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Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Martha Stortz / August 20, 2013

Ballet is an event venue/lounge/nightclub on Ossington located in the space where Jezebel used to be. Like Jezebel, Ballet features burlesque and other types of performance while encouraging patrons to stay post-performance and booze it up. Ballet's slogan is We heard you like to watch, possibly the greatest, weirdest, creepiest, double entendre-est slogan since Just do it and It's not delivery, it's Delissio.

I attended Ballet late on a Friday night after a comedy show had taken place, eager to soak up the post-Rob Ford joke vibes. I arrived at around midnight and although it was advertised that just the gentler sex gets in free before midnight, both myself and my companion (of the rougher sex) didn't have to pay cover.

On the inside, Ballet looks pretty similar to how Jezebel looked (or, how Jezebel looked in pictures; years ago, when I was a newcomer to Toronto/drunken youth, I was denied access to Jezebel despite trying to bribe the bouncer with a $5 bill and brie cheese from my purse.) In keeping with the voyeuristic theme, there are raised grey booths for bottle service centered around a stage. Though it's a small space, there are two bars at both ends of the venue. I ordered a vodka soda ($7) which was a little on the expensive side for something that was a little on the weak side.

Though there was no burlesque show on the night I attended Ballet, there were two burlesque ladies lounging around, lying on the bar and dancing on a speaker. While I appreciate the full commitment to the voyeurism theme, there is nothing more awkward than ordering from a bartender when there is a woman in a lace thong lying casually on the bar in between you.

Are you supposed to make conversation with her while the bartender's busy or pretend like she is a prop? Is it misogynistic to ignore her? Should you strike up a conversation about the oil crisis to prove that you don't objectify women? How do you prepare for the moment when you begin to talk to a woman casually lying on a bar in a lace thong about the oil crisis only to realize you know nothing about the oil crisis?

After settling for a cool Fonzie thumbs-up, I went over to stand in the corner to avoid another possible interaction. Though it was a Friday night, it wasn't super packed at Ballet. Of the fifteen or so people at Ballet, most of us were just watching the people dancing - great for the voyeurism theme but not great if you go to a club to make human connections.

It seems to be a reoccurring theme that it's difficult to be more than one thing at once, whether it's an event venue and a club or an honours student, singer and drug addict. In this case, it appears that Ballet functions best as an event venue with an afterparty option rather than a standalone lounge. Even the Facebook pictures seem to show the divergence between people having fun and enjoying a show and unenthused club goers who look confused.

I may return to Ballet if I wanted to see one of the comedians or in the mood for a burlesque show but otherwise, I would probably choose a club that is less Lady Godiva and more Ladyboy. Either way, I'll be sure to brush up on my oil crisis information.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Signature Drink:
Whatever tests your knowledge of the Middle East the least
Bar Snacks:
Top 40, hip hop, burlesque beats
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
People who know nothing about world politics, people who are good at not smiling in club photos
Thursday-Saturday, 10pm-2am

Other Cities: Montreal