Toronto’s best vinyl nights

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If you’re the type of Toronto-dwelling record aficionado who knows your original-pressed from your re-issues and your double grooves from your roulette masterings, here is your guide to the city’s best bring your own vinyl nights and record-centric events. Or, if you’re new to the scene and interested in the old-school approach to easy listening, check out these bars spinning vinyl all week long.

Communist's Daughter

1
1149 Dundas St W, Toronto ON M6J 1X3

Nestled at Dundas and Ossington, this low-lit neighbourhood gem is easy to miss – only a petite chalkboard in the front window bears its name. But just look out for the brightly coloured “Nazare Snack Bar” sign for a little dose of neighbourhood magic. Infamous Toronto bartender Michael Louis Johnson concocts delicious drinks and slings local microbrews at the compact canteen, where he hosts weekly bring your own vinyl nights. Listen to the A-side and then, in true communist fashion, vote on whether the B-side is worth hearing too. Pro and con voters are invited to defend their stance.

The Piston

2
937 Bloor St W, Toronto ON M6H 1L5

Those with a little dancing in mind flock to this Bloorcourt bar’s now-famed Shindig event. The monthly dance party is several elements of awesome: one part sultry vibe (the low-lit spot is a kind of hipster-meets-rockabilly-meets-mainstream bar); one part sweet tunes via funk, soul and R&B tunes from the ’50s and ’60s; and one part a solemn all-vinyl oath, guaranteeing some rarely heard gems from their original-pressed 7” 45s.

The Monarch Tavern

3
12 Clinton Pl, Toronto ON M6G 1J9

Tuesday is vinyl night at this tucked-away tavern on Clinton Street, inviting thirsty Torontonians in search of a post-work pick-me-up to bring in their favourite records and listen to a whole A- or B-side. Head upstairs for the interactive event, catch a few rounds of pool or check out the weekly live entertainment downstairs. Come just for a listen, but if you bring in a record, you’re in for a pint of Beau’s craft beer for a cool $4.

The Hitch

4
1216 Queen St E, Toronto ON M4M 1L7

This Leslieville spot was named for acerbic literary critic, writer and heavy drinker Christopher Hitchens, proving its serious-about-saucin’ status for thirsty east-enders. Casual meets gourmand at this compact, rustic bar, a neighbourhood go-to for whiskey cocktails, Hendrix-made gin and tonics, and local craft beers. Double down on the fun by attending the bar’s weekly Monday trivia night or Tuesday night’s BYO-vinyl event.

Souz Dal

5
612 College St, Toronto ON M6G 1B4

There’s a whole other world on the backyard patio of this Little Italy bar, which transports patrons from the hustle and bustle of College Street to a grass-roofed tiki bar complete with sandy floor and tropical cocktails. Stop in for a flaming absinthe and some classic tunes at the bar’s bring your own vinyl night, or attend a rip-roarin’ DJ’d dance party on the weekend.

Mill St Brew Pub - Toronto

6
21 Tank House Lane, Toronto ON M5A 3C4

Mill Street’s 2013-built Beer Hall is sort of the unlikely twin to the brewery’s Irish-themed brew pub: it offers the same DNA of delicious craft beers, but a whole other aesthetic, vibe and personality. Sleek communal tables, metal chairs and cement beams cast a distinctly modern air to the sprawling, high-ceilinged space, while warm lighting, sectioned booths and friendly staff create the casual, community feel. Saturday mornings fill the Beer Hall with hungry and hungover brunchers, while vinyl-lovers hit the massive space on the weekend for dance parties hosted by the Record Collective, Toronto’s infamous vinyl-only DJ duo.

Pour Boy Pub

7
666 Manning Ave, Toronto ON M6G 2W4

You know this beloved Annex pub well, even if you don’t think you do. The two-storey-high mural of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix has captivated the attention of Manning Avenue passersby for years. The friendly patio is home to both eclectic post-work conversations throughout the week and a party-pulsing energy on Fridays and Saturdays (Pour Boy’s Little Italy location hosts a slightly hipper vibe). Settle in for a locally brewed craft beer and a night of feel-good tunes or join in at the spot’s weekly BYO-vinyl night.

Our talented brewmasters are among the most beloved makers in the city, having carved out Toronto’s status as a destination for award-winning craft beer. Although the culture is home-grown and goes way back, post 2011, a slew of new spots have popped up across the city. Here are the stories behind both our famed microbreweries and innovative newcomers on the scene. [Photo credit: Celine Kim]
From second-storey terraces to canopy-covered courtyards, 2016 has been a good year for Toronto’s patio game. We’ve got the goods on the brand-new brewery on Roncesvalles and the Lakeshore’s most recent party-worthy spot. East to west, these resto-bar newcomers have created inspired outdoor spaces so you can start patio season off right. [Image credit: iStock.com/Sean Pavone] 
On Sunday May 1st 2016, the Artscape Wychwood Barns hosts TO’s largest festival for gluten-free foodies. With workshops led by gluten-free experts and over 65 food vendors to sample from, this event is a must-attend for wheat-sensitive Torontonians. From cupcakes to malt beer and cider tastings, the Gluten Free Garage is where to snack up and stock up this weekend. [Photo by Franco Deleo; courtesy of the Gluten Free Garage]
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