Duffy’s Tavern, the way it used to be, might be best summed up by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s quip about Mos Eisley spaceport, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Then Harrison Mazis got his hands on it!
While running a bar on Greece’s island of Kos in the Aegean, Harrison saw the writing on the wall during the advent of his ancestral homeland’s economic downturn. Getting wind of Duffy’s going on the trading block, Harrison set up shop in his old neighbourhood of Bloordale Village in 2007. It wasn’t a pretty sight upon arrival: locals would hunch their shoulders in fear as ne’er-do-wells walked in and conducted their nefarious business. As the new sheriff in town, Harrison tossed the malcontents out, and judging by his formidable build, one suspects he may have done so literally more than once.
The vibe: Duffy’s Tavern is a steady-on watering hole frequented by a healthy mix of seasoned and loyal locals full of old stories about the neighbourhood and cutting-edge youngsters breathing new life into what many wrongly consider a desolate part of town. Harrison is also in the later stages of a revamp that include a diner, recently featured on a reality TV show filmed for the Food Network and HGTV Canada!
The drinks: Want a Bellini? You’ve come to the wrong place. Duffy’s bar list is geared toward the beer-and-shot, salt-of-the-earth working stiff. Sixteen taps here, most of them Ontario-based brewers (Wellington, Flying Monkey, Great Lakes, Amsterdam and Big Wheel among them), ought to run you between $5.25 to $6 per pint, tax in! Thirty selections of bottles and cans in the fridge, and Sapporo is about as expensive as it gets around $6.50. The nightly drink specials are the draw: large pitchers of house beer go for $10 on a Monday, $4 tequila shots on Tuesdays and bar rails of rum, rye, gin and vodka go for $3.50, along with house pints, on Duffy’s “Thirsty Thursdays.”
The food: An awesome no fuss menu that Harrison co-created with Canada’s homegrown chef Corbin Tomaszeski from “Restaurant Takeover” on Food Network and HGTV Canada.
Dress code: Casual.
By: Brian Towie, Toronto Star