Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Crow's Nest Pub: Newmarket, ON

Sunday was a beautiful day to hop in the car and go for a drive out of the city, a great day to go back to the village I grew up in. It was also a great opportunity to get out and enjoy a nice local country pub, and I found one in Newmarket, ON, just 30 mins out of Toronto.

The Crow's Nest pub is located on a quiet residential side street, tucked away beside a small ravine and hidden from the construction boom taking place in Newmarket. The building is ordinary in itself, but there is something 'fairy tale' about it. Could be the brick structure with the yellow facade, the traditional English pubs sign hanging over the entrance or the water situated near by, whatever it was I immediately felt I'd found a good pub. The building has played host to pubs for close to twenty years, 9 to the Crow's Nest and prior to that, the Pirate's Cove.

The smell of food hit me the minute I walked through the door and that 'pub' smell was lingering in the air. I just love that smell. The Crow's Nest features a large open concept where you can see one side of the dining room from the other. Wooden pillars and beams are situated throughout the area among many wooden tables, chairs and plush maroon coloured benches. The floor is comprised of old weathered hardwood with a mix of green and red carpeting. I always like carpeting in a pub, it provides a feeling of comfort while adding a touch of simplicity.

There are two sides to choose from when deciding where to sit: the left side of the entrance is more of a casual dining area and the right side is where you'll find the bar. On the left side there are a couple floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a glimpse out to the water. There is also a gas fireplace that comes on during the cold days and nights of winter. The ceiling in this area has been left exposed and the wooden beams are adorned with various knick knacks, like old liquor and beer bottles, tin cans, swords, medieval tools, and other various items.

The rest of the pub has old Scottish prints hung on the walls and wacky cartoons in the bathroom (where the bartender points out that some people often take longer than normal to re-appear at the bar). The front entrance also has numerous local newspaper clippings that give each customer a brief history lesson on Newmarket.

The bar is situated on the right side and is in the shape of a capital 'L'. The solid wood bar is nicely decorated with brass railings and wire glass racks along with 10 bar back stools. So what's on tap? Well, nothing outstanding, but enough to get started. Inbev products, Diego products, Molson-Coors and one Ontario Craft Brew in Waterloo Dark. I noticed the menu listed Fuller's ESB, but unfortunately is was no longer available. Our social bartender also stated that London Pride was on tap months ago, but suffered the same fate as the ESB. I settled for a Waterloo Dark and it was pleasant with our beef nachos. Behind the bar are a number of various dollar bills donated by friendly customers over the years along with a number of beer signage and posters.

There is an older gentleman sitting at the bar reading the paper and sipping his beer and that's when I noticed that there is no tv in the entire pub!! I tell the bartender how much I respect pubs that can get away with no having one and she mentions that she has never heard a complaint. The oldies music is at a good level and pleasant on a early Sunday afternoon.

Because of the location of the pub, the Crow's Nest has to abide by noise regulations. So there is no patio and no live bands. They bring in some local musician's now and then for special events, but they mainly attract customers with good food and the ambiance of the extended family room. It is a pub suited for everyone. Families coming straight from Church, young couples shaking off a hangover by licking the hair of the dog that bit them, and the elderly reading the paper with a Guinness; it's a nice blend of demographics.

The Crow's Nest is a good pub for an afternoon with a good book or for good conversation with friends, although it could benefit from adding a couple more local, interesting beers. If I lived in the area, the Crow's Nest would make a good local.
"There's no place like this place, near this place, so this is the place"
A quote stenciled on the staff's shirts.

Phone: - Fax :
Mon-Thurs: 11am 11pm
Fri-Sat: 11am - 11:30pm
Sun: 11am - 10pm

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