Toronto
11 min

Season’s partying

Your complete guide to holiday bar events

CELEBRATION TIME. Where there's clubbing, there's fun. Credit: Xtra files

BARS, CLUBS & LOUNGES



Bar 501

Window onto a wacky world. Barflies and newbies appreciate the laidback atmosphere and bad (in a good way) drag shows. Saxophonist Carrie Chestnutt. 10:30pm Tue, Dec 17. Fourth annual fundraiser, with Bitch Diva, Burger and Betty Bijou. 10:30pm. Tue, Dec 24. Open at 4pm on Wed, Dec 25. New Year’s party with Bunny and Virginia. Buffet and party favours. Champagne at midnight. $10. Tue, Dec 31. 501 Church St. 944-3272. **



The Black Eagle

Bears, leather folk, denim guys and uniform fetishists stand and deliver. Check the tent out back. Barracks pass night. Mondays. Buzzcuts and boots. Wednesdays. Customer appreciation night, with toy drive for Spearhead. Thu, Dec 19. 8pm doors on Wed, Dec 25. Underwear Party for New Year’s. No cover. Tue, Dec 31. 457 Church St. 413-1219. **



Byzantium

It’s martini mayhem down the long bar (next to the restaurant) – packed tight with guys in tight shirts and the swelligant set. Closed Tue, Dec 24 and Wed, Dec 25. Five course meal with champagne for New Year’s. $85 (reserve with deposit). 6:30pm & 9:30pm. Tue, Dec 31. 499 Church St. 922-3859. **



The Cameron

Darling front lounge for bohemians, poseurs and old-timers. Switching off Friday nights is the fag DJ duo of Raw-brt and Rawkin Ray. Hot box performance space in back. Definitely Queen St queer, but the bands sometimes change the feel of the place. Closed Wed, Dec 25. Annual Country Jamboree, with Joanne Mackell and the Paradise Rangers. 6pm doors. Thu, Dec 26. New Year’s, with Rancho Mysterio in the front room. Before The Glue Dries in the back room. Party favours. $10. 9pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. Closed Wed, Jan 1. 408 Queen St W. 703-0811.



Carrington’s

Jock-talk while playing darts, pool or shuffleboard in this sunny bar with huge windows overlooking Yonge and Joseph. Euchre Nights. Mon. Free pool. Tue and Sun. No set holiday plans. 618 Yonge St, 2nd floor. 944-0559. **



Ciao Edie

Small space with attitude. It’s the ’70s: the clientele is mixed, the lamps are loony, the shag is deep. Sun: Here Kitty, Kitty, the girls’ night, with DJ DivaNation, aka SheiLa, and Nikki Red. No cover. Open till 3am. Closed Tue, Dec 24-25 and Wed, Jan 1. 489 College St. 927-7774. **



Club 56

Unnamed hole-in-the-ground club. Peroxide, Will Munro’s party with new wave, no wave and Italo-disco. $3. Sat, Dec 21. 56 Kensington Ave. 415-5515.



Crews/Tango/Endzone

Karaoke with Foofer Tuesdays and Fridays. Drag Wednesday to Sunday at 11pm. Amanda, Wednesday. Felicia, Thursdays. Chris Edwards and Farran Hyte, Fridays. Robin Loren and Farran Hyte, Saturday. The Freaks, Sundays. No cover. In Tango: Drag Kings. Wednesdays. DJ Glitch. Thursdays. DJ Xenon Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Wed, Dec 25. New Year’s with Chris Edwards and Farran Hyte. No cover. 11pm. Tue, Dec 31. 508 Church St. 972-1662. **



Hair Of The Dog

Comfy resto-lounge with patio. Closed Tue, Dec 24-25. Boxing Day brunch starts 10am. Thu, Dec 26. New Year’s. Three-courses for $35; Five courses for $85. 8pm seating. Bar open to anyone. Tue, Dec 31. 425 Church St. 964-2708. **



Inspire

New, classy resto-bar with pretty folk and champagne cocktails. Yum. Closed Wed, Dec 25. Special New Year’s menu. Tue, Dec 31. 491 Church St. 963-0044. **



Lava

Acid jazz, Latin house, this place can swing – and so can the clientele when not overrun with testosterone on the weekend. The Turnarounds, rockin’ guitars and electronic beats. With DJs Da Jive Talkin’ Robot and Phink. $3. 9pm doors. Sat, Dec 15. Rock Hard Fruitcake X-Mas II. Rub and Tug resident DJs Da Jive Talkin’ Robot and Phink, with a Slutty Santa in her grotta and a screening of Pee Wee’s X-Mas Special (at 9pm sharp). Sun, Dec 22. 507 College St. 966-5282.



The Living Well Café

A funky place to hang out on the love sofa with your intended. (There may be a queue for the sofa.) Closed Tue, Dec 24-Dec 25. Boxing Day brunch. 11:30am-3pm. Thu, Dec 26. Regular hours for New Year’s with dinner specials. Party upstairs starting at 8pm. Champagne at midnight. No cover. Tue, Dec 31. 692 Yonge St. 922-6770.



The Looking Glass

Elegant but bent resto-lounge with a fun bar upstairs with a mixed crowd. Martha Chavez hosts funky comedy night. 9pm. Tue. Queen’s Bedroom II cabaret. $5. 9pm start. Thursdays. Dec 12: it’s Elvira Kurt and Dave Tomlinson, with host Jane Ford. Dec 21: Kurt, Tomlinson, Man Murray, David Gale, Mark Cassius and many more for a holiday spectacular. DJ Katey. No cover. 10pm-2am. Fri. DJ Control Top. No cover. 10pm-3am. Sat. Bands and $5 cover. 4pm-7pm. Sun. Ricky Yorke, Dinae Leah, Mark Cassius and more. $5. 4pm-7pm. Sun, Dec 22. Open till midnight on Tue, Dec. 24. Closed Wed, Dec 25. Boxing Day brunch. Noon-4pm. Thu, Dec 26. New Year’s: three-course dinner with champagne and party favours. $55. 7pm & 9:30pm. No cover. DJ Paul Grace. 10pm-3am. Tue, Dec 31. 582 Church St. 929-4779. **



Le Petit Liban

5pm doors. Wed, Dec 25. New Year’s. Three-course dinner. $45. 5pm-8:30pm. Six-course dinner. $75. 8:30pm-midnight. Tue, Dec 31. 580 Church St. 963-2222. **



Pegasus On Church

Lots of fun for boys and girls. Brunswick tables, NTN satellite trivia, darts and video games. Closed from 7pm on Tue, Dec 24 to 3pm on Dec 25. New Year’s with champagne and party favours. No cover. 7pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. 489 Church St, 2nd floor. 927-8832. **



Pimblett’s Pub And Restaurant (Queen’s Head Pub)

This gay-owned pub has been pulling pints for dykes and drag queens for more than 25 years. With laid back music during the day and a more upbeat sound in the bar at night. Christmas lunches with three-course turkey dinner. $22.50. Mon, Dec 16-20 and Mon, Dec 23. Closed Tue, Dec 24-26. Cocktails and dinner for New Year’s with predictions and speech from the Queen. $30 adv. 8:30pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. 263 Gerrard St. 929-9525. **



Pope Joan

This local institution caters to women of all tastes and ages. Dancefloor, lounge and pool table. (Men are welcome with or without women friends.) Hot Rox with DJ Rox. $5. Fri. Sinful Saturdays with DJ Cat; all request. DJ TK hosts a new Sunday night of house and trance called Swerve. No cover. 8pm-close. Fri-Sat. Noon-close. Sun. A Glowing New Year. Glow party with free glow products. Prizes to be won. $5 if you glow; $8 if you don’t. Portion of proceeds to Fife House. 8pm. Tue, Dec 31. 547 Parliament St. 925-6662. www.popejoan.ca. **



The Red Spot

Different types of fun crowds each night. Latin Fever Christmas, with Ms Red Spot, Maria Del Monte. 9pm doors. Fri, Dec. 20. Christmas show with Caribbean band, Colours. $5. 10pm doors. Sat, Dec 21. Toy drive. Sun, Dec 22. Closed Wed, Dec 25. 10pm doors. Thu, Dec 26. New Year’s with Maria Del Monte. Buffet and party favours. Champagne at midnight. $5. 8pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. 459 Church St. 967-7768. **



Remington’s

You can smell the friendliness and this popular gay strip club. Ask about table dances. For men only. Cover: $5. Regular hours: 3pm-2am. Christmas hours: 7pm-2am. Wed, Dec 25. 379 Yonge St. 977-2160. **



Shag

Cool crimson-coloured lounge and bar. Play pool in the back or chill in the front. Martini Mondays. Cesar’s Place with DJ Cesar’s happenin’ house party, Wednesdays. Cabaret Voltaire with DJ Voltaire, Fridays. DJ Scootz plays jazz soul on Saturdays. Latin music and mojitos for Simple Sundays. No cover. Closed Tue, Dec 24-25. Boxing Day party. Details to come. Thu, Dec 26. New Year’s with buffet, including oysters and champagne. $50. 9pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. 504 Church St. 972-1333.



Slack Alice

This lounge and restaurant gets boisterous on the weekends. Popular with gay ladies and their friends. Look for live acts. Boxing Day brunch. 11am. Thu, Dec 26. Murder At The Mardi Gras. A murder-mystery event with three-course Cajun dinner. Dress for the theme. Masks provided. $29.95. 8pm. DJ/VJ Blue Peter after dinner. Bourbon at midnight. $15 adv. 10pm. Tue, Dec 31. 562 Church St. 969-8742. www.slackalice.ca. **



Sneakers

Yonge St used to be the centre of TO’s gay community. This bar is home to old timers who’d remember and young’uns willing to listen to the stories for a drink. Complimentary Christmas Eve buffet. 8pm. Tue, Dec 24. Open at 4pm. Wed, Dec 25. New Year’s with champagne, party favours and buffet. 8pm. Tue, Dec 31. 502 Yonge St. 961-5808. **



Statlers

A quiet alternative. Piano bar with other light, live entertainment. Christmas Eve buffet and chance to meet St Nick. 6pm. Tue, Dec 24. Closed Wed, Dec 25. 1935 New Year’s with Julie Michaels. Buffet and party favours. Champagne at midnight. No cover. 9pm doors. 471 Church St. 925-0341.



Tequila Lounge

Grapefruit is a new gay party that’s now gone monthly (the third Friday of the month). Disco to ’80s retro. The next installment is Dec 20. $5. 10pm-3am. 794 Bathurst St. 536-0346.



The Toolbox

Friendly leather and denim boys. Free pool. Closed Tue, Dec 24-25. Toolbox New Year’s. $40 until Dec 25; $50 afterwards. 10pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. 508 Eastern Ave. 466-8616. **



Top Of The Senator

New Year’s. Ritzy jazz and dinner club offers dinner, dancing and champers at midnight. With the smooth crooning of the John Alcorn Quintet. (There are a very limited number of seats just for the show.) $140. 8:30pm seating. 10pm show. Tue, Dec 31. 249 Victoria St. 364-7517.



Trax V

Mullets, fur coats, cheap beer and good times. Piano bar in front and the live schmaltz on the back stage. There’s a show of some sort, every night. The Many Faces Of Nicky Ray: A Christmas extravaganza with guests Michelle DuBarry and Rusty Ryan (on the same stage?!). A benefit for Gilda’s Club. No cover. 10:30pm. Mon, Dec 23. Homes For The Holidays food drive. Sun, Dec 22. Black And White Night for New Year’s with Blaze And Glory, Kendall and Lisa on piano. Cover TBA. 8pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. 529 Yonge St. 963-5196. **



Wett Bar

Cool, ultra design attracts local hipsters to this tiny bar with a twist with big new extension called the Blue Room. Wed-Sun. 9pm-2am. Maitland St. 966-9388. **



Winchester Pub

The crusty ol’ tavern has started turning queer tricks. Closed Tue, Dec 24-25. New Year’s Eve, Disco funk band Booty Smackers. Buffet and party favours. Champagne at midnight. $25 adv. 9pm doors. 537 Parliament St. 929-1875.



Woody’s/Sailor

Gangs of friends, circled like musk ox, can be intimidating, but the layout and lighting makes for discreet cruising. Wonderful corporate citizen. Open at 8pm on Wed, Dec 25. Best Chest contest, hosted by Chris Edwards and Sylvia. $300 in prizes. Thu, Dec 26. Love Train with DJ Blue Peter, Nicolette Brown, Scarlet Fever, Michelle Ross and more. A celebration in the Studio 54 tradition. Champagne at mid- night. No cover. 9pm-3:30am. Tue, Dec 31. 465-67 Church St. 972-0887. **



Zelda’s

If you love your disco and ’70s retro, sit and watch life wheel by in this funky restaurant and bar. Saturday theme nights. Open 11am-6pm. Tue, Dec 24. Christmas menu and Santa Claus on hand. 5pm-11pm. Wed, Dec 25. New Year’s hosted by Zelda, Barbie and Lena Over. “Interactive” drag show with prizes. Upscale menu. Champagne at midnight. No cover. 9pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. 542 Church St. 922-2526. **



Zipperz

Easy fun. Piano lounge, pool tables and disco dancing. New Year’s with DJ Alain. Buffet and party favours. Champagne at midnight. $15. 9pm-3am. Tue, Dec 31. Closed Wed, Jan 1. 72 Carlton St. 921-0066. **



DANCING & PARTIES



The Barn/Stables

From nelly to leather, this mainly men’s bar offers three floors with dancing, pool and dark corners. The cruising spot of last resort (ie, it gets packed around last call). DJ Alain. Mon & Wed. Chris Steinbach. Tue & Thu. Brian Perry. Fri-Sun. Underwear party. 4pm-11:30pm. Sun. Cover: $5 after 1am; Thu-Sat. No holiday events or changes. 418 Church St. 977-4684. 977-4702. **



Club Manhattan

I Wanna Fuck Friday.The last of this party with DJ Control top spinning vocal and progressive house. Free before 11pm; $5 after. Fri, Dec 13. Fatale Fridays, a new queer nite with DJ Prasonik spinning house to Bollywood. $4 with donation to the Daily Bread Food Bank; $5 reg. 10pm doors. Fri, Dec 20. Glammity, a special reggae version of Black Cat’s Stylin’ Saturdays. $10. Sat, Dec 14. Then DJ Juwandi, from Brooklyn’s famous Rockwell’s nightclub, spins R&B, reggae and hip hop. $10. Sat, Dec 21. Juwandi returns the next night, spinning more house, for I’ll House You. $10. Sun, Dec 22. Black Cat has launched a new monthly party (last Thursday of the month) featuring R&B, reggae and hip hop. Thuggin.’ $5. Thu, Dec 26. Then Stylin’ blacks out with Lights Out Party. Wear black and bring a flashlight. $10. Sat, Dec 28. The New Year’s eve party is called Glamourous Life, with champers, a Black Cat CD, dessert table and show with Markita J Brown, Jeanette Dupree, Miss Trinity Ross and more. With DJs Black Cat and T’N’T. $30. Till 5am. Tue, Dec 31. 19 Balmuto St. 920-9119.



El Convento Rico

Though increasingly a suburban tourist spot, this dance club is still one of the best switch-ups around. Latin dancing and disco. Shemale Night with host Amanda Taylor, go-go dancers and stage shows. $20; $10 for shemales. 7:30pm doors. Wed. Drag show: 1am Friday, 12:30am Saturday. $5 cover. All female band D’Talle from Cuba. 9pm doors. Sunday. Get there before midnight on weekends to avoid line-ups. Closed Tue, Dec 24-25. New Year’s with Ms El Convento Rico, Sofonda. Hor d’oeuvres and party favours. Champagne at midnight. $25adv; $30 door. 8pm doors. 750 College St. 588-7800. **



Five

College night. No cover. Wed. Fusion Fridays, with DJ Mark Falco. Free before 10:30pm; $10 after. Salvation Saturdays with Chris Steinbach. 9pm doors; free before 10:30pm. Barry Harris of Thunderpuss. Only 300 tickets. $10adv; $15 before midnight; $20 after. 9pm. Sat, Dec 21. Twisted Christmas with UK DJ Tom Stephans. $10 adv; $15 before midnight; $20 after. Sun, Dec 22. New Year’s with DJs Chris Steinbach and Mark Falco. $25. 9pm doors. Tue, Dec 31. 5 St Joseph St. 964-8685. www.5ivenight-club.com. **



Fly

Muscle Marys and groove meisters pack into a wonderful maze of a space. DJ Zahra has been collecting music in India and returns with a bag-load of aural treats for Funkasia. Fri, Dec 13. Tribal Ride with Shawn Riker and Sylvain Girard. Sat, Dec 14. Just Riker. Dec 21. DJ Mark Falco. Sat, Dec 28. Saturday cover: $10 till midnight; $15 till 2am; $20 after. A Very Fly New Year’s Eve. With DJ Guido and Escape. $85 VIP tix include private cocktail reception (9;30pm-11-m), special licensed area till 4am, separate entrance till 11am and coat check. $30-$40. 9:30pm-noon. Tue, Dec 31. 8 Gloucester St. 410-5426. **



The Guvernment/Kool Haus

Dutch-native Tijs Verwest, aka Tiësto, voted the world’s number one DJ in 2002 by DJ Magazine, with Luke Fair. $25-$35 adv. Sat, Dec 14. Kool Haus entrance. Bigger Than Life New Year’s. Eight rooms of entertainment with Mark Oliver, Max Graham, Sydney Blu and more. Champagne at midnight. Party favours. Continental breakfast at 3am. $45 until Dec 27; $50 until Dec 31. More at the door. 9pm-dawn. Tue, Dec 31. 132 Queens Quay E. 869-9261. www.theguvernment.com.



It

Three floors of fun, with Matt Cin the Pura Lounge and Cory Activate and Sylvian Girard rotating upstairs. It’s A Boy’s Life, the popular gay Sunday night party moves to Friday night. Grand Re-opening features Mark Anthony in the big room and a show by Leno Love. $10 adv; $15 door. Fri, Dec 13. Winter Wonderland, with Girard, Matt C and a show by Sofonda. $10. Fri, Dec 20. Holiday Food Drive, with Activate and Matt C, with a show by Titi Galore. $5 with non-perishable food item; $10 without. Fri, Dec 27. New Year’s Eve. A special edition of It’s A Boy’s Life. With Cory Activate and Sofonda. $25 door. 9pm-5am. Tue, Dec 31. Frisk at the door alert. 167 Church St. 410-1902. www.itsaboyslife.com.



Lee’s Palace & Dance Cave

Super New Year’s version of the queer rock nite Vazaleen, with special guest TBA. Film projections. Fri, Dec 27. Sin Sundays upstairs in the bat cave. No cover. 529 Bloor St W. 532-1598.



NASA

Boxing Day Bash with Zoli, Freedom and Medicine Muffin. Thu, Dec 26. New Year’s In 3D. 3D movie viewing, glasses provided. Hot and cold dinner. Champagne at midnight. $20 adv. 8pm-5am. Tue, Dec 31. 609 Queen St W. 504-8356. www.nasadancepub.ca.



Roxy Blu

Just Do Me, the new Thursday night party with DJs Matt C and Dino & Terry. $5. 10pm doors. Thursdays. Second annual Ugly Sweater Christmas party. Wear your ugliest sweater and then donate it to their clothes drive. DJs Matt C, Dino & Terry, and Dave Campbell. 10pm doors. Thu, Dec 12. Garage 416 presents François K doing an extended DJ set, with a vocal performance by Barbara Mendes. Residents Blueprint and Moreno. $20 adv. 10pm doors. Fri, Dec 13. 12 Brant St. 504-3222.



Tallulah’s Cabaret



Home to a bizarre array of performance, the cabaret space transforms late-night Fridays and Saturdays. The crowd is eclectically queer – everyone cruises everything. Superstar Series with DJ SheiLa and special guests. $3. 10:30pm doors. Fri. DJ K-Tel. Sat. $5. 10pm-3am. Naked New Year’s with DJ K-Tel and DJ Catscratch. Hosted by Earl Plump Cock. Performances by Shane and the Beefcake boys, and Sasha and the Scandelles. $15. 10:30pm doors. 12 Alexander St. 975-8555. **



York Theatre

The Smirnoff Experience, with DJs Eric Morillo, Matt C, Kenny Glasgow, Dekoze, Felix & Gani and more. With a live appearance by Legion Of Green Men. $25 adv; $30 door. 10pm doors. Thu, Dec 19. 101 Eglinton Ave W. 870-8000. www.mysmirnoff.ca.



Zipperz

(see above) **





* These listings are not etched in stone. Many locales will always appear, others will make periodic appearances. Queries, mistakes, additions? Call (416) 925-6665 ext 229, or fax us at (416) 925-6503.



** indicates lesbian and gay establishments