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Stones Place

Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Caroline Leung / September 28, 2012

Stones Place proves that there's no such thing as aging gracefully: not when it comes to hard-living rock stars, not when it comes to their women, and certainly not when it comes to the themed bar business. At its heyday, Stones Place's velvet-roped, red-carpeted doorsteps brimmed with partygoers, eager to get inside. Parkdale was a sleepier neighbourhood then; as a newcomer to the city I had witnessed the line for myself from a streetcar window. The hordes remain, but Toronto's become a tougher crowd to please.

It goes without saying that this place is a tribute to the Rolling Stones. Ten bucks cover will get you inside, where a picture of a still-menacing, still-handsome Mick Jagger greet you; the first of many, which pepper the walls. Stones Place's furniture also echoes the theme, which boasts multiple couches ("lounges," I'm told, and a hard commodity to come by on most evenings), rugs, and just enough lamps to illuminate the place. Even its menu is permeated, with themed sandwiches such as the Mick Jagger (a panini with roasted peppers, cucumber, cheese, arugula, and hummus) and the Ruby Tuesday (corned beef with thousand-island dressing and sauerkraut on rye) priced at $10.

All the gimmicks are fine, even charming when the bar's empty and quiet. Stones Place's biggest problem is the people inside it. It's not the crowd--which is a fine one, and is exuberant without being boisterous--but the mere fact that it is a living, breathing reminder of modernity. Once that kind of fanatic nostalgia is marinated in its present, it's perverted into anachronism--a good 2,000 square footage's worth.

The transformation from shtick to downright farce was complete at my visit to the (completely ordinary) washroom, in which there is an actual attendant waiting with a plastic squeezy bottle of Ivory and an industrial roll of paper towels, alongside multiple bottles of perfumes and lotions on the soap-scummy counter. I've yet to figure out why the venue's proprietors found this necessary. Particularly when the tip jar at the bar says "even skanks say thanks."

Judgements aside, Stones Place isn't a bad place to be. The vibe is relaxed and carefree, and the music is fun, if a little rockabilly jamboree at times. If you're looking for an irony-free good time, few venues are more appropriate in the city (those planning bachelorette parties, take note). Just arrive before eleven to avoid the line.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Bud, Stella, Bud Light, 50, Rolling Rock, Shock Top, Keith’s Cider, Keith’s Red
Signature Drink:
Bar Snacks:
Greatest hits from the 1950s to 70s
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
Older out-of-towners, sprinkled with a few PYT’s that keep ’em coming
Fridays and Saturdays, 9pm – 2am



John / October 19, 2008 at 10:28 PM

This place sucks!!

The sound system is horrible! My $300 one piece stereo sounds better, they are extreamly understaffed and the staff they do have is rude and the bartenders are bitchy. A drunk guy threw his drink at our group and the bouncers (who are a bunch of wimps) didn't throw him out!! .. its dirty and I'd never got there again if you paid me...

To the blonde bartender at the main bar Saturday Night Oct. 18 if your goal in life is to be a bitch you're succeeding!!!

Keith / September 28, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Just a hint to the owners, if the lineups are dwindling and the bar isn't full... probably not the best time to put in washroom attendants. There are a dozen better bars within a stones throw (pun intended) of this place, you can't rip people off every time they want to piss, especially after charging them 10 bucks at the door.

5 years ago this place used to be a favourite, sad to see what its been reduced to.

I.P. Freely / September 28, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Washroom attendants are a scourge and they need to go. On principle, I do not frequent establishments that have them.

Hamish Grant / September 28, 2012 at 12:35 PM

I went there for a hipster iPod danceathon a few years back - which I left once I discovered how lame the performers were going to be - but not before I had a chance to walk around the (almost empty) bar and look at the stuff on the walls. It all reeks of second- or third-hand memorabilia, like the gold records for instance. Sure, they're legit Stones gold records, but for places like Uzbekistan or the Belgian Congo. I think I saw one for a cassette single. So that's a little weird. If I were the Stones themselves, I would never darken the door of this place because it's just trying a bit too hard. You feel like you're in the basement apartment of a guy who once subbed as a roadie on the Steel Wheels tour and has been talking it up to his buddies ever since.

Beyond that, it's an ok place to go if the Rhino's too busy.

Daniel / September 28, 2012 at 12:48 PM

I love washroom attendants. I'm a successful lawyer and my days of putting my own soap on my hands is thankfully in the past. If I wanted to grab my own paper towel I would stay home. I go out, precisely so that I can be treated to this. And I happily pay to be pampered in this way.

Simon In replying to a comment from Daniel / September 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I see what you did there. But trust me, 1%ers aren't any more comfortable with washroom attendants than the rest of us.

Jick Magger / September 28, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Maybe in it's heyday a place like this in an area like this could have charged $10 cover. But now??? It's completely unreasonable. Stones Place is the King West of Parkdale.

Rahdoo In replying to a comment from I.P. Freely / September 28, 2012 at 3:24 PM

They sound like chaperones to me, complete with the goods to wash you down right after you do what ya gonna doo.

Gail / September 28, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Who wants to sit in some public bathroom while someone takes a shit?

v79 / September 28, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Maybe if they were open for more than ten hours a week they wouldn't have to charge a $10 cover for nothing. And any time I see a washroom attendant in a place that doesn't warrant one, I make sure not to tip a cent. Are they too cheap to use some of that cover money for some soap dispensers and a dryer?

Petrolmania / September 28, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Mick and Keith would laugh their asses off at this place, though it's doubtful they'd care enough to see it.

That guy / September 29, 2012 at 10:20 PM

I always have a great time here!!! Great music and a total party!! I remember a time when Stones Place had NO washroom attendants and the line up for the restrooms were insane because the floors were flooded and there was broken glasses all over! I think the washroom attendants do a fantastic job keeping the bathrooms clean, stocked, and SAFE! I'm going back!!!

negative is the new positive / September 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM

If you are too cheap to pay Ten Dollars cover on a Saturday night you should not be going to places like this anyway. Stick to your local dime a dozen pub that has no unique flavour and lots of TV's to watch your sports on. You are probably one of the people who tip like crap everywhere because you've never worked in the service industry and you feel like the cover hurts your pride because YOU should be let in everywhere for free and should have no line up to wait in ever... You are also the kind of people who care enough to make negative comments about washroom attendants and cover charges on a blog... Stones Place is a pretty fun bar and is great for people watching. I was there for a birthday party about two weeks ago and had a blast and it seems like everyone else there was having fun too...

SaraG0 / September 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I head to Stones on Saturdays all the time. Great music, pretty good beer prices. The guy bartender, usually on the first bar when you walk in is awesome!! also, It gets pretty packed so make sure you go early to avoid the line up.

Party Pants / September 30, 2012 at 2:12 PM

It's so sad to hear these negative comments. You people don't know a good thing when you see it. This place has been a Parkdale gem for so long. As for the bathroom attendants, #thatguy said it best. I remember when they were not there and it was ridiculous. When you come to a bar, you tip, you pay cover....end of story GET OVER IT or stay home. You people are depressing. I could honestly go on and on and on about all the awesome things about this place but I'm too hung over from last night to do that. I will say however, I will return, I hope you lame complainers won't. Just stay home and wine, don't bring it to the place most of us go to have an awesome time. :).

horizoncarrie / October 1, 2012 at 9:22 AM

bathroom attendants are for the Mexican bars in Cancun. I dont need someone handing me a square of paper to wipe my hands and then tipping her. $10 at the door? Really? give me a break. I'll stay home and listen to my vinyl Stones records.

Jennifer / October 1, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Stone's place is super fun! A great place to meet people, the music is awesome and it is always a party in there. The staff are always doing their best to accommodate people. I love it there!

Clementine / October 1, 2012 at 4:08 PM

I wondered why they had attendants too, so I asked. One of the bartenders said they had to get an attendant to keep an eye on broken glass, vomit and any signs of a fight brewing... which had apparently been a problem before the washroom attendants.

Super fun place to dance to some great tunes!

Jaime / October 1, 2012 at 4:24 PM

I go to Stones for the music and dancing. It's busy, the drink prices are good, and everyone's having a great time, so it's awesome for a Saturday night out. I also love the sing along that usually happens during the last song of the night!

Colin M / October 1, 2012 at 6:25 PM

As a longtime resident of Parkdale I'll say this - Stone's has been open for over 10 years and still has a line up of people wanting to get in. Every weekend. I would call that ageing gracefully.

Colin M In replying to a comment from John / October 1, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Why is there a comment here from 2008?

JJ / October 1, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Goddamn I love this bar. If I am going to pay 10$ to get into a bar, I am certainly going to go where the party is ALWAYS good, the crowd is there to have fun, and not to be pretentious. Ya, they have bathroom attendants, and thank god for that. Who wants to deal with overflowing toilets and asshats who need to do coke in the stalls? not me. that's what they are there for, to make sure we have a good time. The DJ rocks, the staff rocks, the security rocks, that's why there is a lineup by 1030pm every weekend.

keith In replying to a comment from Colin M / October 2, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Because that's the last time this bar was cool?

2 cents In replying to a comment from keith / October 2, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Damn Keith... That was so cool of you to say that! I wonder what bars you go to? They must be soooo cool! I bet Toronto is just sooo not cool enough for you. I was so excited when I read your comment. Pure Genius. I just had to throw in my Two Cents as well!

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