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Mar 23, 2009 08:47 AM

A decent bar near The Phoenix

We are going to see a gig at the Phoenix theatre tomorrow night.

I don't know the area that well.

Can anyone suggest a good bar close by to meet up in beforehand?


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  1. The Red Lion on Jarvis? Gabby's on Sherbourne?
    House on Parliament? The Keg Mansion? Hair of the Dog?

    1. There's nothing terribly nearby as in a couple of minutes walk. The Red Lion is closest, but not good.

      I'd suggest JamCafe on Carlton at Ontario. If you care to walk a little further you could also try The Cobourg on Parliament just south of Winchester.

      1. The area is pretty lacking in decent bars. I'd suggest the House on Parliament.

        Going to see Primal Scream? Bring ear plugs. Last time I saw them it was one of the loudest shows I've ever seen.

        1. If you're meeting and not eating, just go to the Red Lion. It's close, basically where everyone meets before shows. But don't eat there, oh no.

          6 Replies
          1. re: childofthestorm

            Thanks everyone.

            Looks as if we are meeting at The House on Parliament.

            And yes, it's for Primal Scream, they haven't played here since 2000... and yes... they are loud.

            I was there at that show also BTW!

            1. re: Non Doctor

              Good choice of HOP as you're very limited for the area.

              I go see a ton of music around Toronto and Phoenix has some of the best bartenders for this type of venue around, but want to give you a heads up on something. It should be a busy show so they'll have all bars open, and they'll all look jammed when you get there, but resist the idea of going to the upstairs bar on the balcony to get away from crowds. We've made this mistake a couple of times but last visit was the last time for sure. There's a female bartender with long dark hair that regularly seems to work up there and she's slow as molassas. We walked up and bar didn't look busy, only about 4 people waiting for drinks, looks great but it's a trap! In addition to being slow this bartender stops to have long conversations with friends who get prompt service when they walk up despite the slow build up of several others that had been waiting. Then she got into screaming matches with two different people that complained about it and threatened to have them thrown out. After about 15 minutes of of being blown off we gave up, went downstairs and were promptly served at crowded bar at bottom of stairs. A black mark on an otherwise excellent venue to see live music.

              Oh, also unless you're cool with 30+ minute line ups don't wait till end of show to pick up coats from coat check.

              1. re: abigllama

                Haha... that's funny.

                I have experienced almost exactly the same thing!

            2. re: childofthestorm

              childofthestorm is exactly right - Red Lion is fine for drinks but the food should be well avoided. I'm dying for them to improve this, as they're right in my back yard.

              If you change your mind about HOP, Non Doctor, Bar Volo is a little bit of a walk from the Phoenix but great selection of beer and the food's not bad. (E side of Yonge, N of Wellesley)

              587 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

              1. re: peasontoast

                For the record, Red Lion closed down about a month or so ago. I noticed this morning there's a sign up saying that "The Blake House" will open in the spring of 2010. Fingers crossed...

                1. re: peasontoast

                  Another decent addition to the area is Honey's Beestro Grand Hive in the Gooderham mansion on Jarvis. They've built a nice bar in there. Had some food and it was decent but nothing spectacular. The bar and lounge areas are very nice. Great to have coctails in the restored mansion. They're currently having a soft opening and still getting the food and menu sorted out so the food is currently a TBD.