Sunday, November 23, 2014Cloudy 6°C
bars

Aria Entertainment Complex

Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Jesse Ship / January 8, 2013

The Aria Entertainment Complex had been spamming me to death with Facebook ads for their new club, and having viewed their over-the-top promotional video which resembles a high-end diamond or perfume ad (or more appropriately The Simpson's Barney Gumble's epic short Pukahontas), I couldn't resist checking them out for their opening night. Before I knew it, I was on my way to discovering the club where "the influencers play", according to their promotional messaging.

I scan my bathroom sink for cologne samples I've accumulated over the years and hesitate for a second. Is this an Axe or Armani night? With a $20 cover, and drinks priced between $6 and 7$ you might think the latter, but once the club started filling up, Axe might have been more appropriate. This isn't exactly Toronto's best-dressed crowd, but it takes a lot of bodies to fill up a space this big.

Aria is four main rooms each with their own specific Las Vegas inspired theme. There's the "Vanity" room with its laminate bowling alley meets card room vibe accented by decorative bushes and wicker balls hanging from the ceiling. It feels like the interior designer (if there even was one) stumbled upon a Bed, Bath And Beyond warehouse sale.

The main "Aria" room is pretty run of the mill for the Club District with elevated VIP quarters in each corner, bar stations and scantily clad go-go dancers. An interesting touch were bowls of candy at the bar and an unattended drum kit by the DJ booth.

Following an unmarked stairway leads to the "Haze" room, whose logo seems like a cross between the classy purple of Alizé and the exotic orient of Mandarin restaurant. The décor is a bit more interesting here, with framed pictures of porn stars in the buff and a Lucite cage / grotto lounge for bottle service tables.

The top floor is the rooftop Pure lounge, possibly Aria's one redeeming quality, with a mechanical SkyDome styled roof that opens in the summer. I really did feel like I was in a laid back Costa Rican bar, and despite dinky non-smoking signs, the ladies were puffing away. I guess when you're a hot "influencer", you can do whatever you please.

The layout is a bit of a nightmare with a series of drafty unfinished connecting corridors and dodgy industrial staircases that would clearly be a hazard to anyone wearing the pointy shoes that the district is so known for. If this were an underground warehouse rave then it would be perfectly acceptable, but I don't think that's the crowd the owners are targeting. It's like the architect was a child with a lego model of the interior, smushing pieces together to force them to fit. It's hard to believe Toronto's building safety people even passed this place.

And then there's the institutional row of unisex washrooms I encountered on the rooftop Pure patio which may seem "progressive" and "modern" for Toronto but with the crowd they are bringing in seems like more of an invitation for some rough prison sex more than anything.

With its cheap vinyl couches, potentially disastrous bottle necking in the sprawling stairways and off-kilter layouts Aria seems more like a death trap waiting to happen than a forward thinking entertainment complex. But if you're looking for a laid back night out people watching in the district where you won't have to worry much about being underdressed (required clown shoes aside) then this could be the place you've been waiting for.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
none
Signature Drink:
none
Bar Snacks:
Candy bowls in the Aria room
Patio:
Yes
Music/Genre:
Top 40, Hip Hop, House, Mash Up, Electro, Latin, Rock/Alternative
Live Music:
No
Who Goes There:
19-25 year old suburban “influencers”
Hours:
10pm to 3am Friday and Saturday

Discussion

57 Comments

tonyul / January 8, 2013 at 9:11 AM
user-pic

"but with the crowd they are bringing in seems like more of an invitation for some rough prison sex more than anything."

What is "prison sex"? Do you mean rape? If you mean rape, just say rape. Rape that happens in prisons isn't some special genre of "rough sex". It's just rape. And I'm all for being cute and amusing, but it's weird and a little icky to try to be cute and amusing about rape.

Also, just want to point out that an unlocked door with a female symbol hanging on it is not, in fact, a magical rape deterrent if a guy is so inclined. You can be raped just as easily in a single-sex bathroom. What probably helps is having a washroom attendant.

Rob In replying to a comment from tonyul / January 8, 2013 at 9:31 AM
user-pic

Yea, cause THATs what he meant. Way to overreact.

geez In replying to a comment from tonyul / January 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM
user-pic

Raped much?

Mark / January 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM
user-pic

I scanned the photos before reading the article so I had to laugh about the comments on attire. I couldn't believe that's what's passing for club wear now.

Chino / January 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM
user-pic

Jesse, why would you bother going if you already knew that you were going to bash it?

It's not my scene and clearly not my scene, but that's why I wouldn't go. Let alone go to make fun of people's style and bash the designers and owners.

Were you sad that they had no craft beers on tap. You're the reason people outside the city dislike people in the city.

Awesome journalism.

Mark In replying to a comment from geez / January 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM
user-pic

have you been raped before? don't try to normalize a serious situation.

Mark In replying to a comment from geez / January 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM
user-pic

rape is not a joke

AV / January 8, 2013 at 10:11 AM
user-pic

LETS ALL GET UPPITY ABOUT RAPE TODAY

Rose / January 8, 2013 at 10:14 AM
user-pic

They call 'em chavs in Britain. Same thing, different name, different continent.

Cyril Sneer / January 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM
user-pic

I have no issue with clubs; I do enjoy them now and then, but I thought the whole super-club thing died out some time ago?

annakarenina / January 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM
user-pic

oh god, I cant wait till this shithole becomes condos.

rogger / January 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM
user-pic

yes, I think what he meant was that you will get raped if you go to this club. Raped of your mind, body, soul, and wallet.

city folk / January 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM
user-pic

ew. countdown to deadpool starts now

JohnBoy / January 8, 2013 at 11:44 AM
user-pic

Rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape.

lisa campbelina / January 8, 2013 at 11:45 AM
user-pic

sounds like lots of corners to have rough corner sex in.....

Laeticia / January 8, 2013 at 12:35 PM
user-pic

I went to Aria nightclub and all I got was a lousy t-shirt and an STI from being RAPED!

rebrand... / January 8, 2013 at 12:42 PM
user-pic

By all the comments, it sounds like this place should be renamed Steubenville.

Patrick In replying to a comment from Chino / January 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM
user-pic

I agree with Chino - Jesse this is obviously not your scene and I'm wondering what made you want to go? The spam Emails? the hundreds of Facebook invites? That "barney" promo video you described? with all of these factors you still went to this club, what did you expect when you walked in?

Also curious, does negative journalism get you guys paid more? seems when i read any reviews that you post its all negative.

Awesome journalism - If you didn't know he was being sarcastic.

Kat In replying to a comment from tonyul / January 8, 2013 at 2:03 PM
user-pic

Agreed. Rape jokes aren't cool.

jesse In replying to a comment from Patrick / January 8, 2013 at 2:32 PM
user-pic

When your boss tells you to do something, you do it. End of story.

Jane / January 8, 2013 at 5:16 PM
user-pic

The unisex bathrooms are clearly for blow.

jack In replying to a comment from jesse / January 8, 2013 at 5:21 PM
user-pic

so your boss told you to write a negative review?

McRib In replying to a comment from tonyul / January 8, 2013 at 6:19 PM
user-pic

two prisoners in a loving relationship are allowed to have sex too. even rough sex.

i find your attitude that all prison sex is rape to be ill-informed and outrageous.

stop the discrimination!

Manute In replying to a comment from tonyul / January 8, 2013 at 7:32 PM
user-pic

This comment has been brought to you by the Washroom Attendants' Union. We do a lot more than just hand out towels and make you feel awkward!

M3L / January 8, 2013 at 7:53 PM
user-pic

BEST.EVER.
This is the funniest and most entertaining review I've ever read. It was like my thoughts exactly walking through Circa the first time how many years ago. Thanks for the honest review and for the good laugh I got reading. I look forward to avoiding it like everything else in that general area of downtown. I'm sure many underaged 905ers will find it to be mecca. RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE.

Jesse In replying to a comment from jack / January 8, 2013 at 8:10 PM
user-pic

Nope, I was told to review the club and there was no possible way I'd be compromising my integrity by sugar coating. To be honest, I think I was already being too kind.

And thanks McRibsy for sticking up for manloving convicts,. I said prison sex because the washrooms looked like a god damn prison with stall doors swinging in the wind. They didn't even bother installing new ones! If the words prisons and sex bring rape to mind, then maybe you should stop watching R rated movies and stick to good clean family Mormon fun. Seriously, it's not worth polluting your minds with that junk. Check out https://www.clearplay.com for filtered content the whole family can enjoy!

BH / January 8, 2013 at 8:47 PM
user-pic

Sounds like some sensitive 905-ers are sensitive because their weekend playpen, er, playground didn't get a 5 Star review. The club scene isn't exactly high class no matter how much some people want to wish it so. The review wasn't surprising at all.

Chino / January 8, 2013 at 8:53 PM
user-pic

my boss gives me a job to do that I don't like, so I'll do it with anger and spite.

assessing something objectively does not mean compromising your integrity.

anyway, i'm sure this club sucks. lol.

Corina / January 9, 2013 at 12:05 AM
user-pic

LMAO... I'm IN Vegas right now for CES and NMX.... I did a double-take when I saw this headline. Oh Toronto.... why do you mimic other places? Just be your friggin self.

Victoria / January 9, 2013 at 12:11 AM
user-pic

I went to the grand opening Saturday night for a birthday party. Clubbing is my scene and I found this place terrible. It was disorganized, lacked proper security, horrible service, it was poorly ventilated (as the article mentions), the music sucked on all four floors and a fire alarm went off the majority of the night.

Patrick In replying to a comment from jesse / January 9, 2013 at 12:31 AM
user-pic

Fine I agree with you -if your boss tells you to do something, you do it...but the influence blogto has on people is enormous and I just felt you already had a negative vibe going in the place ...

so I have an IDEA for your boss - go to his office tomorrow and suggest this...before you write a review about a club/restaurant or lounge why don't you write about yourself and what you like, and what you don't like tell the reader about your interests, and maybe hobbies (totally up to you)so the reader can have a better understanding about you and this way they can judge your personality and if this is something they could connect too.

Example - If your a vegan, and your boss tells you to go to a steakhouse and write a review, what do you think your review will be? a positive one or a negative one?

Hell I never even went into this place ..just thought of putting my 2 sense.. I just hate bullies

Derp In replying to a comment from Corina / January 9, 2013 at 12:56 AM
user-pic

What do the acronyms CES, NMX, and LMAO mean? Are we supposed to know?

Manager In replying to a comment from Patrick / January 9, 2013 at 1:03 AM
user-pic

Patrick, I'm the manager of this place and I have to say, thanks for being the best buddy a guy could ever have in bartending. I think you're the Patrick I hired for the Haze room but to tell you the truth brah the coke is still wearing off from last nights. I'm happy that you go with my orders to charge so much for that single ounce of vodka you put in a glass with some tepid club soda just like I asked. Don't let anyone give me bad reviews guys ok? Make sure everyone else gets this memo, we gotta take BlogTO down for panning us. It's not easy to be a wannabe startup in this big city and we gotta do what we gotta do to get the bottleservice guys and gals coming in every night.

Remember we're doing wet t-shirt nights every Thursday, bring your sleazy girlfriends and we'll spray them with a hose. They better have rockin' chest beefers though, no grenades or you gotta go home. We don't have any beer but that's because our bar is more classier than that and we have specials on Sex on the Beach, Tequila, and our special drink called the Ariatini, which is some lychee juice, orange juice, angostura bitters, and barely any vodka.

^- look I'm totally trolling you now, sarcastic get it? But honestly, without bad reviews on bad bars, everything would degrade into this kind of awful, pathetic, cash grab of an opportunist dive. Please stop trying to cover your ass if you do work there and just take a hint. Either change your business model or GTFO.

Not my scene / January 9, 2013 at 2:23 AM
user-pic

This place looks like chav city. Just saying.

scottd / January 9, 2013 at 8:41 AM
user-pic

It is hard not to laugh during their promo. Its so cheesy and not sexy. Trying way too hard. 20$ just to get in, I chose the wrong career. : )

Vivian Dee In replying to a comment from Not my scene / January 9, 2013 at 11:11 AM
user-pic

So true. So CHAVS are defined as: 19-25 year old suburban “influencers” in TO? LMFAO. A CHAV by any other name still stinks, just sayin'

mike in parkdale / January 9, 2013 at 11:38 AM
user-pic

okay, I've seen the word 'chav' twice now, and I'm not sure if it really translates properly here (because we don't have Council Houses, per say). It would be like calling people 'welfare', which isn't really nice, innit?

gr1 In replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / January 9, 2013 at 2:01 PM
user-pic

fuck off you ponce

gr1 / January 9, 2013 at 2:01 PM
user-pic

ps, rape rape rape.

Romarty In replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / January 9, 2013 at 2:51 PM
user-pic

We be talkin' sad and sorry style, not wallet size, man. CHAV wannabees hogging the scene, see? Febreez could help here.

Za-Moon-Da In replying to a comment from Jane / January 9, 2013 at 4:55 PM
user-pic

I hadn't thought of that. Of course coke isn't conducive to rape though. Unless I've been snorting the wrong powder all this time.

James In replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / January 9, 2013 at 4:59 PM
user-pic


If chav means council housed and violent, maybe we've got condo housed and vapid? Sounds like the crowd there is just very 905.

All the words we used to use for these people were racist, and there isn't much now that would get by the PC police. The discomfort that downtowners feel around 905'ers is just about boring middle-class people being anxious around less-white and slightly lower-middle-class people.

To the rest of us you are just the queuers, because you always seem to be standing in lines.

booger In replying to a comment from Patrick / January 9, 2013 at 10:19 PM
user-pic

"the influence blogto has on people is enormous"

LOL are you kidding me? Seriously? This site has about as much influence as Vanilla Ice.

james / January 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM
user-pic

blog to is the shit.

are there any sites like this for Vancouver?

james / January 10, 2013 at 12:43 PM
user-pic

blog to is the shit.

anything for Vancouver?

Patrick In replying to a comment from Manager / January 10, 2013 at 7:11 PM
user-pic

I haven't been to this place nor do I work at this place..and I wasn't defending this club I was simply identifying the fact that Jesse - the guy who wrote this review already had a negative vibe going into it...if you're going to write a review just be open minded before your next project - that's all i wanted to preach, no more ..next.

SituationTO / January 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM
user-pic

So let's take a look at the situation. This guy Jesse doesn't know how to enjoy himself at a real club. Time to learn:

1. Roll deep with your crew. Drive down with a couple bros and some chicks who know how to party. You don't just show up and expect to be entertained, you've got to bring the fun.

2. Make sure you look good. This means pumping, tanning and laundry.

3. Get a bottle. This isn't the 90s. You can't just order bar rails like a scrub, you gotta put out for a bottle or your not getting the experience intended from a place like this. If you aren't willing to drop $300 at a club you might as well get hosed on 40s in an alley at mosh or some sh**.

4. Learn what good music is. There's a reason these beats are popular. If you don't get it your loss.

5. Those washrooms are like that for a reason. I get it if your not into that stuff... but deal with it that's what makes these parties so effin dope.

6. Get cool with the people running the joint. Wait, blew that one.

Peace.

Peter Jermyn / January 11, 2013 at 2:56 AM
user-pic

LMFAO all the way thru this one party people.

Tonyul and rape comments: So, first of all, a joke about prison sex does NOT necessarily have anything to do with rape. Perhaps your immediate association of "rough prison sex" with rape betrays your stereotypes about those unfortunate enough to be locked inside prison cells.

Patrick et al: Chill! Do you really think this is that bad a review?? I think he was being pretty balanced lol. The odd (incredibly witty and ironic) criticisms are clearly playful chirps more than they are seriously scathing criticisms. This is what people in the so-called 416 call "getting jokes" lol. With all the coverage on this post this is inevitably nothing but good news for this club so i dont get what the problem is.

Situation TO: "Make sure you look good. This means pumping, tanning and laundry." bahahahah yes!!!

I am going to go out on a biit of a limb here and say that this was a thoughtful & incredibly well written review. If people are not having a sense of humour about things when reading Jesse's article than they've clearly missed the point entirely.

booger In replying to a comment from james / January 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM
user-pic

Not saying it's bad by any stretch. To say that its "influence" is enormous is pretty funny though. It's not a mind-controlling device, and definitely isn't read by everyone.

Jonni Martinez / January 11, 2013 at 6:01 PM
user-pic

Hay any promotion is good promotion & even if this was a bad review it is still huge promotion for Aria Complex

2nd This Saturday is gonna be NUTS !!! ... DAYGLOW "The Devil From Acapulco" will be live for the 1st time. DayGlow has performed in the #1 venues in Mexico, Las Vegas, Miami, and worldwide. ... For Bottle Service & Guest-List contact me @ 647 898 1691, Twitter: @DJJonniM

3rd! Rape is not a thing to joke around about.

4th! Im a club promoter & DJ. I saw the review Tuesday & was laughing hard because I had a blast (great time) & Aria is the #1 best dressed crowed in the city, drinks are amazing + im a beer fan so u can enjoy both beer & mixed drinks.

IF YOU HAD A BAD TIME AT ARIA THEN YOU EITHER WENT ALONE, ARE CHEAP TO SPEND ON COVER & DRINKS OR HAD A BAD TIME PICKING UP WOMEN LOL

Opensource1111 / January 12, 2013 at 1:47 AM
user-pic

Jonni Martinez: I LOVE USING CAPS IN MY COMMENTS! LOL! Seriously. If you even glance at this website from time to time you would know that the audience is not the jersey shore club going type. If you didn't laugh when you read the review, then I'm sorry to inform you that the joke is about you (or specifically, your type).

Jonni Martinez / January 12, 2013 at 6:05 PM
user-pic

LOL .... i never mentioned anything about Jersey Shore so maybe you should get your head out of your a** & read properly

and thanks for the free mention ... you just made me an easy $200 tonight on bottles alone :)

trix In replying to a comment from tonyul / January 13, 2013 at 9:15 AM
user-pic

firstly, let me say that rape is not something to joke about, but "rough prison sex" is not rape.
i worked in the prisons for over six years (Kingston Pen), and the instances of rape as you see on tv and in movies, they don't happen. sure, you'll get the odd instance, just as you see in the free community, which is terrible and wrong and not to be joked about, but the fact of the matter is that, if there's sex going on in the prisons, it's consensual.
and most guys don't go in there and turn to man-on-man action. conjugal visits are easily obtained nowadays.
so i think that jesse's comment is not meant to mean "rape", but, instead, wild, somewhat public sex between two consenting hot'n'bothered people.

trix In replying to a comment from SituationTO / January 13, 2013 at 9:21 AM
user-pic

hahah you're funny, especially if this is a serious post.
this isn't the 90's!!!
glad that i was clubbing in the 90's because the stuff that you guys have to deal with today is crazy!
back in the 90's, we could get into a club for free with passes handed out at other clubs, we could drink tap water for free and we could actually sit down without having to reserve a seat, and we could wear jeans...and running shoes!
ah, it was a better time which, i think, made people enjoy going to clubs to have fun as opposed to the pressure now - to dress up, to buy bottles, to spend crazy dough.
i wonder how it'll be 10 years from now?

Von Litvin / January 17, 2013 at 8:54 AM
user-pic

Went there on Friday... only got one thing to say... WORST CLUB I'VE EVER BEEN TO IN MY LIFE! I'm not going back there if somebody PAYS me!

I'm very interested to see how long they last. I give them 2 months TOPS.

Stephanie / February 17, 2013 at 2:52 AM
user-pic

This place is simply disgusting, dirty and so low class. Please avoid this place the bouncers threat people like animals for no valid reason. I will never go back and please Avoid this place its a waist of space!!

Finn / September 30, 2013 at 6:12 PM
user-pic

IF YOU LOOKING FOR GOOD TIME AT ARIA

Contact me for VIP Bottle Service or Reduce Cover Guestlist :)

>> finn@iheartkp.com

Add a Comment


Other Cities: Montreal