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.
We're thrilled to be heading back to The Linsmore Tavern and bringing our special brand of rock n' roll nostalgia ... singing songs about life, love, happiness and heartbreak!
The Linsmore Tavern is a great live music venue conveniently located next to Greenwood subway station on Danfort Ave. in Toronto's East End!
We've got a fine crew for this one including:
Eric Brombacher on...
Friday April 28, the Linsmore Tavern is very excited to welcome back Robbie Rox and his Power Quintet for another their yearly live show at the Linsmore Tavern! Robbie Rox and The Power Quintet has played some amazing shows in the past at the Linsmore Tavern and his reputation as a top notch performer is definitely deserved! It is always a real special show when Robbie Rox performs at the Lin...
Saturday April 29th, the Linsmore Tavern is full of anticipation to welcome back CoveredinCash: Johnny Cash Tribute! We had heard so many amazing things about this band and all or their legendary shows at the An Sibin, and we were finally able to bring them in for a show in January and they definitely did not disappoint! They absolutely captivated the capacity crowd that evening and because of...
Saturday May 6th, the Linsmore Tavern is excited welcome back the Gunslingers who pay Tribute to one of the best bands ever, Guns N' Roses! Everyone love Guns 'N' Roses and The Gunslingers are one of our most requested bands, as they have played so many phenomenal shows over the years! The Gunslingers absolutely rock and they will always deliver the goods! They have played a lot of...
Friday May 26th, The Linsmore Tavern can't wait to welcome back for their first show of 2017, our favourite Neil Young Tribute Band, The Neil Young'uns! The Neil Young'uns are without a doubt the biggest drawing band in the 83 year history of the Linsmore Tavern! They have played 19 straight, consecutive Sell-Out show at the Linsmore Tavern and this show is going to be number 20! T...