Everything You Need To Know About Toronto Nightlife
If you are new to Toronto, visiting on vacation, or simply have not been out in the nightlife scene in a while, trying to plan a night out may seem like a daunting task.
Although we consider ourselves experts in the Toronto nightclub scene, We know what it’s like when you’re in a city where you don’t know much about the nightlife except for what you see online or on Instagram. In fact, let’s start with a story –
We were in Miami not too long ago, and aside from the popular clubs that we all have heard about like LIV or Story (both of which are located in South Beach Miami) we didn’t realize that South Beach wasn’t the only hot spot for nightclubs and lounges.
Unfortunately for us, it was only until the last day that we were there, when a group of locals mentioned to us another area of nightlife hotspot of Miami called Brickell, that – was a chill casual area of Miami with a more artsy nightlife scene. Easy to say we were a bit bitter and wished we hadn’t spent all my time in South Beach alone… If only we had known earlier!
But that’s why we’re here…
We’re going to help you find the South Beach AND the Brickell of Toronto… as well as all those other little hidden gems that you wouldn’t have found on your own. We’re going to provide you with the insider information about Toronto nightclubs that we built from first hand experience that we wish someone would give to us if we were visiting Toronto or were simply new/out of the loop of the nightlife scene, so we didn’t waste our nights.
Let’s start with some of the basic questions you might have about Toronto if you’re not from here, or simply have been out of the loop…
Does Toronto Have Good Nightlife?
Toronto has one of the liveliest nightlife scenes in Canada, only second to Montreal. Toronto nightlife is a lot better in the Summer when more people are out and about, and the city is more alive, but winter nights can be just as busy as people are looking for something to do on those cold weekend nights rather than spending it at home doing the same old thing. Within Toronto there are multiple clubs, bars, and lounges to check out all year round, more than enough to visit for a full week or two without going to the same place twice! Most people make the assumption that there are only a handful of good clubs but that’s far from the truth.
How Many Nightclubs Are There In Toronto?
There are probably over 30 large/well known clubs in Toronto, the list can go on if you count smaller venues, bars, supper clubs and lounges. However, in terms of consistently busy and well-known venues, there are approximately 20-30 in the downtown core that are always a solid choice. The other smaller venues generally serve a specific niche or demographic and are worth checking out, but really only if they speak to you.
How Old Do I Have To Be To Get Into A Nightclub In Toronto?
As the age limit for alcohol in Ontario is 19 years old, all nightclubs in Toronto have the age limit of 19 years old or older. Additionally, some venues may have a higher age limit of 25+ which usually means the crowd will be more mature. These are the two primary minimum age limits set for venues who serve alcohol in and Toronto and the GTA.
Where Are The Nightclubs In Toronto Located?
The clubs in Toronto are simply everywhere, and this is where the deep dive into Toronto nightclubs really begins, so let’s start off with the main topic – Location.
Location. Location. Location.
Location is always critical, because living in Toronto or even visiting Toronto, you have to know that not every area is easily accessible. Our metro system isn’t the greatest, and usually, in a huge city like Toronto with multiple suburbs you will need a car or get an Uber most of the time to get around if you aren’t already in the downtown core.
Where should I stay In Toronto If I want To Visit Nightclubs?
If you are visiting Toronto on a vacation, or simply want to book an Airbnb for a weekend party, I suggest staying close to the Entertainment District or Fashion District, ideally somewhere close to King Street West and Portland Street, as this is the central area for which almost 90% of the nightclubs are either a short walk or a 5 minute Taxi/Uber/Lyft ride away.
Where Are The Hottest Clubs In Toronto?
Now you’re probably wondering – Where are the clubbing hot spots? For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to break down Toronto’s nightclub hotspots into 8 main hubs…
Nightclubs in the Downtown Core
The downtown core is comprised of 6 of these hubs, The Entertainment District, The Fashion District (King Street West), Queen Street West, the University Area, Kensington Market and Polson Pier.
Of these 6 hubs the main areas you’ll find most clubs in are: The Fashion District, The Entertainment District and Queen Street West, in that order.
Nightclubs in the Fashion District
The Fashion District’s name may be a bit misleading, as this is far more than simply fashion houses and boutiques. The Fashion District is where you will currently find the bulk of nightclubs in Toronto. This area caters to almost all demographics as there are venues for College and University students as well as those for young professionals as well as more mature clientele.
This is where you will find the famous King Street West clubs of Toronto. The one main gripe you may hear people complain about in Toronto is that King Street West is too ‘mainstream.’ This is generally because this is where almost 80% of Toronto comes to when they want to party. Money talks on King Street, and typically Nightclubs in this area are on the pricier end.
Some of the clubs you’ll find in the fashion district include:
A mid-sized hip hop club, very well known and has been around for years.
A club with an underground basement feel, spinning trap and hip hop, appeals to urban youth.
A small club under the Thompson Hotel, spinning hip hop anthems, with great neon aesthetics.
Known for its long-elongated layout, this club is located on the upper area of a narrow building, and is very popular amongst Toronto’s youth.
Toronto’s one true rooftop club, mixing lounge vibes and club vibes, while playing hip hop and R&B.
A small underground dance bar / club, appeals to those who want to hear a mix of top 40, soft rock, alternative, and hip hop.
A well-known club on King Street west very well known for playing old school hip hop and throwback classics.
A supper club that appeals to the more mature crowd, playing top 40, and throwback hip hop.
A small dance bar/club venue that is generally busy.
One of the most well-known dance bar/club style venues on King Street. Consistently busy, and attracts a mix of young professionals, students and the mature crowd.
An underground trap/rap and hip hop venue, with a crazy neon purple and blue interior.
This venue plays predominately Latin music and appeals to a Latin crowd which enjoys this type of music.
A large club playing top 40 and radio hip hop hits, very popular amongst students.
The Entertainment District
The Entertainment District used to be the nightclub hub of Toronto in the early 2000’s, but after 2010 due to the construction of condos in the area, many clubs shut down and were replaced by high rises. However, there are a few clubs and bars in the area that remain to this day and it is still considered the Entertainment District because this area has TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, and the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
The nightclubs and bars in the Entertainment District now primarily aimed towards the University and College crowd. This demographic is clearly obvious from the streets at night occupied with college and uni aged students. The bars and nightclubs in the area generally provide cheap drinks and reasonably priced bottle service to attract and maintain this student crowd, so If you are 19-21 years old — the entertainment district will suit you well. If you are older, it’s still not a bad area to check out some spots for some cheap pre-drinks, or to have a more of a rowdy night out.
Some of the clubs you will find in this area include:
A large venue that plays hip hop music, generally attracts students.
A 2-floor club generally targeting first and second-year students.
A small dance bar, that can get quite crowded. Plays top 40.
A two-floor dance bar, plays top 40, and serves $3 drinks.
Another two-floor bar, the first floor is a bowling alley, and the upstairs is a large dance bar, playing top 40 music.
A country-style bar playing folk, country and top 40.
A hip hop club playing primarily rap and trap and appeals to a younger crowd.
A large club known for its swing in the middle of the dance floor, playing generally top 40.
Queen Street West
Queen Street West is commonly viewed as the “hipster”’ area of Toronto. While this view may be only partially true, you will find that this area is more art-centric. The reality is that this area tends to appeal to more than just the “hipsters” in the city, and has a lot to offer for everyone.
In this area you’ll find some great venues that may view themselves as less “mainstream ‘ since they aren’t necessarily trying to be like the big clubs on King Street (in the Fashion District). You can always expect to hear some eclectic music at the clubs and bars in this area — ranging from underground hip-hop, dancehall, old school hip-hop throwbacks, as well as alternative and indie rock. You’ll also find the crowd in this area takes themselves less seriously and usually is dressed more casually than their King Street counterparts.
Some of the clubs you will find in this area include:
Playing generally hip hop and throw backs, a small dance bar in the Ossington area.
This club has arcade games, pool tables, and a dance floor, playing the latest hip hop bangers, and underground artists. One of the best places for hip hop music.
A 3 floor venue in the Drake Hotel, playing old hip hop music and throw backs.
A small club upstairs above the Good Son, playing hip hop music.
Toronto’s Other Downtown Nightlife Areas
There are a few other areas of Toronto that we wouldn’t necessarily call Toronto nightclub hotspots, but that we think are mentioning to checkout if they appeal to you, or if you’re in the area.
The University Area
Generally, around the University of Toronto, there are some nightclubs and bars specifically aimed towards students. While these dance clubs and small bars are very student centric, they attract not only UofT students, but those from all over Toronto — including international students, students from other colleges and universities, as well as young professionals.
Some of the venues in this area which might interest you include:
A multi story, multi room bar, with a dance floor in the basement, very popular amongst students.
One of the best student dance bars.
A student lounge and bar very popular amongst students.
Kensington market known for its unique atmosphere during the day, providing Toronto with a unique area of art, food vendors and stalls, street vendors, and a scene reminiscent of New York City’s street markets. While being a diverse day market, the Kensington Market area also has a unique nightlife scene of its own.
We would describe the nightlife in this area as one similar to Queen Street West, however, aimed more towards those looking for more of a laid back bar vibe. Kensington market at night can be a little on the sketchy side, but generally, people are friendly, and you can easily find a bunch of patio bars, as well as the occasional underground/hidden party here. Definitely an area worth checking out at least once.
A large dance bar with a fun laid back vibe.
A small bar offering snacks and hip hop music.
A small top 40 bar.
Known for its Barcode Saturday nights.
A small restaurant and bar with a lounge vibe.
Small bar, known for summer patio vibes.
Cheap food and drinks, with a rachet student party upstairs.
The Polson Pier
The Polson Pier is not necessarily a nightlife hot spot of Toronto, but it makes the list as an area on its own because it houses two of Toronto’s largest nightlife/party venues — both Rebel and Cabana. It goes without saying, these are the two biggest and most well known venues in all of Toronto. However, you should be prepared to drive or Taxi/Uber/Lyft here because this location is a long bus ride away from the subway line, and not very close to the other Toronto nightclub areas mentioned in this guide.
The largest club in Toronto, with 4 different rooms and four genres of music. It appeals to the masses.
Toronto’s premiere pool party hot spot right by the lake. Known for its all white and baby blue theme, and essentially the go to day party during Toronto summers.
The Greater Toronto Area (The GTA)
The Greater Toronto area includes the suburbs which are generally within an hour of driving distance from the actual Toronto Core. If Toronto was the center of a circle generally the north-central end has easy accessible metro access and simply can take public transit straight to the downtown core, whereas the East and West End public transit is tedious, slower, and less efficient. That’s why we’ll also take a look at the nightclub scene in both East End Toronto and West End Toronto if you happen to be located in either of these areas.
East End Toronto of the GTA
East End Toronto (Markham, Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Oshawa ect) – If you are in the east end and want to stay local in that area but hit a club there are a small handful of nightclubs you might want to check out:
Playing a mix of dancehall, soca and reggae, this is a new hot spot in Pickering for the dancehall and soca scene.
A classic east end location, known for playing a mix of throwback hip hop, dancehall and reggae, notable from their live to air program on Flow 93.5.
This is the east ends version of Cabana, although much more smaller, it does aim to be a lounge / day party vibe in the east end.
West End Toronto of the GTA
West End Toronto (Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton) – If you are in the west end and want to stay local in that area, the west end has a better selection than the east end for you to check out:
A new venue playing a mix of Top 40 and Hip Hop, Her brings the downtown club feel to the west end.
Very large dance floor, plays dancehall, hip-hop & R&B.
Saturday night only spot playing top 40.
A club very close to square one, playing hip hop and top 40.
Nightclubs By Music
Toronto Nightlife is not only divided by location but also by the various music scenes you’ll find here. In Toronto you will find that clubs generally cater to a specific music scene and demographic, so we’ll give you the low-down on which clubs to visit for each music scene.
Hip-Hop Nightclub Scene
While there are the typical Hip-Hop nightclubs that play the radio friendly Top 40 Hip-Hop, there are also nightclubs that play Rap mixed with Trap, and finally nightclubs that mix Billboard top hit Hip-Hop Records with everyone’s favorite Underground Hip-Hop singles similar to what you’d find in a dope Spotify playlist. Each scene caters to a different crowd, those generally younger and wanting to hear their favourite radio records go to Nightclub A, while those wanting to sip some Hennessy and listen to Trap anthems go to Nightclub B and finally, those who want to be in an environment that offers a mix of everything goes to Nightclub C.
Here is a list of Toronto’s top Hip-Hop Nightclubs:
Playing a mix of the top hip hop and underground records.
Spinning top hip hop and rap anthems.
Playing a mix of rap and R&B.
Afrobeats and Rap mixed with Trap anthems,
Rap & Hip-Hop mixed with Trap anthems,
A mix of Rap, Hip-Hop and Top 40 R&B.
Similar to your favourite young thug, lil uzi and playboi carti playlist.
Hip hop throwbacks.
Top 40 Nightclub Scene
The Top 40 nightclub scene in Toronto typically caters their music to the masses. However when you’re playing top 40 you are essentially trying to please everyone, but not necessarily appealing to just one vibe, so expect a mixed bag at these venues, since the vibe can change from night to night. Generally, these night clubs attract a mixed crowd, and have more of a bar-mixed-with-club vibe going on.
Here is a list of our favourite Top 40 clubs and bars:
A true club with Top 40 records and EDM mixes in the main room.
This venue plays primarily only top 40 and has a dance bar feel.
Top 40, with a favour towards Hip hop Radio hits, in a similar dance bar vibe.
Top 40 for the student crowd.
EDM Nightclub Scene
Although not as prominent as the top 40 and hip-hop clubs in Toronto, there is still an EDM scene thriving in Toronto. Expect EDM venues to be heavy into the different genres of EDM including House, Big Room House, Tech House, Future House, Deep House, Trance, and your occasional blend of Tropical House. Although EDM nightclubs are not as big as they have been past there are a handful of venues where you can still get your electronic music fix.
Here are some of the EDM clubs you’ll love:
A mix of house, EDM, dark house and techno.
Primarily deep and dark house.
Very dark house vibes on Wildflower’s dark room nights.
Rock/Pop Bar & Club Scene
The Rock and Pop scene (generally Soft Rock and Punk) still exists in Toronto, however you’ll generally find this at more dance bars or venues which have a bar/nightclub mix, as they generally cater to a mix of Folk Anthems, Pop Hits, Soft Rock and Punk Rock Classics. You won’t find any big venues playing this music (other than at concerts) as this subculture has slowly died out in Toronto. Nonetheless, we’ll guide you to some venues you may enjoy if you are in this demographic and enjoy venues that play this type of music.
Oldies and Rock hits.
Country and Top 40.
Oldies and top 40 throwbacks, caters to the mature crowd.
Reggaeton / Latin Music Scene
There is a huge demand in Toronto for Latin nights, and latin clubs. So expect a few clubs to have either a dedicated Latin night, as well as one or two dedicated venues for the Latin community, generally playing Reggaeton mixes and other Latin classics.
Spinning predominantly Latin Classics and a mix of Reggaeton.
La Noche Latin Night – playing your favourite Latin Hits.
Latin Night at &Co, a very popular night for this venue.
A dedicated room at the back of Rebel that primairly plays Reggaeton.
A popular supper club that plays mainly Latin Music, then turns into a dance bar later into the night.
Frequently Asked Questions About Toronto’s Nightlife Scene
As a bonus we’re now going to answer some recurring questions we’ve noticed online about Toronto’s diverse nightlife scene and Toronto nightclubs in general.
What Clubs Do Celebrities Go To In Toronto ?
Most celebrities in Toronto if choosing to attend a nightclub prefer to go to those which offer them a private space and security. Often times they generally attend the higher-end venues in Toronto with a bit more prestige. Most Hip-Hop artists, rappers and basketball players can be found at after parties at clubs like EFS Toronto, Lost and Found, or Wildflower Toronto.
Additionally, some artists, athletes and actors have been spotted at more low-key venues like Arcane Toronto, and Cactus Club Toronto.
Where Do the Wealthy Party in Toronto?
If you are looking to party with the wealthy in Toronto, they are generally found in the bottle service areas of Lost and Found, EFS Toronto, and the VIP sections of Rebel Nightclub, Lavelle, or Wildflower.
How Do I Get Guestlist for Toronto Clubs?
If you are looking to get onto the guestlist for some of the clubs we mentioned in this article, or just in Toronto in general, typically the old way of doing this is going to the clubs site and fumbling around for the guestlist section. Luckily for you our site saves you this hassle, if you check out our club list, we have club profiles for every club in Toronto, and at the bottom of every club profile is a guestlist form so you can quickly get guestlist for any club you want at your whim. If you’re still stuck on deciding, let us help, reach out to our free of charge conceirge service.
What are the Best Clubs in Toronto for Bottle Service and Birthdays?
Finding the best club for your birthday or to shell out your hard earned cash on bottles is always of utmost importance. We know that the wrong club can ruin your night, so you’re probably looking for something that is absolutely perfect. While it is hard to write or suggest locations specific to everyone’s tastes, we do have a specific article dedicated to the best clubs for your birthday or to get bottle service at. Take a look at those and if you still need help you can contact our no cost concierge service to help you find the right spot for you and book guestlist for you free of charge.
Hopefully you aren’t too overwhelmed by this detailed breakdown, but I wanted to ensure you had all the tools you need to make the right decisions and plans for your night out. I gave you the guide I wish I had. But if you’re still not sure ….
For those overwhelmed or undecided, I say start your night at one of the King Street West clubs, explore that area, we do have an article that specifically breaks down our picks of the Top 10 Best Clubs in Toronto, in case you’d like to look at that.
Also – The Fashion District, the Entertainment District and Queen St West, are all a 5-10 minute Taxi/Uber/Lyft ride from each other, so if you’re feeling adventurous you can check out all these areas of Toronto. If you’d like to be adventurous I’d suggest starting your night out by getting with some cheap pre-drinks in the Entertainment District or at a more chill club at Queen West, then hitting the club on King West later on in the night when you’re feelin’ good.
If you are still looking for more information check out our home page, from there you can find our club list with detailed club profiles, as well as more articles like this to help you decide amongst the best Toronto Nightclubs.