos.
Like I said, the food is a hit. I have had poutine, chicken and waffles and a few other tasty dishes. They have local beers on tap and for brunch in particular, they provide these tiny out of the oven muffins. I think those are Harry’s fave.
We can walk there in 10 minutes, it is across from High Park, the food is great and our kids are very welcome there.
What more could you ask for in a local spot?
When Katie and I went there after a movie once, it was packed. We sat at the bar and had drinks and wings. It was a lot of fun. The staff was chatty and we watched hockey on the big screen. Everyone seemed to be having fun and enjoying their drinks.
I look forward to going in the summer. To try out their patio and their BBQ nights.
If you are in the High Park area, I highly suggest trying out the Mugshot Tavern. Unless your mugshot is on the wall of course.