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Nightlife In Toronto

Toronto is Canada’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, with a vibrant nightlife to match. With clubs staying open after-hours most nights, and drinking hours running until 2am, the city is perfect for party animals and hardcore clubbers. It’s illegal to serve alcohol without food in Ontario, which means bars are social hubs where you can also get a bite to eat. There’s also a thriving gay scene, and alternative club nights and gigs listed in free weekly papers Eye and Now. With cool neighborhoods packed with cocktail bars, underground clubs and several Toronto hostels to crash in post-party, the city caters to a young and hip crowd.

Toronto Entertainment District

Challenging its reputation as ‘Toronto the Good’, the city has an entire district devoted to entertainment, known as ‘The District’ to locals. These eight blocks in the city center border York Street and the Financial District, King and Queens Streets and reach right round to Spadina and Lakeshore. Most of the venues are housed in converted warehouses and old Victorian buildings.

Toronto Distillery District

The old whisky distillery has been transformed into a trendy hotspot, with cobbled walkways filled with edgy galleries and quirky shops by day, and lively pubs by night. Try the Mill Street Brewpub, where you can watch the brewers in action from behind a glass panel, or head to the Esplanade Bier Markt, a couple of blocks away, for over 100 brews of beer from 24 different countries, coupled with a global menu and live music on weekends.

Toronto Pub Life

Other great bars like the Madison Avenue Pub are temples to the humble pint, with four floors of bars inside three converted Victorian houses. For a more low key neighborhood favorite, the Rebel House, 1068 Yonge Street, is a Toronto institution, serving offbeat beers like ‘Raspberry Wheat Ale’ and wholesome Canadian cooking- the Cheese Pennies (biscuits made with spinach and cheddar and served with a dollop of sour cream) are the ultimate bar snack.

Toronto Bars

If you fancy something more refined than a pint, there are plenty of chic cocktail and martini bars in Toronto. Little Italy is now the hub of fashionable bars, and Bar Italia, 582 College Street, always draws a well-heeled crowd, who start the evening off with a plate of fresh and well-priced pasta. Hipsters congregate on Ossington Street at LeVack Block, a bar and ‘event space’, dive bar ‘Sweatty Bettys’ and Reposado, for great Margheritas and Tequila based cocktails.

Toronto Clubs

Most of the biggest and most famous clubs are on Richmond Street West, where the cavernous dance-floors at Joe, Muzik and Lot 332 are packed at weekends. Huge trance and house raves are held at The Guvernment, over on Queen’s Quay East, and the gay clubs and bars are scattered across the Church and Wellesley area. Dark and chilled-out music lounges like The Comrade can be found on Queen Street East.

Toronto Live Music

Toronto is great for live music, with a wide selection of venues, from grubby underground basements to vast concert halls. Massey Hall on Victoria Street has the most eclectic line-up, whilst The Horseshoe Tavern on Queen Street West is famous for being the first place The Police ever played in North America. For quieter evenings, unwind listening to Jazz at the Montreal Bistro and Jazz Club on Sherbourne Street, or the Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar on Queen Street. There are a several grungier rock and dance venues – WrongBar is the newest addition to the up-and-coming arts scene in Parkdale, and the Tattoo Rock Parlour on Queen Street plays a mash-up of rock, indie and dance.

Toronto Institutions

Toronto is ice hockey-mad, and no-where is this more apparent than at Wayne Gretzky's Restaurant, 99 Blue Jays Way, a bar and restaurant owned by one of the game's greatest players and decorated with memorabilia of his illustrious career. It’s the perfect combination of pucks, pints and ‘Pirogis’ – Grandma Gretzky’s dumplings and the hockey star’s favorite meal. After a few beers, head to another Canadian institution, The Second City Comedy Club. Future Hollywood stars such as Mike Myers and Dan Ackroyd got their big break on stage here.

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