Michael, the owner of Andy Poolhall, boasts that they had one of the first gay-friendly nights off the Church St. strip (at what used to be Ciao Edie's) in the city. Ciao Edie's, it's former next door sister bar, had one of the longest running girl nights, Here Kitty Kitty (1997-2007) in the city for sure. Sunday's at Ciao's was the only night I can remember where boys needed a female escort to get it.
The name Andy Poolhall is a play on Andy Warhol's name, and I can only assume that Ciao Edie was referring to Edie Sedgwick, Warhol's muse who basically invented black leggings after making black tights and long shirts (worn as dresses) her staple look.
Situated at the corner of Markham and College St., it doesn't look like much from the outside, the incognito doorway certainly doesn't do justice to it's true size either. Upon entering, the space is one giant square with a four-way, square bar in the middle as the centre piece of the room. A team of bartenders, enclosed in the bar can cater to all four facets of the room easily with this setup.
The room is split into a few different spaces; lounge chairs and tables at the front and to the left of the bar provide a great space to sit and chat with friends, the pool tables at the back are well-maintained and attract people in right away. On the right of the bar is the dance floor and DJ booth. With this set up the dance floor can be rammed while still allowing plenty of room to lounge or get in a game of pool at any point in the night.
The decor is kitsch meets pool hall, a modern take on 60s modernism, packed with character. The best nights to go are Fridays for Denise Benson's open format night, Synchro and any night during the week for a more down tempo, retro vibe. Saturdays play host to one-off's and monthly parties that get real full real fast. In the past two years, Andy Poolhall and Ciao Edie's have become one and they now use the Ciao entrance to feed people into the space. The last time I was at monthly, Cherry Bomb, it was just after 11PM with a line up almost all the way down the block, and people were literally pouring in from the entrance.
Writing by Anna Von Frances