The top bars for dancing in Toronto range from neighbourhood locals to sprawling nightclubs. Being out without knowing where the most reliable dance floor is has tainted many a potentially good night in this city, but no more. This guide should help solve any woes.
Here are my picks for the top bars for dancing in Toronto by neighbourhood.
Home to many a techno party, after hours sessions, international DJ sets and the odd shirts-off circuit bonanza, Coda is a dancer's paradise on the right night. The sound system is killer and the lights are crazy, but be sure to check who's playing before you head upstairs. This expansive dance space is only as good as the people spinning.
The Piston is one of the top small bars for dancing in the entire city. Host to the Beam Me Up disco parties and a slew of live shows, it's most definitely a place you can walk into and have your legs and hips be entertained.
Don't be intimidated by The Holy Oak's small-room look and feel when you walk in. Dance parties happen here, and they get pretty wild. There are monthlies and themed one-offs, many with queer tendencies, so it's worth keeping an eye on our events page and/or their website for what's up on weekends.
If going to the club when the sun is rising and leaving when it's beginning to set sounds like your kind of party, then the Comfort Zone is your jam. Sure it's kind of a shady after hours set up, but the DJ talent is unbeatable and the sound system will keep you dancing for hours longer than you thought your legs could take you. Ask my pulled hip muscle.
For a gay village, it's funny how few official spaces there are to dance. But whatever the space, queers will find a way. Thanks to many recent renovations to sound, lighting and space The Black Eagle dance floor is where it's at. The DJ quality is great. Sure, Zipperz has a crazy huge dance floor in the back, but there's not as much of a dance party guarantee than at the dirty bird.
With a great big dance floor and lots of live music on weekends, Eton House is the most reliable place for dancing on the Danforth. It's not your traditional Beyoncé and boogie down type weekend hot spot, but there's usually someone spinning or playing live on weekends.
While there's probably more overall dancing happening at Lula Lounge down the street, The Garrison is always my favourite on Dundas West. With dance floor space to spare, they often get great DJs and bands, but also host dance parties like the almost-quarterly, and most certainly legendary Hot Nuts.
Craft beer, cocktails, pinball machines and DJs. 3030 is where the night comes alive in The Junction. There is either a DJ or live music every weekend, a great space for gettin' down, and most of the time, there's no cover.
THE JUNCTION TRIANGLE
Those who already believe Dundas West is over have headed to Geary Lane for their warehouse dance party fix. It's a mixed use art and dance space with really unique programming, but mostly extremely danceable parties. Futuro Libre recently played.
Round wins top spot in Kensington because there's an actual dance floor and actual dance parties that happen inside this sweet second-floor venue. I have to highly recommend Cold Tea thanks to its amazing selection of DJs and infamous summer BBQ afternoons, but it's so jam packed it's hard to boogie.
Alert: there is bottle service at Wildflower, and bachelorette parties are also common, but there are also large flower decorations and multiple DJ booths. Super fun cocktails, hilarious dance music and a generally happy crowd make this the must-visit club on the King West.
Nights like Shake, Rattle & Roll and Get Lo happen at Clinton's. But then, so do Choir! Choir! Choir! rehearsals and Bad Movie Night TO screenings. It's an all around party, and if you're in Koreatown with an itch to dance, it'll most likely happen for you here.
This is literally the only place to dance in Leslieville, so good thing it's a great little party space. The adorable patio and friendly staff are just a bonus to this little east side sweet spot. WAYLA throws dance parties about every weekend, and while they rarely get buck wild, they still mange to drum up enough energy to properly keep the floor full and arms in the air.
OK, so despite all the condos and millennials and pubs, there still isn't really a true dance bar in Liberty Village. Locus 144 would be the closest thing to it. It's a lounge, but there are lively DJs and people move their bodies from time to time.
El Convento Rico has your drag and latino dance parties, and Blnd Tiger has "high energy dance parties," but it's Nest you must enter if you want to dance your face off. Their soundsystem is out of this world, they'll often go 'till 4am, and the DJ lineup is stellar. If house music is your deal, then fly over the Nest (sorry, I had to)!
Walk right in the front door of The Ossington and you'll find yourself on their dance floor. With a steady lineup of monthly DJs and cute one-offs on any given night of the week (mostly Thursday-Saturday) this is the place to dance on Ossington. Unless you want to dance on the spot in the lineup for Bang Bang.
Miss Thing's gets top marks in Parkdale. Not that the Shop at Parts & Labour doesn't hold its fair share of wild nights, but it's the Coconut Room (behind Miss Thing's Tiki restaurant) with its booming sound and big floor that guarantees a good night of shuffling feet. Hip hop monthly Big Primpin' is every first Friday, and they host a couple other monthlies as well.
Recently renovated by the Embrace organization, the new Velvet Underground is a great, pretension-free dance zone with a long dance space, next-level sound, and super friendly security. There's a secret bar hidden around the entrance wall and a stage for the solid bands and DJs brought in to play.
There are few places as cool as Jam Factory. A great warehouse-y space above Merchants of Green Coffee, they bring in DJs (mostly for Conscious Dance Parties) and loads of live music. Check their Facebook page before heading up.
Roncesvalles isn't exactly stacked with dance joints , but nearby is the Belljar. The adorable cafe/bar situation is home to live music and bar-induced foot stomping, which is the closest thing you'll get to dancing in this neighbourhood.
ST CLAIR AVENUE WEST
The Social Dance Spot is probably the most practical dance spot of all because most nights include a dance lesson, which is followed by a dance party. Salsa, Bachata, Dancehall, Rueda are all taught here. They're called Socials and they happen every Friday. This isn't a turn-up venue; it's a dance for your life spot.
WEST QUEEN WEST
I wanted to make the new Apt. 200 the choice dance spot on West Queen West. It's fun, fresh and I've stumbled into some great dance jams there. But absolutely nothing beats the music and energy of The Beaver. The party programming is just too fun to ignore. Award for best dance floor to make out on might also be given here.
YONGE & EGLINTON
There's a true lack of good dance bars in this Northern neighbourhood, but if you need to move in some way, I think Alleycatz Jazz Bar is where you'll need to head. Live jazz, swing, soul and funk nights are typical, and this is a good place if you're done screaming at people over booming sound systems.
Head to Maná on Cumberland. It's a Brazilian- and Latin- focused bar with loads of dance nights, DJs and cheap drinks. Their website also has enough different fonts to keep you entertained for days.
Did I miss your favourite neighbourhood dance spot? Make it be known in the comments below and let's get people out and moving!
Photo of Round by Jesse Milns.
by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO