Danforth Gem – Kilt & Harp

Susan Bates poked her nose into a new pub opening on the Danforth and files this report…

Being a DECA board member and on the Business Revitalization Team, I wanted to learn more about the stores along the Danny and in some cases, the lack of active stores.  I walked by a restaurant that has been an eyesore for years.  I looked in the restaurant and it was undergoing a major renovation.  I knocked on the door and was greeted by a man, who spoke with an Irish accent.  He explained that he bought the restaurant and was renovating it to turn it into an Irish pub to be named Kilt and Harp.  Yes, one of my dreams had come true!

Mervyn Wallace is from Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Twenty-two years ago he left behind the violence and poor economic times and planned to immigrate to Vancouver.  Merv had a stop over in Toronto and decided to stay; in fact he yet to visit Vancouver.  He loves Toronto – the people, the diversity and the business opportunities.  He always wanted to an open Irish pub and opened the Kilt and Keg with his girlfriend at Greenwood and Danforth a couple of years ago.  It was a success so they decided to open another pub and walked east along the Danforth looking for a location.  They saw the Carmelina Condos sign at Woodbine and Danforth and figured those condo residents would appreciate a good Irish pub.  His philosophy is “Build a pub and they will come to drink”.  Since he started renovating, people have been knocking on his door asking about his pub and then encouraging him to open as soon as possible.

Merv gave me a tour of his pub-in-progress.  The walls are red and the wainscot is black with new hardwood floors. Bar ledges are installed for those who like to stand and drink and there will be bar stools for those who don’t.  In the back room will be pool tables and darts.  The front window will be replaced with a window that will roll up to enjoy the warmer weather.  A tour of the kitchen showed brand new equipment and his assistant assures me that the kitchen will be beyond clean. Twelve beer taps will be available along with pub food.  A few doors down, Celena’s Bakery, will be providing their English fare skills and goodies for the pub.  Music, Irish and otherwise, will be an occasional feature of the Kilt and Harp.  Explaining the significance of the pub’s name; Kilt represents the Irish and Scottish and Harp is a beloved and historical Irish emblem.

Mark your calendars for the “soft” opening day – March 7, to be followed by the grand opening in April.  Be sure to drop by for a pint and give a warm welcome.  I’ll definitely be there fulfilling my dream.

0 Replies to “Danforth Gem – Kilt & Harp”

  1. Thanks for this lovely article letting us know a bit more about the most recent addition to W&D! We were very excited to hear that a new, hopefully clean pub is going into that spot.

    My only concern is about its family friendliness. Now don’t get worried; I’m not asking this out of prudishness. I’m merely curious to see if they’re ok with the place having adults as customers who would like to enjoy dinner and a drink while still having their kids with them.

    The reason I’m being paranoid is because approx. 5 years ago I was toting around a 3 year old and I wanted to have lunch in a restor/bar type place on Danforth and Coxwell area. As I entered the place the owner/chef told me that I couldn’t enter with my daughter because she was a minor. Not only was I embarrassed and offended I was saddened to lose the opportunity to have a place that looked really good closed off to me, because I certainly wasn’t going to come back; kids or not!!

    Is this place going to be like pubs in the UK which are usually community gathering places where everyone is welcome?

  2. Good luck to the Kilt and Hapr. I do hope we can get a good pint of Guiness there and that there won’t be a tv or two blasting way when folks are trying to have conversation over that pint.

  3. That’s nice that he’s opening in our area, and that he’s working hard on the interior. I am hoping that the signage will be attractive and upscale.

  4. I wish them all the success in the world…now if they would just start actually “BUILDING” those condos..I’m starting to think it’s a hoax.

  5. Assuming the proprietors are OK with kids in the pub, I plan on going there with my wife and daughter. We sometimes visit Feathers at Kingston & Vic Park and it’s family friendly with a good menu and a definite pub “vibe”. I’m hoping for something similar at the Kilt & Harp.

  6. Hi Tanya,

    I asked Merv about children with their parents in his pub. Merv replied that the pub is not set up for children i.e., high chairs, area for prams and strollers. The tables are high as are the stools. He noted that no one would be turned away – just be aware of the layout of the pub. Being a mom, I think children 8 years and up would be comfortable.

    The pub is having a “soft” opening, which means they’re still getting organized. I went there today and it does have a nice feel to it. Be sure to check It out.

  7. My wife and I popped in for a quick wine and beer ($11 plus tip), and it certainly looks promising. Unfortunately, the taps weren’t operational yet, but a decent variety of choice. Nice comfortable set up, certainly is bright (perhaps just making sure people knew it was open and it was early in the evening, but a bit TOO bright for a pub, but just a very small quibble).

    Four TVs, not-too-loud music, great for conversations.

    We did see who we thought were some Suzanna’s old regulars, which might not be a problem, if in fact the most of the problem has moved down the street a bit to one of the many other fine establishments (if you know what I mean).

    Can’t wait for another visit, especially with a window seat. Any ideas for a (very small) patio?

    Tanya: I believe some of the problem with regard to children in bars relates back to the early days of the smoking ban. If a place was part restaurant, children were allowed some of the time, but at night, it was strictly 19+. Or something like that, the whole point is moot now, but then… it was quite confusing then.

  8. Children do not belong in bars. Some people go to bars instead of regular restaurants specifically to get away from children.
    Please show some respect, and take the family to family-friendly places.

  9. Thanks for asking the owners about family friendliness; of course whatever they decide to do is up to them.

    Here’s hoping that all in the community can join in on what seems like a nice pub.

  10. I stopped in tonight for a couple of pints and to check out the newest addition to the ‘hood. I know it’s early days but still, the signs aren’t there for a great cozy local. Decor is disappointing, the brews are decidedly downmarket and so is the overall ambience. This isn’t what we need in our neighbourhood. I’m not looking for family friendly — I’m looking for a comfortable spot in which to shoot the breeze for an hour or two or meet up with a friend before heading out for an evening. This isn’t it. A few big screens detract rather than add to the ambience. The “back room” is an empty area that looks like there just wasn’t enough money to go around the whole space. In fact everything looks like it was done on too tight a budget without an eye for rustic or electic. The conversation at the bar was about what breakfast might appeal — really? At tables with bar stools and little room for plates? This is a dive in the making if it doesn’t have an intervention, soon. Design Divas of the Danforth and other DECA folks, I appeal to you to save this place, quick!

  11. My husband and I visited with a friend last night for a drink. It was delightful. It’s cozy and inviting. I liked that the crowd was eclectic – younger and older people and friendly. We spoke to Merv who is very happy to be in the neighbourhood. I especially love that it’s steps from our street – no driving!

  12. Dropped by there today to see if it would be a suitable alternative to Feathers – I don’t think so. Too many televisions, not enough atmosphere, music too loud and zippy, and the tap selection wasn’t terribly inspiring. No Waupoos – only StrongBow for cider lovers like me. And I didn’t see any regular-level seating – everything seemed high up, which I’m not crazy about. Too bad – it sounded great in the Deca write-up but it looks like most of the other bars around the hood. A little cleaner than some because it’s new at least.

  13. Well, my house to Feathers: 6 minutes (car), 12 minutes (bike), 25 minutes (TTC).

    My house to Kilt and Harp: 3 minute walk.

    Feathers is nice, so is Murphy’s Law, Lion on the Beach, the Stone Cottage, etc. But not really “local”.

  14. Had a great pint (or three) of Guinness there on Friday night -good neighborhood crowd who seemed to be enjoying their evening. If last night was any indication – having enough space for everybody may be their next problem.

    Yes, still some room for improvement, but I expect good things and look forward to another evening there soon.

  15. 95% of the people love the pub love the color and design of the pub . As for the back room it is not under liquor licence as of yet . So I had to stop work until L L B O let us serve alcohol and also wanted feedback from the customers regarding the back room as for the high tables and stools people love them. installed 10 beer plus guinness and strongbow cider before we opened we added two more taps at request from customers Flying monkey Last. And. For most. Can’t please everyone all the time but somebody some of the time Thanks the kilt and harp pub

  16. Thanks for all the feed back good and bad we are still trying to improve .. Thank you all hope to see you at the kilt and harp pub soon ……

  17. Well, I have been rightfully chewed out (here and in person) for passing judgment without actually being a customer. Went there last week and had a pint with a friend. I think it is a nice place and plan to go back tonight. I still feel it has too many televisions for my taste, and it would be nice to see a decent Ontario cider, but other than the tv’s it has a nice feel, some decent local beers on tap, and friendly service.

  18. I have been there a few times now, and I love it! It is very much in the vein of a proper Celtic pub (I’m from Wales). The crowd is great, the decor is great, and the atmosphere is great, with a good selection of beers. Always welcomed there by the staff, which could not be said for Suzanna’s! A very welcome addition to the neibourhood, and I can’t wait for the back room and patio to open in time for summer.

  19. This spot warmed my heart just to walk in the door. I found the food to be quite good and the atmosphere was terrific. With good food, good service, and cold beer on a hot summer day, what more can one ask?

  20. Just wanted to say Hi to Mervyn Wallace and Wei Wei on the opening of the Kilt and Harp. The name is great as Wallace is a very Scottish name and Mervyn comes from a little village in Northern Ireland,so it sounds good. Hope everything goes well for you both and hope you get a trip home soon. Good Luck and Love Sis

  21. My husband, son (age 9) & myself were very welcome at The Kilt & Harp. The tri-color Irish flag proudly hung near the entrance & the beautifully stained wooden bar, tables were exactly what I expected at an authentic Irish bar. The menu, staff were terrific as well.

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