Every time you turn your head in Toronto these days, there’s a new place to check out. Bars and restaurants seem to be sprouting like mushrooms, and certainly, I aim to get to my fair share of them over the summer.
That said, there is something to be said for the tried and true — those familiar places that are steeped in memories. This post is about an evening out with my friend, Meghan, to a couple of places that are in this latter category — The Rivoli and The Horseshoe.
These two places, located a few storefronts apart on the north-east corner of Queen Street West and Spadina, have been there for as long as most who’ve lived in Toronto can remember. They are amoung the places where I first bought a drink legally — places that I’ve been too many times to count since then.
Meghan and I met at the upstairs bar at The Rivoli to have a couple of drinks and talk, before heading to The Horseshoe, where we had tickets to see a band.
While she’s been to The Riv many times, in the concert venue and the restaurant, she’d never been to the upstairs bar. That’s because she always thought the upstairs part was strictly a pool-hall and she doesn’t play pool. Well, given the fact that the second floor is called Rivoli Poolhall, it’s understandable that she and many others don’t venture up there in search of a drink. That would account for the reason why you can usually find a nice seat in this lovely bar area, while all the other good places in the popular neighbourhood are packed.
I’ve found it to be the best place to go if you want to sit and enjoy a drink and have a good talk. They’ll also bring some delicious snacks up from the kitchen if you want.
I’m glad we went there when we did because this beloved “secret” place is soon to be found out. By coincidence, this article about The Rivoli in FYI Music News about just came out yesterday, telling about the happy changes that have been going on there in recent months. In a nutshell, the former owners were ready to retire from the business, but rather than selling it for the big bucks they surely could have gotten for it, from someone who was more interested in the location, than they were in maintaining the name, history and atmosphere, they generously chose to let it go for a lot less money to someone who wanted it because it was The Rivoli. It is now owned by three young women who have some great plans for it, all while keeping it the same place people have grown to know and love over the years.
When I read the article I almost got teary over this turn of events. I look forward to seeing what happens, even though I’m not likely to have the opportunity to enjoy the easy access to the gorgeous booths in the upstairs bar for very much longer. I’m so glad it will still be there and while I might not get a seat, I’ll be able to catch glimpses of the ghost of the past all about the place, including playing game after game of pool on those tables.
Heading over to The Horseshoe to see the band …
La Luz are an all female surfy-rock band from Seattle, that Meghan loves and that I was happy to become acquainted with.
It was a fun night out with a great pal.
Thanks for checking out my post. I hope you have a really good weekend.