The certain reader I went out with last night was Marnie. I'm lucky to have a found a buddy who, like me, works on weekends, takes her days off during the week, is 40-something, doesn't have kids and likes to explore the city. Not to mention is smart and funny. (Blushing yet?)
Last night we had dinner at the Duke of York pub, the second real pub Marnie has sent me to. (Allan and I went to Allen's on the Danforth at her suggestion, too.) I adore pubs, and they don't exist in New York City. There are bars and restaurants of every description, but not pubs.
I've been trying to put my finger on what makes a place a pub. In New York, it would be a cross between the relaxed atmosphere of a coffee-shop - where you feel comfortable going by yourself with a book - with the good food of a homey restaurant, and the good drinks of an ordinary bar-bar. Nicer than a dive bar, but not at all upscale. No one rushes you, conversation abounds, but if you want to sip a pot of tea and read or write, you don't feel out of place. I've only found pubs (so far) in England and Ireland, and discovering their existence in Canada is positively brilliant.
After dinner, we walked a few blocks to the University of Toronto campus, for a storytelling night. I'll let Marnie describe it here. It was fun, a neat experience, and something I would do again, although not regularly. I do like the idea of connecting with this very ancient form of communication and entertainment. If I end up going back, it's only a matter of time before I have to tell a story, too.