Oldest bar in Toronto a staple in West Queen West

The Wheatheaf Tavern has been a stable on the corner of King and Bathurst for over 150 years. Stella Acquisto talks to management about the place’s history, community work and an urban legend. 

By Stella Acquisto

Said to be the oldest bar in the city, The Wheatsheaf Tavern has been a staple of the West Queen West neighbourhood since it first opened in 1849.

Through the years, the bar that sits at the corner of King and Bathurst Streets, has changed hands but the current owners, Scale Hospitality, have been in charge since 2001.

“It stayed the same name right away through and it’s been only renovated a few times and the last renovation was two years ago but, in essence, it has always been the Wheatsheaf,” said Eoin Cullen, the director of operations at Scale.

The bar is a popular joint among the community. It’s known for its large collection of Irish Scotch and Whiskey. And there is live music here to listen too almost every day of the year.

“I’ve known the Wheatsheaf for over 30 years I live across the street in one of the condos and probably have been coming here for 10 years on a regular basis,” shared Rob Barlow, a frequent customer. “It’s a good community bar. A lot of people from the neighborhood come in here and you’re always going to have a good conversation.”

‘I think it’s very unique that this bar customers tell us that their grandparents, their great-grandparents and their own parents drank here so it’s multi-generational and everyone feels a bit of ownership of it,” added Cullen.

The bar is also focused on supporting local sports and entertainment.

“We are very committed to live music so we have live music five nights a week all local bands Wednesday to Sunday,” said Cullen. “We’re also very committed to sports as well we sponsor a lot of local sports teams.

Urban legends say a tunnel ran from Fort York directly to this bar and soldiers would come here for a drink. Staff believe the legend to be true, however there is no concrete evidence as of yet.

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