Monday, July 31, 2006

Karaoke Review: The Fiddler's Green Pub

Fiddler's Green Pub Featuring Erica of Karaoke Queen 22 Wellsley (Wellsley & Yonge)

With one of the more original theme for a pub and a sign indicating prizes at this karaoke venue how could one resist? (Plus I'm a sucker for a good British style pub anyway). It was easy enough for me to visit being right across from Wellsley Subway station so...on to the review.

The Good: The host is by far the best thing about this karaoke pub. She has an excellent sense of humor, attentiveness that rivals Jeff of Big City Music. She really knows her stuff and keeps the crowd VERY entertained. The selection is decent (8000+ songs) with good variety although there was only indexing by alphabet, none by artist. Wait times were very well controlled it seemed although it was difficult to measure given the size of the crowd but active effort was made to move participants at a good pace.

The Mixed: Everything food related gave me mixed feelings. Service was adequate but nothing amazing. Food prices and quality were all average: You won't break the bank, but you won't have an amazing dining experience either. The selection was typical pub fare which I always enjoy but...a little more variety would be nice. Erica's equipment works fairly well, but a bit simple: Basic portable pro speakers on a post with 2 wired mikes. Sound quality was okay, but I've heard better. Wireless mikes would also help thing as well. The wired mikes seemed a big aged and should probably be replaced.

The Bad: The only thing truly bad here was the facilities: The room is entirely too small for anything but small groups. In fact karaoke participants were spread along stairs as the room couldn't properly fit them all. I felt the size and layout of the room was beneath the quality of this MC and was impressed she could do what she did in a room like this. All I can say to the pub management is: Come on! Recognize talent when you see it and use a room more suitable to bring in customers (like the first floor maybe. As a consequence of the room's size you don't really have a "stage". Just take the mike in front of the equipment.

Summary: Well Peter Style (and Jeff) have more competition here. Erica is definitely a first class MC with a style all her own. She definitely deserves the loyal following she appears to have and in public karaoke, the MC makes the event. ITs too bad the pub doesn't (or can't?) give here a room that allows her to show all her true colors. I'd love to see her in a play like Hollywood On the Queensway (who is no longer doing karaoke) where she'd really be able to give people that "entertainer" feeling. The food is okay, and will keep you from going hungry but its nothing exceptional nor is the service. Is the MC that will keep you coming here, and again, the pub should take advantage of that. The only thing I'd say to Erica is, with a wide selection (which is good but not as good as Jeff's who has 13k+ songs), and more up to date equipment, you'd have a karaoke event to seriously rival anyone doing karaoke shows in Toronto today, Peter Styles included. Brava!

Summary Scores:
Facilities: 5.5 (Just not enough room if you want a healthy crowd to show up)
Equipment: 8.0 (its good, but should be better, a little aged)
Location: 8.0 (its right in front of Wellsley subway, but all parking nearby is paid and the pub doesn't have a lot of its own but..there is parking right next door)
Song Selection: 8.0 (I'd have given it an 8.3 but Jeff at Big City Music just blew the curve)
Wait Time: 8.0 (Erica does a good job with this, far better than average)
Host: 8.8 (The MC really knows how to work the crowd. A few minor additions (I don't know what but Peter has a "applause" sign and Jeff's humor is updated with current events) and we'd have a major MC showdown)
Food Prices : 7.5 (slightly better than average)
Food Quality: 7.5 (you won't turn your nose up, but won't ask for 2nd's either)
Food Selection: 7.5 (Decent pub selection, but nothing else)
Service: 7.0 (Basic, nothing to complain about)

Final Grade: B- (With a room like this I'd normally give a lower grade but the MC manages to get the Fiddler's Green Pub a semi-decent grade. Management at the Fiddler: I'd bump it up to a B/B+ with a better room.

Venue Information:
22 Wellsley Street East
Toronto, ON 4Y 1G7
Karaoke Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 PM to 2 AM

Note: This review was done early fall of 2005(Been busy). Erica is no longer performing at the Fiddler's Green. There is a new MC named Bernie (I'll have more info later on in a new review)


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