The “Worst” Places to Party in Downtown Toronto
From unique themes and Instagram-worthy artwork, to work-of-art cocktails worth posting about, Toronto is full of memorable party spots that are totally worthy of a chunk of your paycheque and the subsequent hangover.
There are also the places that make you wish you just stayed in and didn’t waste an outfit, time, and precious dollars on. From seedy crowds and power-tripping bouncers to rampant rodents, these are the worst places to party in Toronto according to online reviews.
Disclaimer: When I boldly call them “the worst,” keep in mind that there are people who may be seeking exactly what these spots are dishing up (to each their own, right?).
Unless you have a fetish for men in uniforms and partying insanely hard on a Wednesday night, the only thing half-decent about the tired Crocodile Rock is that the drink prices won’t dent the wallet (they remain stuck in the past, along with most of the crowd). The decades-old bar is known for their long-standing “911 Nights” on Wednesdays, an evening dedicated to hard-partying emergency response personnel (namely, firefighters) and $3 drinks. Of course, it’s not the emergency response workers that are the turnoff; in general, you can find a rowdy and rough-around-the-edges crowd within this impossible-to-miss building.
While The Pilot offers a refreshingly less pretentious vibe than most of the surrounding Yorkville spots, that may be the only thing the bar has going for it, aside from the laidback networking opportunities offered in the summer on the patio. While a longtime after work hangout for young professionals (for example, the advertising agencies around Yonge and Bloor), the list of grievances with this place include a history of rude and disengaged servers and a serious mouse problem a few summers ago, which has scarred me from going back, even if rodent control has done their job.
Unless being surrounded by drunken, song-chanting sorority girls and frat boys (and I was once one of those girls) or local drunks is your idea of a party, stay clear of the Madison Avenue Pub. Complete with often power tripping, no-nonsense bouncers (which is kind of inevitable given the debauchery and frequent fights the spot sees), and you’ve got yourself a night of exhausting, redundant rowdiness that should be left at the high school house parties.
There was a time when Spice Route was the hot reservation in town, but those days have come and gone. While the sprawling spot makes for a great event venue and the Asian-inspired food has never disappointed, if you’re looking to party Thursday to Saturday, you can expect to see no shortage of obnoxious d-bags at this King West spot (as in, the worst of King West). The sad reality is that the greasier, flashier, more obnoxious set has taken over the once hotspot.
While EFS lends itself nicely to an event space, features a breezy rooftop patio, and is full of no shortage of easy-on-the-eyes servers, it’s the type of club where you need to bring a TON of patience when it comes to everything from long lineups and tough-as-nails bouncers (they have been known to turn people away if they don’t like the way they look), to the crowded debauchery that goes down inside, which will inevitably result in a few spilled drinks and accidental elbows in the face.
If you want to avoid bad behaviour all around, stay far away from Fiction nightclub. Not only is it filled with barely legal (and completely rowdy) kids, the spot reeks of stale booze and cologne (the later of which is thanks to the oversaturation of young men in the place). It’s the type of spot where you’ll see a long lineup of girls in teeny tiny cocktail dresses, open-toed shoes and no jacket waiting in line in January with the one token friend who went too hard at the pre-drink who is hiccuping and practically needs to be held up. Not to mention, arrests are frequent in and outside of this spot (don’t shoot the messenger).
Unless you’re in high school and using your older cousin’s ID to get in, Grace O’Malley’s is not a great option if you’re looking for a solid night out in the city. The vibe is more reminiscent of a small-town university bar than anything else and it’s the kind of spot where, if you go on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ll likely lose your jacket, get spilled on by a sloppy stranger, and step in barf when you’re finally outside.
Do you know any other places in Toronto that aren’t worth your time? Share with us in the comments!
Featured image: Instagram/ @graciestoronto
Erin is a Toronto-based writer, actor and queen of the side hustle. When she’s not writing the day away in a face mask, she’s taking in the city’s vibrant arts scene, doing a red carpet interview or brunching with her leading ladies. Follow me: @erinnicoledavis