Sunday, August 2, 2015Partly Cloudy 29°C

1812 Bar in the Thompson Hotel

Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / July 10, 2012

1812 Bar in the Thompson Hotel is presumably so named for its proximity to Victoria Memorial Square, a King West cemetery turned park in which many of that war's casualties are buried. That said, the bar's only real nod to the origin of its name are two Renaissance-style paintings, and cheekily framed weapons (including what I'd swear, under the cover of inadequate lighting, is a musket) on either side of the fluorescent-lit, recessed DJ booth.

I'll admit that I went in with certain preconceived, and unflattering, notions. Both mine and my boyfriend's club days are long behind us, and my patience with the miniskirt-and-platform combo, in particular, is paper-thin. We passed through a cordoned-off entry to the Thompson Hotel, guarded by two bouncers who coolly considered me after having good-naturedly (I hope) chastised three girls in front of me for wearing flats, then down a long set of stairs that are a close approximation of descending into a synth drum machine.

There's a large bar at the front, and a smaller one in the back--laid out beneath a Union Jack flag--and the whole space is traversed in just a few dozen high-heeled steps. Inside, it's loud, and servers in black bandage dresses deliver bottles of Belvedere and Moet and Chandon with a lit sparkler--despite this, it's not as awful as I expected. Yes, there are black leather booths and moody chandeliers, but there's a minimum age of 25 on Fridays and Saturdays which automatically siphons out some of the legitimately underage riffraff.

Unfortunately, the fact that they cater to an older, arguably more affluent age group, also translates into more expensive drinks. There are no beers on tap, and a bottle of Stella and a gin and soda (even when you request a gin and tonic) will set you back $16.

There are glimpses of the club world that they're trying to differentiate themselves from. A photographer circles, taking party shots and passing out the lounge's card. The music can best be described as tuneless beats--the sort of mind-numbing, inoffensive rhythm that lulls you into a half-hearted trance of hip-swaying and drink-rattling. The bartenders have the fixings for basic bar rail--including several of what are probably statistically the most popular Absolut vodka flavours--no cocktail menu, and gauging by the smell of just-extinguished sparklers wafting around the small space, their cash cow is bottle service.

The bathrooms are squirreled away down a narrow, dark wood corridor that, when paired with the muted beats, seems suited to a sultry music video, and my heart sank when I saw the bathroom attendant. I find this whole antiquated business unnecessary, and as the lovely black-and-white-clad woman turned on the faucet and poured soap into my hands, I stared at her with an apologetic grimace. It was a black mark on a space that otherwise surprised me with its likeablity, but to be fair, I felt much more comfortable later that night at Crooked Star. Just saying.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Signature Drink:
Bottle service
Bar Snacks:
House and hip-hop, to top 40, to R&B
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
Well-dressed late-twenty-somethings
Friday and Mondays 10-close, Saturday 10:30-close



Courtney / July 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM

To start, I'm not a much of a fancy club person either. Why have a non-club person review a place like this when they obviously aren't even trying to approach the critic role from an impartial standpoint? A very disappointing review.

Jennsanerd / July 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Alexandra, your article is fab and needs to be translated into a sexy graphic novel. Also, I LOVE the Crooked Star.

j / July 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM

took pics on a bad night. its all dudes.

j-rock / July 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

From that first photo, it looks like the most boring gay bar on Earth.

loper / July 11, 2012 at 11:32 AM

This article is akin to an opera fan reviewing a hip-hop show.

Sonia / October 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

It's not that bad of a place. It's jam packed. Music is ok. I would go again.

cinvizem / December 8, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Hey Celestina,You got me:)I will thing about it!

Alex / February 24, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Awful. I'm waiting to figure out what service I paid for? Bouncers who are abusive? That stare and try to intimidate females? When a party arrives to party, they pay good money for a booth and other services the last thing I expected was to be treated like dirt. Will I return? Absolutely not.

anthony / February 25, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Went with a party of 20 for my girlfriends birthday party was a great night untill the staff there assaulted my girlfriend. On top of this horible service the secuity decided to pin me down and break 2 of my ribs and give me a concussion... so over all opinion of 1812???? worst club in toronto, worst hotel in toronto go spend your money elce where unless you like getting your head kicked in

stock photos / May 6, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Upon returning to the starting line, the first player must pass the
sugar cube to the next teammate in line and so on.

At the end of the party all of the papers write down who they think was the prohibition
agent. Spice things up by including these Halloween-themes recipes:.

Diane / August 26, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Would not go again... The music choice was poor and the crowd didn't seem to know what to do... overpriced for sure ... just wasn't that great,,,, this place is overrated

Sarah / January 16, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Love 1812! Went on a Saturday, great vibe, great crowd, my girlfriends and i had a wonderful time.

Sarah / January 16, 2014 at 5:24 PM

ps., why would you send someone who doesn't like clubs to review a club? that seems ridiculous.

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Montreal