Bar Reviews: Scout’s Honour & Opera Bob’s

On Friday night I went out with a few friends to a pair of places that while not new, are new to me.Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 5.11.33 PM

We started over at Scout’s Honour, a small place located at 1576 Dundas St W. Until this past June, this spot was called Mr. Pong’s and was Chinese restaurant-themed. Wanting to change things up for summer, the owners overhauled the look of the bar in June and re-introduced it as the camp-themed Scout’s Honour.

I know some people hate theme bars but Scout’s Honour gets it right: It’s obvious without being overwhelming. The bar is decorated with metal cups, there’s a map of the campgrounds on one wall while the other is decorated with wood in such a way to resemble the inside of a cabin.

Three specialty cocktails were listed at the bar though none of them seemed very camp-themed to me. Being poor, I skipped the fancy drinks and stuck to a vodka crans, which ran $7 and tasted just fine. Most of my friends drank beer, which was a very reasonable $5. At one point, husband got a whiskey sour, a drink that is often done poorly. But that wasn’t the case here. Scout Honour’s whiskey sour was fantastic and was even made with an egg white, like it should be.

But while the drinks were great, for me, the highlight of Scout’s Honour was the music. Bowie, New Order, the Ramones, reggae that I actually and more, was played throughout our time there. Initially, the volume was almost low but then, after a rather loud group of giggling girls showed up, the volume level increased.  I quite liked this change and it was completely fitting with feel of the bar but my friends were less than crazy about it.

The volume level wasn’t the only thing that some of my friends weren’t loving. Keeping with the camp theme, the seating consisted of picnic tables. While these tables could comfortably fit four, we had to squish five people around one. After about 90 minutes of squishiness and loud music, my friends were good to go and so we left Scout’s Honour.

But before we left I asked the bartender if there were any plans to change up the theme of this spot in the near future and he didn’t think so. So while summer might be at an end, it sounds like we can still enjoy camp at Scout’s Honour for a little longer.

I certainly would return to Scout’s Honour in the future, though next time I’ll go with four or fewer people, so that we can all fit at a table or, a bunch bigger group, so that we can take over a couple of tables, or ever the whole bar (it’s really not a big space). If it’s the latter, I’ll aim to be there between 9 and 9:30 pm. We got there at 9 and had the place to ourselves for almost an hour. But then, like most places, once it got busy, it got packed.

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 5.05.54 PMAfter we left Scout’s Honour, we wandered down Dundas, looking for somewhere with sitting for five. And that’s how we ended up at Opera Bob’s Public House, located at 1112 Dundas St. W.

Around since 2009, Opera’s Bob’s is a sports bar that, despite being located in Little Portugal, is not dominated by old, Portuguese men. Instead, the crowd is quite diverse and I got the feeling that on Friday night, we weren’t the only people who ended up there because it was the only place around with adequate seating.

And adequate seating it had in spades, along with sports-playing TV screens and classic rock songs played at an almost quiet volume. While bigger, and brighter, than Scout’s Honour, Opera Bob’s felt cozier than our first stop because it was just so clearly embracing that classic pub look-and-feel. Plus it also felt completely unpretentious; no one in that bar was trying to impress anyone.

Including, unfortunately, the bartender. I ordered a whiskey sour and like far too many whiskey sours out there, it was harsh and not particularly good. But at least the alcohol was well priced, with my whiskey sour coming in at under $7.

While Opera Bob’s is a perfectly fine place, and probably actually a great place to watch a game, it’s not really the type of place I seek out. However, due to its close location to my house and its ample amount of comfortable seating, I have a feeling I’ll be back there. At least it has food, which I’ve read isn’t half bad.

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