The top queer friendly bars outside the Village are a beautiful reflection of what's happening within Toronto's LGBT community right now. While the Village remains ground zero for many queer folks who arrive in the city for the first time and to many who have lived there since its inception, there are beacons of gay hope and happiness in the eastern and western reaches of our town.
Here are my picks for some of the top queer friendly bars outside the Village in Toronto.
The Beaver Cafe
This is a bar, cafe and restaurant started by the man who pretty much invented queer nightlife in the west end; Will Munro (and his partner Lynn McNeill). The Beaver hosts countless queer events almost every night of the week, and this West Queen West staple also boasts the most brilliantly queer staff in the entire city.
Proudly keeping all the queer moms and dads out a bit later than they probably should be, WAYLA (which stands for What Are You Looking At) is a lovely little queer hot spot on Queen East with multiple dance parties and karaoke nights for men, women and everyone in between.
This Bloordale outpost kind of feels like your strange aunt's living room, but get in there, sit down, and you quickly realize your aunt has invited all her lesbian, gay, queer and trans friends for a Tuesday night turn up. They also have great coffee, but it's their nighttime music events that have the community buzzing.
The Steady Café
A few doors east of Holy Oak is this tropical getaway. The Steady has slowly evolved into a South Beach, Miami feeling queer corner. They've always had queer nights and have some sort of dance party you'll be able to get wild at every Friday and Saturday night. They like cocktails and dark, backroom grind sessions.
Though this is a hotel, restaurant, bar, art gallery, The Gladstone's queer game is on point. Host to the Gaystone takeover during Pride, and countless cultural events thrown by, and starring queers, it can't help but be a big ol' gay bullseye. Most notably the ballroom has been put to super LGBT use lately with the Goddess parties and the annual Steers and Queers.
Niki Tsourounakis knows how to run a bar/restaurant/cafe and keep it effortlessly cool. The drinks are great, the food is yummers and there's a glorious patio. Besides all that, it's just a cool queer space. There's great music, great DJs when they appear, and it's just an all around reliable spot.
The Fountain has only gotten better with age. Owner Sailor Delany is basically a witch. Walking into her cozy world of wonder and being put under her spell is a regular occurrence. The bar's specialty is Dark & Stormy's, the music is always interesting and the art, decor and patrons found within are always welcoming.
The Old Nick
The Old Nick has a great pub brunch and a Pride Flag outside when the time is right. Younger east side gays hang out at this queer-friendly joint, which is a really great, friendly, welcoming place. It's a gem on the Danforth.
Lipstick and Dynamite
Rejoice! This Queen and Ossington hole in the wall has a patio! They also have a great front window that opens onto the bustling street, some lovely queer bar staff, great snacks and fuzzy decor. This is a rock 'n roll queer hangout. More Iggy Pop, less Kylie Minogue.
Where Queen and Roncesvalles meet, so do the queers in this neighbourhood at this retro spot. They've got great food (lots of vegan options), but they've also got an even better attitude and have been throwing queer nights here and there for a while now.
There are more, I know they're out there, but these are the bars that made my list. Tell our readers below what your fave queer friendly spot in the city is and let the love spread all over the place.
Photo of Lipstick and Dynamite by Jesse Milns.
by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO