Indie Guide: Toronto Clubbing

Electro and Indie Clubs in Toronto

It's only appropriate that my first Indie Guide be about the city I'm from.

Part one of the Guide is on Clubbing. If you want the popular Jersey Shore Guido clubs then just walk around the Entertainment District (John and Richmond) or check out your typical travel guide. It's sort of like the Champs Elysee area of clubbing ie you'd rather hang yourself than pay $20 cover to hang out with morons. (photo credit for Tape Deck Bros Top Right: AKFaoro )

WrongBar, Queen Street West : One of the great electro clubs of Toronto, where DJ's from the XX, Brodinksy (on Jan 31st!), Friendly Fires etc have all spun. This joint is hip and popular yet not too large, helping it retain its rad ambiance. Great for a Saturday night with cover ranging from $5-15 depending on who's playing. Top local acts like the Nasty Nav, Rynecologist, and Tapedeck Bros spin there often. If you're going to check it out, contact me for guestlist to get in for cheaper!

Drake Hotel, Queen Street West: This is another favourite in Toronto that is perfect for its diversity. A club with three floors, you can experience some truly great electro and innovative music in the basement ("the Underground"), the main floor has top 40 and can be used for lounging and dancing, and the third floor is an amazing roof top patio with a more sophisticated ambiance.  Cover can range from $5-15 and you access to all three. Great if you want the choice of good dance music and relaxed lounging in the same night.

Circa: As one of the biggest clubs on the scene, it is also one of the most expensive and crowded. Ran by NY Club Guru, it was known  to pull some of the biggest  acts in Toronto such as Justice, Cut Copy, Hercules and Love Affair but has done so less this year. Be ready to PAY around $20 and $15 with guestlist. Once you're in there are a multitude of floors and rooms to listen to various DJ's. The design is cool too. However If you're not looking for a place that is jammed packed and commercial, this is not the place to go.

Tattoo Rock Parlour, Queen Street West: Depending on the sets, this place is pumping almost all week long. Tattoo has been bringing in some of the bigger acts in Toronto such as Boys Noize. If you're looking for something to do on a Tuesday, this is one of your options. Thursday is retro night and always a good time with fun motown beats and swing dancing. Free before midnight if you're on the guestlist. Contact David King to get hooked up :).

The Social : Pretty cool club, but I frequent it less often. Come here to see local Toronto DJ's tear it up. Weekends are good, but if you're around on a Monday it may be worth your time to check it out.

This is London: If you want to dress up a bit more and listen to decent music, check out this spot. It has a classier feel. The cover is a bit more, but depending on the night you can see some big international acts in there. Last one I saw there was Boys Noize!

Gladstone Hotel
: I've never been during the night (only for a zine show) but it is highly recommended as one of the most hip places to go.

Mod Club, College Street: Friday and Saturdays are good at the Mod. You can check out local hot DJ Vaneska who always spins a good time. Also a concert hall. Once saw the Black Kids and the Virgins there and it was amazing.

Dance Cave, The Annex: For the local species, Dancecave is considered somewhere you go when you're are young and new to the club scene or when you get COMPLETELY hammered (which is usually in first year), however I'm going to defend it as a very unique and charming place. Although there is the crowd of 19 year old scene kids, this is a special joint where you can dance your soul and heart out to good pop indie rock like the Foals or Frans Ferdinand. Perhaps it is a better version of La Fleche D'or in Paris. The best part is: it's FREE (with your student card). If you are French I would definitely recommend it, because not much else exist like it in Paris (except maybe le Tigre which has recently made an appearance on the scene).

Andy Poolhall, College and Bathurst: Similar to Dance Cave but bigger and perhaps a bit more of an older crowd. I've only been once but it was stellar.

Strangelove, College and Bathurst
: Very close by Andy Poolhall, this is not a bad place to go on a Thursday night because cool Toronto DJ's spin and best of all, it is only $5 cover when on the G-list. Contact The Jons for guestlist.

The Boat, Kensington Market: Located in the heart of hippy central, this small and intimate club will dazzle you with how hip it is.

Just for kicks I'll give you the antonym to 'hip' and that is "THE BRUNNY." Located in the Annex, you must avoid it at all costs. Horrible frat boy ambiance and first year try-hards dancing to Top 40 shit is enough to make me puke like a frosh.

**Check out Rotate This for indie and electro shows or pick up a NOW magazine for free on any street corner for local and weekly events, or the Jons for guestlist info. Together this is a bible to Toronto.

But like any city, the drinks tend to be mega more expensive in the club, so it's highly recommended to do a pre-drink in some of Toronto's awesome Bars, to be reviewed in Part Two of the Indie Guide: Toronto Canada.

[A note on After Parties: In Toronto, the clubs close mad early (last call at 2 am), however there is an even more underground scene to the Underground and that is the world of After Parties. Hard to find and not all the time, they are a real good time when you find yourself in one, one of the things that make me love this city. Since they are illegal, I cannot list here where they are, but if you are in Toronto, contact me and I'll let you know.]

Some Local DJ Talent

Untrust Us- Crystal Castles

Minerals (Demo)- Tape Deck Bros

Little Bit Lykke Li (Remix)- AutoErotique

See Also...


  1. Yay, I've been to all these places at least once last year. My life as an exchange student is complete.

  2. tellement cool! J'en ferai un pour Paris, faut que tu me donnes ton feedback de ta propre ville!

  3. hi rmber mi yusz from kl....u gave mi u blog fb...rmber????????

  4. The Brunny!! Completely agree! As a former student living in the annex, I went once, never EVER again! AVOID!
    I think the sluttiest and easiest girls of Toronto go there.
    And I'll agree with you on the Dance Cave, as well-unique and always fun if you're with fun buddies!


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