Art. Fashion. Shopping. Music. Dining. Toronto’s Queen Street West to West Queen West has it all, including being named to Vogue magazine’s list of the world’s 15 coolest neighbourhoods, coming in second to top spot, Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa.
From Fashion District to Art & Design District, here’s a whistle-stop tour of a few venues along our beloved hipster-street:
Address: 314 Queen St. W, Cube Nightclub
Street Cred: Formerly Ultra Supper Club, the imposing street level gates still remind those who remember the days the Bamboo filled the space with Caribbean rhythms.
Event Stylin’: Seventies entertainment retro with its Studio 54-throwback of brass touches amid polished black lacquer wood and lush, curvaceous booth seating. A street-level courtyard fronts the main space. Owner Ink Entertainment knows how to throw a party.
Factor In: The 2,500-sq.-ft. rooftop patio with VIP booths, bar and panoramic view of the city.
Address: 639 Queen St., W, The Burroughes Building
Street Cred: A multi-level furniture shop and the street’s tallest building circa 1907. Today, houses retail (furniture, of course!), offices, art gallery and dedicated event space.
Event Stylin’: Pitch-perfect renovations preserved the era’s industrial architectural characteristics including restored old-style elevators, original hardwood, exposed brick, and post-and-beam detailing. Events can play against a very cool backdrop.
Factor In: Stand-up capacity for 350 guests in the 3rd floor loft gallery space, 450 guests reception-style on the 6th floor, and 100 plus a spectacular view of the city from the Rooftop Terrace.
Address: 875 Queen St. W, Noce
Street Cred: With its corner location across from Trinity Bellwoods Park for over two decades, Noce is a neighbourhood dining institution.
Event Stylin’: Huge lead-pane windows frame street and park action nicely. Warm-hued walls backdrop white linen-draped tables for a formal fine-dining tone. Well-executed classic Italian fare includes fresh pastas. Order up traditional multi-course meals, from antipasto to primo to secondo to dolce.
Factor In: The versatility of three dining rooms. The front room overlooking the park seats 36. A back area, with private entrance, seats 60. Extend space, or go private, with the intimate middle room seating 16. A covered patio entertains 40 from May to October.
Address: 906 Queen St. W, Graven Feather
Street Cred: Since opening in 2011, this gallery-workshop has become a magnet for artists, exhibits and events.
Event Stylin’: A walk-down from street level, the 600-sq.-ft. space is open-concept compact comprising one-half gallery and one-half working studio. Ideal for intimate, reception-style events of up to 30. Letterpress equipment and linotype blocks, along with each month’s exhibit, make for arty décor. Co-owner Pam Lobo “gets” events having worked in the industry and is happy to help make logistics happen.
Factor In: A teambuilding event with facilitated, hands-on instruction in printmaking, silk-screening, painting and more.
Concerts to Weddings
Address: 1087 Queen St. W, The Great Hall
Street Cred: Since opening in 1889 as a YMCA, The Great Hall has been home to a temperance group, a newspaper, and the Toronto School of Art.
Event Stylin’: Music and cultural art events beautifully showcase in the red-brick building with signature cupola-topped turret exterior. The Main Hall stage with ground and balcony seating holds 500 standing. A mash-up of Victorian and Gothic Revival architecture in the Conversation Room appeal to weddings with accents such as picturesque windows, wrought-iron work and loftyceilings.
Factor In: The Bristol, a British pub and curry house that recently opened at street level, accommodates pre-event or private hosting of up to 90.
Address: 1090 Queen St. W, Church Aperitivo Bar
Street Cred: Once home to a Slavic Pentecostal church.
Event Stylin’: Aside from arched glass doors, the unassuming grey brick frontage looks neither churchish nor clubbish, yet inside it’s all chic. A marble-topped bar stretches along one wall, and a ceiling cut-out exposes the church’s original wooden cathedral beams. A mezzanine – the altar — elevates VIP tables by the open-kitchen.
Factor In: The happening vibe, rockin’ DJ and plethora of shareable charcuterie platters and hearty Italian plates keep a crowd of 200 happy.
Address: 1100 Queen St. W, Twist Gallery
Street Cred: One of the first galleries to move in and survive in the West Queen West district.
Event Stylin’: Events enjoy a New York-style loft walk-up vibe with a wall of French Arch windows overlooking the area. The open-concept space is punctuated by industrial pillars and overhead wood beamed ceiling. The room accommodates several furnishing configurations, from cocktail cruisers to lounge areas to seated dining.
Factor In: The ever-changing art collections that grace the walls lend a beautiful gallery authenticity to events.
Address: 1150 Queen St. W, The Drake Hotel
Street Cred: Its hotel roots go back to 1890 when it served the nearby railway hub.
Event Stylin’: Eclectic high-level sophistication for the see-and-be-seen crowd. A versatile, great-looking venue for weddings to meetings to dance parties. Vintage features style the many contemporary spaces, from the classic Lounge for seated dining, the Café for casual gatherings, the Underground nightclub, and the privacy of Room 222. The kitchen curates great food events and tastings.
Factor In: The Sky Yard, one of the city’s liveliest patios, boasts a novel new theme every season.
Address: 1214 Queen St. W, Gladstone Hotel
Street Cred: Toront’s oldest hotel, the Gladstone today pays homage to the city’s art scene and hospitality in one eclectically happy mix.
Event Stylin’: Restored Victorian accents and exposed brick walls set the scene for several event spaces including The Ballroom which opens onto The Café for additional mingle room. Staging in the recently updated Melody Bar accommodates music, meetings and performances. Several smaller break-out rooms and the 2nd-floor gallery provide privacy.
Factor In: The hotel’s art, with over 70 exhibitions a year and 37 artist-designed hotel rooms.