Toronto's Dowtown Nightlife!
Party and Bar Guide to The Hottest Dance Clubs
Toronto's lively clubs keep downtown pumping.
Get ready to get dizzy.
And we don't mean because of the clubs themselves (although they can be quite hypnotic) but because of the number of them located downtown. The city refers to this area as the Theater District but it could just as easily be called the Club District because there are so many of the latter located here.
Two things are prevalent in downtown these days: condos and clubs. A lot of the condos have forced out some of the more casual places – Alice's, My Apartment and the Adelaide pub are particular painful losses for PubClub.com – but the clubs are thriving.
The clubs can be pretty much divided into two categories: Young – for the 19-to-25 crowd – and upscale– for the late 20s-late 30s group. The latter tends to be trendy and a bit of a scene, but hardly like New York or L.A. Still, expect to pay $10-20 cover charges at any club. Dress codes match the covers.
The most stylish clubs come and go often, so check back often to keep completely up to date on Toronto's nightlife. PubClub's guide divides the city into the following prime party places:
• Upscale & Trendy Clubs
• Clubs Around Town
• After Hours
Upscale & Trendy Clubs
The Roosevelt Room rocks with great DJs which packs the dance floor.
A PubClub pick is the Roosevelt Room. This is a trendy club but with a nice pub attitude. That's a winning combination.
It's classy but the crowd cuts loose on the dance floor because of the DJs. And the layout is solid enough to where you can go to even the main bar and actually carry on a conversation with someone you've met There's a second bar in the back that's more cozy. It's located on Adelaide Street near John Street in the heart of downtown T.O.
The Tower of London is a favorite of many. It's multi-leveled dance club with a very good crowd.
Easy on the Fifth (or the Big Easy) is like an upscale beach club. It has wooden beach chairs in little sand spots and the music isn't too over-the-edge house. The crowd is late 20s and 30s, very well-dressed and classy, and the mood is more serene than at other clubs. If this were a Vegas casino, it would be where the high rollers hang.
Casino Lounge is yet another club with class. Schmooze is owned by the owners of My Apartment and it's a very good scene. The latter is the most popular place in town on Fridays with $1.75 drinks from afternoon until 11. In fact, there's usually a lineup by 5. Note that on the upstairs patio, drinks are regular prices and casual dress is not an option.
Courthouse Chamber Lounge on Adelaide is a good place for people who like 80's and 90's music and enjoy a comfortable environment. The ambiance is good – hardwood floors, big ceilings – and the sound system is above average. The 30's crowd mostly arrives after 11.
If it's Monday, plan to sleep in Tuesday. The Ba House is open and it's where the young and fun gather by the masses rock and dance. Located behind Gretzky's (by SkyDome) it dominates that night the way the CN Tower dominates the skyline. It's slightly dressy but not at all pretentious.
Clubs Around Town
The dancing is dynamic in downtown T.O.
Just over on Queen Street is one of most popular spots, Bamboo Club (312 Queen Street). It's a cool concept – festive setting with reggae and salsa music – but trying to get past the doorman on a weekend can be a real buzz kill.
The Guvernment (132 Queen's Quay East ) is a fairly new hotspot for twentysomethings featuring three rooms, each with it's own DJ, and a hypnotic light show. Fridays the music is commercial mix; Saturdays it's house music.
Money (199 Richmond Street) is a three-level nightclub with a bar on the first level, dancing on the second and a glass-bottom floor and surrounding balcony on third level for viewing the hot dance show. It's located next to the space-age Fluid Lounge, which features an energetic dance room on one side and a much more mellow lounge on the other.
The Phoenix (Sherbourne St.) is not right in the trendy downtown core but plays some amazing music in the main room. Its smaller area has retro music, pool tables and comfy couches. Radio station CFNY broadcasts live on Saturday nights. Sundays it hosts a wildly popular hip-hop night.
The relatively quite bar on the first floor is in contrast to the action on Money's other levels.
Lee's Palace (Bloor St .West) is an excellent place for live music. It's a platform for local bands on the rise. Upstairs, The Dance Cave is a popular dance club.
The El Mocambo - everyone calls it the Elmo – features live music, upstairs and down. It's located on Spadina Ave. at College St.
The Courthouse Celebrity Lounge is located in a refurbished courthouse. It has marble floors, multiple fireplaces, regal furniture and a regal crowd. Celebrities and the fashionable congregate there.
The Docks is either an an all-in-one bar or a schizophrenic nightclub, depending on one's point of view. Located in an obscure industrial area on the water about 20 minutes from downtown, The Docks has a seaside outdoor deck serving drinks and BBQ, a spacious indoor bar and and Ibiza-sized disco. With a batting cage, driving range and beach volleyball court, it's also an afternoon playground for the active sports nut. There's even a drive-in theater. It's large, loud and expensive (the $15 cover charge is just the beginning). The Aqua Lounge is the huge dance room. Saturdays are Urban Nights and let's just say it plays to the crowd.
The night is not over in Toronto just because the bars close. Three all-night spots keep the crowd active well into the night.
For food with a crowd, Fran's at Yonge/Eglington is an authentic diner with 24-hours breakfast; it's packed at 3 a.m. The Lakeview Lunch on College St. has a great and cheap breakfast that is popular with college students. Insomnia – Bloor St. West – is where post-clubbers unwind by drinking coffee on couches.
Or, you can walk around downtown after the clubs close among the hundreds of others spilling out of the clubs.
Finally, there's always Greektown. Restaurants serve until 4 and quite a few people make their way to "The Danforth" (as it's also known) for that last swing or two at romance.
Oh, and here's a bummer for late-night pubclubbers: The Madadore is not open anymore!