Moskito is the buzzing new home to Toronto's sticky nightlife family, although the building that houses it has seen a fair bit of history since the summer.
Just a few months after Plaza Flamingo shut down, the building has already gone through one identity change. The Rochester , whose name derived from the building's original 1900s storage house identity, quickly fell flat on its face, and has now been reformed as Moskito + Bite; Moskito being the upper dance space, with Bite as a restaurant tapas lounge that also hosts various live music events.
So far, Moskito has been creating an old school, all-nighter, booming stereo party space for international and local artists that has not been seen since the days of Industry and other spots that vanished around the turn of the century. The owners (local restaurateurs with a few neighboring shisha and tapas bars in their portoflio) are doing a good job of creating a go-to spot for a quality night out with no pretensions, and a well-mannered security team.
The space is quite vast with a massive sunken dance floor surrounded by bars on its perimeter, and the DJ booth 3/4s of the way to the back, backed by what could be used as a VIP section if the organizers choose to make it so. What might need to be tweaked is their exit system, which has party-goers leave through the downstairs Bite lounge.
Decor has a laissez-faire feel to it, with the odd ping-pong-playing geisha wall print, and ceilings have exposed bulk heads with ventilation pipes that snake around the club. The gray stuccoed back corner bar area is actually a service area, so don't wait around there expecting to be served! The bars have anonymous tip jars for you to dump your change into rather than leaving coins on soaked and sticky counter surface. What might also take you back to the old school party vibe are the water prices, with bottles clocking in at $5.00. Beers run at typical price--Heineken for $7, and Stiegel tall can for $8--and standard bar rail comes in at $6.
With a number of top techno and house promoters and bookers on board like The Gerbz, Platform, Embrace, Mansion, Bassmentality, and Provoke, Moskito is bound to keep the dance scene alive, but it seems they might have to re-evaluate their crowd control strategy. If you're arriving at 1 a.m. to see an act like Art Department , you might as well forget about it, or wait a good hour in line before the crowd dies down. However, not all big acts will draw such a crowd. I was there for Mark Farina a week before, and was let in quickly and efficiently. You can also catch bands playing downstairs at Bite, like Toronto's most up-and-coming funk and rare groove band, the Soul Motivators .
With its friendly staff, punishing sound system and convenient location, it would be nice (albeit a bit selfish) to keep this place a secret for those in the know. If Moskito keeps up with its already growing crop of bookings, it could be the next big thing in Toronto's club scene. The next major shows coming up include their in-house selection for the Dirty Cycles New Years Eve party.