The Brunswick House on Bloor Street West. Mallika Makkar and Mahdi Chowdhury/THE VARSITY

NEXT MONTH, Torontonians will bid farewell to a long-time neighbourhood haunt: the Brunswick House. The famous watering hole is closing down after 140 years of service. Many U of T students have turned to the Brunny at some point or another for judgement-free fun. To say farewell, The Varsity has collected a series of funny stories and nostalgic goodbyes from U of T students.

“Where to begin? The Brunny (Bruns, Brundog) defined my university career. From 2009-2015 I partied there, bartended there, met exes there, and solidified friendships that will last a lifetime there. There is not one story of debauchery that sums up my experiences there because there was six years of it! Summers at Camp U of T, going to ‘staff training’ on Thursdays. We would plan whom we liked and run around wildly yelling ‘Bruns this week?’ to all who would listen. But the best part of the Bruns was that it took my basketball team and other sports teams that were somewhat friends and turned us into real friends by having nights that would take everyone’s best effort to remember. The Bruns was a rite of passage for us. I was brought there as a 19  year old, and then I was the 24 year old who brought the youth there. You weren’t really a part of the crew until you woke up one morning and had to text your boys saying ‘what happened last night? Ye olde brundog got me again.’ Every time we tried someplace new, we’d always end up at the Bruns before last call because it was home for us. It’s sad to see her go, but the memories — or lack there of — will always be a part of me.” 

— Alex Hill

“The Brunny has been a legendary lady for generations. I’ve had my phone stolen (and returned) twice, a regular lose his front four teeth on the corner of Bloor & Brunswick, and my best friend seal his split forehead back together with scotch tape. A regular night at the Brunny was comprised of U of T Varsity teams, a frat & sorority, and a bunch of friends drinking too many mini-pitchers and tequila shots. Working there has left me with some crazy stories and friendships that will last a lifetime. Yet somehow, my craziest story will always involve the shy barback I had a huge crush on. Bartending at the Brunny, I would have never guessed he’d one day be my husband. To this day, we’ve seen so many relationships flourish between our coworkers. The Brunny, known for blackout nights and regretful mornings, introduced me to the most amazing people I know.” 

— Kelsey Bishop

“Where do I begin? From attending Varsity pub nights as a (legal…) first year student, to dropping two different phones in the same toilet in a bathroom stall with no door, to completing the most epic birthday bucket list, to dancing on tables and doing body shots on the bar, the Brunny was always a wild time with the most epic stories to tell in the morning. Thursday nights at the Brunny were always the highlight of my week! I met some of the best people I knew in university while working at the Brunny, from bartenders to security guards to managers. I loved showing up to my shift and making a round through the bar to say hello to every one of our staff each night. Our staff was always having a good time, whether it was serving beer in football trophies when we beat York, Brunny buckets full of Killer Kool-Aid, serving/drinking far too much tequila, or breaking up ridiculous fights. It’s a real shame that future generations of U of T students will never get to try to remember a good time at the Brunny. Stay thirsty, my friends.” 

— Hilary Mallinger

“My first Brunny experience was in the first semester of first year. After drinking my body weight in Captain Morgan, chasing with blue Gatorade (‘I’m already counteracting the hangover!’), and with a borrowed fake ID in tow, I headed to the Brunny. Inside, I was talking to an upper year from my college who I recognized as a frosh leader, and being a cringe-worthy first year, identified him as such: ‘Oh yes, you’re the frosh leader with the nice arms!’ Cut to me later finding out he was one of my older brother’s good friends, and later, one of my current roommate’s [former] roommates. After many more nights at the Brunny in first year — which included many unattended drinks being finished by me (remember that I was entirely the worst) — I didn’t return again until this January. Again, I probably made an idiot of myself in front of a guy I only partially knew, so I guess this is a trend. The thing is, everyone at the Brunny realizes where they are, so nobody is judging how much of an idiot you (I) make of your (my)self — we’re all just having fun.” 

— Charlotte Davie

“A friend of mine and I went to the Brunny with a bunch of female friends, and at one point some guy was making one of our friends feel really uncomfortable. My friend, being the guy that he is, asked the guy to stop and a conversation ensued. Because it was so loud, they both took turns yelling into each other’s ears, and it was starting to get a bit heated. They both stopped for a second, and then leaned in to say something at the same time. Fortunately, they leaned the same way, and their lips met for one beautiful, time-stopping moment. I’d never seen my friend so mad, so I made a comment about love being in the air and danced in between them. Only at the Brunny.” 

— Colin Henderson

“One of my really good friends seriously injured her leg and had to walk in crutches. We already made plans to go to the Brunny on Halloween night and it wasn’t something she was going to miss out on. So she planned and designed her Halloween outfit to match and go with her crutches. She was a referee and the crutches were her flags. So we get pretty hammered and headed to the bar. She fell down a flight of stairs that night because people thought the crutches were part of her costume and not because she needed them. It was hilarious! Everyone kept walking up and going ‘cool costume’  and taking her crutches away so she could barely stand or walk. Meanwhile…she was pretty far gone. It was the ultimate dedication to the Brunny. I had to piggyback her all the way to and from the bar.” 

— Tegan Stairs

“The Brunswick House was the place I most frequented for over a year. In my second year of university I worked there, and when I wasn’t working, you can be sure I was partying there. I would say I made a lot of memories at the Brunny, but honestly, I don’t remember much, and that’s what I’ll miss about it. The Brunny was the place to go to get black out drunk because it was the wildest bar in the city, and when I say wild, I mean eighteen-year-old-with-daddy-issues-drinking-tequila-for-the-first-time wild. I walked in on a guy getting a blowjob in the woman’s washroom, saw a guy getting a handy in a booth in the corner, watched our two coat-check girls drag another girl out the doors by her hair, and I myself got punched in the face once. I’m thankful for The Brunny, because it’s the place I met two of my best friends, and knowing we’ll never be able to go back to The Brunny, I’ll be sad to see it go.”

— Shannon Krause

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