Linsmore Tavern

Linsmore Tavern has a reputation that precedes it. Much as I would with a blind date, I do a quick Google search prior to heading over. There's a Chowhound post: a query by someone who was looking for real dives in the city. The responses have Linsmore Tavern described as "a historic hotel and a real dump," colourful but not "dangerous" enough, and famous for its $1 draft beer. Unlike some of the other places, there are zero mentions of murderers, whores, or junkies. An old photograph, circa 1945, paints the Linsmore as a rather sad, unsexy hotel. I approached my destination with trepidation--understandably, I thought.

Well, they lied. Not the part about the hotel, or its lack of luster, or the $1 draft beer, but the part about its bleakness. People had made it sound like a dive too lukewarm to be actually unsavoury, but I found the Linsmore to be a sweet kind of place. It's almost wholesome. Really.

Having been on the block for almost 80 years, the Linsmore is something of an institution amongst locals. It's across the street from a "model recruitment" agency that could feature in Taken 3 , and marked with an unimpressive sign that does far less in identifying the spot than its smoking regulars. The only sounds heard inside are the clinking of pint glasses and banter; no music, at least not at first. The bartender and owner, Ryan, is easily the youngest guy in the room.

I inquire about the dollar-draft (it's actually $1.15 for a seven-ounce glass of Labatt 50; not exactly the cheap thrill I was expecting, but cute nonetheless). The space is generous in size. The unremarkable wooden furniture, the decades-old couches in the back room, and a wooden deer's head anchored on the wall are by no means fashionable, but who cares on this end of the Danforth ?

Aesthetic shortcomings aside, there's very little to dislike about the Linsmore. You'd be hard-pressed finding a more agreeable bunch than the regulars on this Monday night. People here will remember your name, and pay for your drinks (just be sure to return the favour). Chairs and tables are pulled up to make more room, and unbelievable stories are exchanged.

I'm invited to play darts. I say I'm not very good and don't want to ruin their good time. "Don't be silly," they reply. I'm with two other girlfriends, so they deem our team Charlie after the eponymous television series. There's a banker, an Irishman, Hulk Hogan's twin brother in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and Axl Rose's red bandanna. A woman with a voice scratchier than Tom Waits ' teaches me the proper stance in dart throwing. In the face of my incompetence she jokes: "maybe we'd get you over there instead." She points towards the pool table at the back.

The Linsmore's a good place for those who like to romanticize; in fact, on the night I'm there, some guy claiming to be scouting locations for a movie shows up. Almost any idiosyncrasy can be justified--made charming, even--by its age, having served since 1934. I tell Ryan that I love the place. He frowns at me worriedly. "Really? I was thinking of fixing it up. Maybe a patio. A real menu. Or new furniture."

The only new thing acquired in the past decade--a giant, touchscreen jukebox that jars horribly with the Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Ray Vaughn it plays--glows in the corner, alien and anachronistic. It's the only genuinely ugly thing about the bar. "Don't change a thing," I reply.

Linsmore Tavern

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Linsmore Tavern

Linsmore Tavern

6 Upcoming Events
About the Event
  • January 19

    Thousands of Indigenous peoples, and allies came together to fight the North Dakota Access Pipeline to protect their water, their sacred places, and all living beings for future generations. As of December 3rd, 2016 it was announced that the Army Corps would not grant Dakota Access an easement to cross the Missouri River, but many protestors have vowed to stay put in fear of what will happen when Trump takes office.

    Join us on Thursday January 19th, 2017 from 7:30 pm -2:00 am, and stand in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

    PAY WHAT YOU CAN AT THE DOOR- all proceeds will go to the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund, to assist the water protectors with legal fees.

    Below is a direct quote from the funds page:

    "This fund is restricted to the direct support of those arrested bail, fines, court costs, vehicle impoundment, defendant travel, attorney fees, etc. Remaining funds may be used in civil cases against industry, law enforcement, private security firms, or other parties responsible for human and civil rights violations. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribes legal interventions in the regulatory process are entirely separate, as are the supplementary legal interventions by other tribes and non-governmental organizations."

    There will be door prizes, raffles and appetizers!

    Night hosted by Drew Chale

    Performances by:

    Gary Edward Allen


    Lady Electric

    Rob Christian

    Charlie Moon Eclipse

    Burlesque performance by Trixi Jones

    and many more to be confirmed!!

  • January 20

    There has been a ton of requests and a ton of buzz surrounding the 1977 Punk Night featuring The Jammed Tribute to The Jam, The Gabba Heys Tribute to The Ramones and Blondee's Tribute to Blondie! That's right, on Friday January 20th, these 3 tributes are returning to the Linsmore Tavern for a night of 1970's punk rock! If you have seen them before, you know how cool of a show it is and the vibe is amazing! Some world class musicians are in these 3 bands and they bring an incredible show to the stage, whenever they play!

    Formed in 2013, THE JAMMED is a tribute act to punk/mod-revival band THE JAM. Playing lightening-fast covers, this Toronto-based trio recreates the high-energy and style of The Jam in the late 1970's, wearing tailored suits rather than ripped clothes. The trio was known for their melodic pop songs, strong harmonies, distinctive English flavour and mod image. Their music is infused with beat music, soul, rhythm and blues, psychedelic rock, as well as 1970's punk and new wave. THE JAMMED are: Cleave Anderson formerly of Blue Rodeo, drums; Lucas Stagg Lucas Stagg band on bass and vocals, and Richard McCarthy aka Filthy Rich, vocals and guitar.

    For all of you Ramones fans, there will be a set of music by the GABBA HEYS! The GABBY HEYS feature / Lucas Vulcan on guitar/backing vocals, Cleave Anderson on drums, and Lucas Stagg on bass/lead vocals.

    Formed in 2014, BLONDEE is a tribute act to American rock band Blondie, founded by Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. Blondie was a pioneer in the early American new wave and punk scenes of the mid 1970s. BLONDEE is a four piece act that scales down the hits and earlier punk songs of Blondie to their bare bones, working with only vocal, one guitar, bass and drums. Sara Dishart captures the power and sultriness of Harry's voice, in addition to being inspired by Blondie's style and dress on stage. BLONDEE are: Sara Dishart, vocals; Cleave Anderson, drums, Lucas Stagg, bass and vocals; Richard McCarthy aka Filthy Rich, guitar and vocals.

    Get you tickets now because, this show is definitely in demand!! 3 unbelievable Tribute Bands in one night and the Tickets are only $5 in advance and $10 at the door! You can buy your tickets at Linsmore Tavern or here at

  • January 21

    Saturday January 21st, the Linsmore Tavern is full of anticipation to welcome for the very first time, CoveredinCash: Johnny Cash Tribute! We have heard so many amazing things about this band and all or their legendary shows at the An Sibin, that we had to get them in for a night! They are not just any Johnny Cash Tribute Band, they are the Best Johnny Cash Cover Band in Canada!

    Featuring Rick Aulier as Johnny Cash who happened to own the very popular Irish Bar on Queen Street - An Sibin, where CoveredinCash played many capacity filled and memorable shows over the years at this popular bar! Rick Aulier doesn't try to be an impersonator of Johnny Cash, but if you closed your eyes and started the set by saying, "Hello I'm Johnny Cash", for one fitting moment you would fee you just heard the voice of the man in black. His contagious banter on stage draws you in and every now and then, when it gets more rockabily than country, Rick Aulier tones it down with heartfelt ballads like the swan song of Cash, "Hurt".

    CoveredinCash has a great line-up of musicians, on lead guitar sending out Allman-esque solos is James Quinn. On bass guitar seasoned, Richard Bunnyboils holds the fort with a solid beat and great background oohs and ahhs. On acoustic guitar is Tom Price, almost looking too young to know the tunes, but obviously embraces them with great gusto and has a magnetic stage presence partnered with solid rhythms. Price also has background vocals that blend well with Aulier. On drums, the only Irish part of the band is Conor Garrity, who keeps a solid hold on the backbeat of the show. Well respected keyboardist Herve Basset who has played with everyone in Toronto's music scene rounds out this impressive group of musicians!

    Covered in Cash is a great tribute to a great artist! This show is definitely going to be a SELL-OUT, so get your tickets now! Tickets are only $5 in advance, $10 at the door! You can buy tickets at the bar or at

  • January 28

    This will be the first time that The Best of Both Worlds will be playing at the Linsmore Tavern. We are truly looking forward to this one! Expect a healthy dose of you favorite VH songs from the Roth and Hagar years! Admission: $5

  • February 4

    The Linsmore Tavern is extremely excited to welcome back, I Will Be King: Paying Tribute To The Genius of David Bowie! I Will Be King played an outstanding SOLD-OUT show at the Linsmore Tavern during the September long weekend in 2016 and absolutely captivated the 150 plus people in attendance! They had such an overwhelming response from their last show, that we have to bring them back for another one! There are a few Bowie Tributes out there, but none of them stand up to I Will Be King! Let's face the facts, David Bowie is one of the most influential artist's who has ever lived and he is a musical genius! This almost all-female 6 piece band will definitely deliver the goods of the music of David Bowie and if you are a fan of Bowie, do not miss this show!

    There are few Artists that have influenced so many aspects of pop culture than David Bowie, in style, fashion, musicality, performance and both genre and gender bending.

    STILETTO FLATS began planning a very special tribute to David Bowie at the beginning of 2015. They had no idea that he would pass in 2016 indeed, Bowie seemed to have an ethereal personality that would keep him with us for years to come.

    With his death, the Flats have taken very special measures to present the best Bowie tribute possible, recognizing that there are few or no female-centric bands that would dare to undertake this. They present you, I Will Be King: Paying Tribute To The Genius of David Bowie!

    The Band Features:

    Elana Harte, vocals, guitar

    Lucio Agostini, backs, guitar

    Janet Whiteway, backs, keyboards

    Jen Benton, bass

    Robyn McDonald, drums

    Jennifer Brewer, percs, backs

    Tickets for this amazing show are now on sale and are only $7 in advance, $10 at the door! You can purchase your tickets at the Linsmore Tavern or at

  • February 25

    February 27th 2016 was without a doubt the biggest night in the history of the Linsmore Tavern as Supersonic North America's Tribute to Oasis graced the Linsmore Tavern's stage that night and rocked the house to a SOLD-OUT show! Almost a year to the date of the biggest show in the history of the Linsmore Tavern, Supersonic will make their triumphed return to the Linsmore for a very special and rare acoustic performance! Not a week goes by, where we are not reminded how magical that night last February was! We just had to get them back and if you weren't there last time, make sure you are there to see them this time! Last time, Supersonic SOLD-OUT in record time, this time it will be even faster! Supersonic travels all throughout North America and are constantly selling out shows! This band does not play many shows in Toronto and the space in the Linsmore Tavern is very limited! Get your tickets now, because you do not want to miss out on this very special occasion!

    Formed in 09, SUPERSONIC delivers a quintessential rock n' roll tribute to OASIS, right down to the exacting sound, look and feel, complete with a live stage show that rewinds you back to Manchester circa 1996. SUPERSONIC powers through with clinical musicianship, note-for-note precision, raw energy, and a 'Cool Brittania persona. Re-live one of the greatest sounds in rock history. Re-live OASIS with SUPERSONIC.

    Members Include: Liam - Dylan Shepherd, Noel - Steve Nyarady, Andy - Frank Aita, Gem - Jordan Grenke, Zak - Joe DiPede

    If you are a fan of Oasis, this is truly a MUST-SEE show and something you cannot afford to miss! This will sell-out, so don't wait and lose this opportunity to see a rare acoustic show by Supersonic in such an intimate venue! The tickets are ONLY $10 in advance and $15 at the door! You can buy the tickets at the Linsmore Tavern or at

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