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.
Monday February 27th, the Linsmore Tavern (1298 Danforth Ave) is welcoming back the incredible Tom Waits Appreciation Congregation who have absolutely been tearing it up lately! Playing once a month for more than 2 years, the TWAC has been the most popular monthly residency at the Linsmore Tavern and I dare you to find a better live show in Toronto on a Monday night! Featuring Marty Morin,The Tom Waits Appreciation Congregation (TWAC) comprise of some of the best musicians in all of Toronto coming together for their love of Tom Waits and paying Tribute to him and his music! Be a part of this Monday Monthly Tradition that is really special night of music with a cool atmosphere! Arrive early for a good seat, because their last show was at capacity and there are not many seats! The show starts at 9pm, there is no cover so come out and list to some amazing Tom Waits!
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! 363 days later and almost exactly 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 Supersonic, this time! Last time, Supersonic SOLD-OUT in record time, this time it will be 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 1994. 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- Joe DiPede, Zak - Rob Vynychenko
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 www.linsmoretavern.com
Friday February 24th, the Linsmore Tavern (1298 Danforth Ave) is thrilled to welcome back the Del Fi's for their first show at the Linsmore in 2017 and of course, evening of Rock 'N' Roll! If you like Rock n Roll and you like the kind of Country that used to make the Billboard Folk charts...you'll love The Del Fi's. Featuring one of Canada's most talented musicians and writers Jerry Leger, this project includes nearly a dozens of Canada's best musicians! The Del-Fi's is one of our favourite bands and have played a lot of fantastic shows over the years at the Linsmore! If you are a music fan, you MUST make it out to see all of this talent in one room playing some good ol' Rock 'n' Roll! The show starts at 9:30pm, there will be a $5 cover charge!
THE DEL FI'S - CROWD PLEASER
I don’t know what The Del Fi’s are; the more I think about it, the more I don’t know what to say. But I know it’s right, and I know it’s good. I know it works. I mean, it’s Jerry Leger’s thing, but when I asked him what he would say The Del Fi’s are, all he would tell me is that I (meaning me) am The Del Fi’s, just as you (meaning you) are The Del Fi’s. And because you are you, you understand. Don’t you?
Okay, maybe we should try this again. Jerry Leger is a Toronto singer/songwriter, and one of the best in the world, as far as I’m concerned. If you haven’t heard him, you have no right to be one of these people constantly moaning about how music was so much better when people actually played instruments, blah, blah, blah.
Jerry’s released six albums and an EP—each one better than the last—with help from folks like Ron Sexsmith and Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies. He turned 30 this year, and he loves Bob Dylan, Neil Young and John Lennon. Sometimes it sounds as though all three are fighting for space in his songs. But those songs are his own, the product of a natural born storyteller with a sense of rhythm that would make Little Richard’s big toe shoot up in his boot.
Jerry’s songs hit deep in your soul, but he also often loves just making music with folks just to flex some of his old time rock and roll muscles, and explore some of the paths his songwriting normally doesn’t take. That’s kinda where The Del Fi’s come in.
On Friday, June 19, 2015, Jerry assembled members of his band, The Situation, along with about 10 other musical friends, at Aaron Comeau’s recording-studio-in-a-trailer in Toronto’s east end—yes, the studio is called The Trailer—and over the course of that long, highly-charged day, laid down 11 songs for this album they’ve called Crowd Pleaser.
Now I know what you’re thinking; why should I care about a bunch of dudes who got together in a trailer and made an album in a day? My response is, take a listen and then tell me that this isn’t one of the most vibrant, heartfelt, funny, poignant and all-around human records you’ve heard in a long time. All of these guys are young, but they’ve lived. Let’s never forget that practically all of our musical heroes did their best work before the age of 30.
The location of the recording is fitting too. If any album could be said to have an “east end sound,” Crowd Pleaser most certainly does—tough, raw, sincere, and unrepentant. There’s a song called “Rockin’ In The Funeral Home,” two distinct versions of which bookend the record. No, it’s not the Monster Mash, but at the same time it’s no maudlin Irish wake sing-along either. It’s simply a great rock and roll song, and there’s plenty of others on the album just like it, such as “It’s Always Saturday Night,” “Baby Coming Up The River” and “Noisy Bars,” not to mention “The Junk Today,” for my money the best country song I’ve ever heard not written by someone named Townes
It’s rock and roll that we all care about right? I’m sure you wouldn’t still be reading this if you didn’t agree. So I guess that does make you a Del Fi. Welcome aboard and grab an instrument, we’ve got a show to do.
Thursday February 23rd at the Linsmore Tavern (1298 Danforth Ave) is going to be an extremely fun night, one we're very much looking forward to. Rick Miller will be performing a brand new show for the very first time! Many of you have seen Rick perform as the charismatic frontman for TRAINWRECK, as well as his work in TV on Just For Laughs, not to mention his solo shows BOOM, MacHomer, and Bigger Than Jesus! There's a lot of buzz in the neighborhood surrounding this show, so come and check it out. Here's more info:
“One of the 100 Most Creative People Alive Today” (Entertainment Weekly)
One of The Linsmore’s most popular bands, TRAINWRECK, is taking you down a totally different track. Join frontman Rick Miller for an entertaining and eclectic evening that’s part cabaret, part coffee-house, part craziness.
Accompanied by TRAINWRECK bandmates and some very special guests, Rick will host and perform songs in a stripped-down, “VH1-storyteller” setting. There will plenty of surprises, a few originals, and a ton of covers songs that tell a great tale.
Rick has toured his shows in 5 languages on 5 continents, and is one Canada’s most celebrated performers. Here’s a chance to see him on his home turf, at his favourite local tavern, playing his favourite tunes. (And if you stay long enough, he may even perform his version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” that has garnered millions of viewers on YouTube…)
For more info, please visit rickmiller.ca/TRAINWRECK