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Aruba Bar & Lounge

Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Caroline Leung / April 26, 2012

Aruba Bar & Lounge is a skeleton of a space. It's a basement bar sandwiched between two equally forgettable retail spots on Spadina near Dundas in the heart of Chinatown., Look for scantily clad smokers and scowling doorman rather than a sign.

There's no escaping the Caribbean connotation with a name like Aruba. The doors, to my surprise, open to a sterile blackness. (Those in heels - navigate accordingly; this is one of the worst-lit staircases in the city.)

There's no mistaking the dance-centricity of Aruba. Inside, it resembles a bachelor's attempt to convert his living room to a party-friendly space. It's totally empty, save for a few couches shoved against the wall; the coat check table, manned by two bored-looking guys; and a wet bar, nestled in the opposing corner. The only light in the entire place behind the bar highlights bottles of Grey Goose, Hennessy and Johnnie Walker Red.

A cute bartender notices me quickly and my whiskey-soda is served within seconds, but it's in a plastic cup. And it's no Johnnie, Jameson or even Jack; I could hardly tell, it was so watered down. I put it down on a nearby speaker. There's a ridiculous amount of speakers. There are a few on the ceiling, more against the wall, and the remaining stacked by the DJ booth.

From them, the drum & bass pounds relentlessly, pushily - practically forcing one to dance. A few laser lights zigzag across the room, making the entirely-black interior feel like a crude parody of Tron.

Previously a bubble-tea spot, Aruba has been open since June of last year - so there's little justifying its bare-bones approach to age. There's plenty to whine about, but those bitching are undoubtedly ones who don't belong. Aruba works for what it aims to be. It's a venue for all things electronica, which requires little outside of a decent sound system and space for dancing; things they certainly have.

For those tired of the Guvernment or Comfort Zone, Aruba may serve as a lesser-known refuge - albeit one that feels a little amateurish.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Signature Drink:
Bar Snacks:
Electronica, top 40
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
Those united in common objective for a head-emptying kind of fun
Thursdays to Sundays, 5pm - 3am



The Troll / April 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM

i've been here twice. definitely check this out spot out if your in the area.

johnny / April 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM

well written (sarcasm)

csb / April 26, 2012 at 1:13 PM

cool story, tell it again

Warren / April 26, 2012 at 1:15 PM

These photos make the place look bumpin. is a great website / April 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM


bumpngrind / April 26, 2012 at 1:35 PM

That third photo of the only two girls in the place reminds me of girls gone wild. This place is pure cray!

What time did this funeral go till?

Rob / April 26, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Unflattering photo. Looks like a place with more pills being popped than bottles

Mike / April 26, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Why would I look for "scantily clad smokers and scowling doorman" when there's a large and clearly marked sign?

Also, why would I want to be one of the six people in that place?

MrsPotato / April 26, 2012 at 3:52 PM

..yeah, real party, with all those people!!!
All 8 of them.

The Troll / April 26, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Aruba was a private spot for Guv regulars until they opened the doors to the public a few weeks ago.

TCP / April 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Cool been here once and its a great place to hangout ...

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The One / May 1, 2012 at 3:56 AM

Haha the pics look interesting but very empty. This was by far the worst night. Ive been to a few of there other events held there. More people and better music. There were some punkish scary looking security guy and the music was horrible. The dj could not mix at all. Overall not so bad. Busy nights are good. There mainly doing events now I heard.

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