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The Peacok

Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Chandler Levack / October 18, 2011

The Peacok is a dark and narrow hallway situated in the remains of beloved King West establishment The Underground Garage. Unlike the Garage, which wore its dive bar status proudly (down to the brassieres tacked up on the ceiling by the more willing patrons), The Peacok attempts an upmarket "rock n' roll" experience by way of the scumbag. Here is a dank basement bathed in pricy blue and purple flood lights with exposed brick walls and LCD screens advertising cigarettes everywhere you look. With its negligible service, overpriced drinks and rock n' roll posturing, The Peacok might just be the worst bar on King West.

Where do I begin? Perhaps with a drink, which will set you back $7 for a pint of Creemore. To be fair, a gin and tonic is a less ludicrous $6 and the bar features $4 domestic bottles and rail drinks on Ladies Night. (But ladies, please do not go here! The toilets were smeared with excrement!) Though we were the only patrons on a Thursday evening, both bartenders ignored our beseeching looks until we begged them to take our order. Then they asked if we had a light. How can a bar that has been operational for almost a year not have its own lighter?

The centerpiece of the bar's threadbare décor is a lit up sign that acts as the establishment's mantra, reading, "here's to 5 a.m. cabs, instead of 5 a.m. runs." One bartender explained that it was the experience of "being wasted going home in a cab at five in the morning and passing joggers on the street" that the bar holds as its credo. On Twitter, The Peacok describes themselves as a place "where we know what you drink...and who you took home." But I cannot imagine wanting to stay past last call to fondle around on one of The Peacok's disgusting off-white couches (there is minimal seating with a capacity for maybe 70 people), for it would be like blacking out in hell.

I should try and end this review on a positive note for the establishment's sake. Um, there are two foosball tables? And the bar has good acoustics (if not great sightlines) for live acts. (We caught a bit of Angela Saini's Indie Week set and it was totally Sixpence None The Richer in the best way possible.)

But if you want to listen to rock music in a narrow bar that is genuinely dingy, it will take you two minutes to walk over to the eternally charming Wide Open. The Peacok might brand itself as a rebellious place to get fucked up, but it is the drinking equivalent of 30 Seconds To Mars. Plus, even CBGB's cleaned their toilets.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Creemore, Guinness, Strongbow
Signature Drink:
“The Burt Reynolds,” a spiced rum and butterscotch shooter
Bar Snacks:
Nope
Patio:
No
Music/Genre:
Alternative rock in the vein of Rancid and Red Hot Chili Peppers
Live Music:
Yes
Who Goes There:
Clueless corporate rockers, the dammed
Hours:
5:30 to 2am daily

Discussion

45 Comments

Sean McDonald / October 18, 2011 at 12:13 PM
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This review isn't worth the time it takes to read. Chandler, stick to going to the Central Perk or reviewing your favourite place for high tea - sounds much more up your alley.

BlogTO - learn the history behind the place, talk to the owners, have a real experience - this is totally off base.

Mike / October 18, 2011 at 2:01 PM
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I'm pretty certain that the Underground is still open and is occupying the upstairs space directly next door.

yazflute / October 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM
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Looks like a Serbian mafia afterhours crap hole.

Matt / October 18, 2011 at 2:05 PM
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"here's to 5 a.m. cabs, instead of 5 a.m. runs."

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5212/5534162004_e0a0c07080.jpg

Boy oh boy, does Puma ever make shitty-looking clothes.

EveryonesOpinion / October 18, 2011 at 2:05 PM
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Ummmmm ... I know of a House DJ that plays there every so often so I wouldn't classify the place as strictly Rock.

f / October 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM
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I learned nothing from this review at all?

Makes me want to go there even more actually to see the place

Liam Kearney / October 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM
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While I can't say anything for this place, as I've never been, $7 for a pint isn't that unreasonable, especially for a decent brew.

JJ / October 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM
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Sean no elitist, man! He prefers poop on his toilets.

Reva / October 18, 2011 at 2:17 PM
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The Peacok rocks my socks!!! One of the BEST places on King West! They have the nicest staff, good beats and amazing patrons! I've never had a bad time there once!

I guess the reviewer got there when they opened at 10pm on Thursday. The place doesn't get bumping until at least midnight. Oh and when you get to the bar, ask for a Burt Reynolds. Best shot in TO! ;)

Bars are for adults / October 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM
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"overpriced drinks"

"$7 for a pint of Creemore. To be fair, a gin and tonic is a less ludicrous $6 and the bar features $4 domestic bottles and rail drinks on Ladies Night."
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Good lord little boy have you ever bought a drink in a bar in your life?

Those prices arecheap.

Gazza / October 18, 2011 at 4:34 PM
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Probably one of the worst reviews I have ever read. so harsh, and over the top. Who ever wrote this should be fired. "it would be like blacking out in hell"??? Who Fucking Writes this crap.
Everything I heard in this blog is untrue, except for the Foosball table. So untrue, that I wonder if Chandler Levack has even stepped inside the establishment at all?

Peacok is one of the coolest bars in Toronto!
Mixed music, mixed crowd, no attitude. $7 for a Pint of Creemore is reasonable, and mixed drinks for $6 too. The staff is charming, nice, and sexy.

The only good thing about this blog is the photographer that took that Siiick Pic!

Gazza / October 18, 2011 at 4:40 PM
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Oh Yeah, I just found out its The Peacok's One Year Anniversary Party Tonight.
Come and check it out for yourself.

NF In replying to a comment from Matt / October 18, 2011 at 5:01 PM
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I knew I recognized that slogan. It explains the Puma doormat at the bottom of the stairs (in one of the slideshow photos, anyway).

badreview / October 18, 2011 at 5:14 PM
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This writer is crazy. Peacok is one of the best bars on King West. Its not pretentious and fun as hell. I don't know about you but when I go to a bar whether is FUN is the most important thing. Yes, the bathrooms aren't the best but who cares? I don't go out to hang in bathrooms!

And as far as the stupid statement of the year award - $7 for a pint is standard if not cheap, ESPECIALLY for King West.
This writer sounds like a dumbass in which case, yes, please, stay away from the Peacok!

WhatTheHell / October 18, 2011 at 5:47 PM
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Chandler, this is by far the WORST piece of trash I have ever read. Where the hell did BlogTO find this moron? He should stick to reviewing coffee houses on Church St.

Chandlersucks / October 18, 2011 at 6:14 PM
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Did this dude ever use the washrooms when it was the Underground Garage?

The owners are 2 of the nicest, non pretentious dudes in the industry and they bring with them a lot of experience and fun, hot friends and a wicked line up of musicians...not sure Chandler would fit in....

michelle / October 18, 2011 at 6:46 PM
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is there anyone writing in favour of the Peacock who is not an owner, employee, or friend thereof? b/c i've been there a couple of times, and i ahev to agree, it was pretty shitty. it was a pretty poor attempt to be "grungy", but without any genuiness or authenticity to it.

and yeah, weaksauce bar staff too.

me / October 18, 2011 at 7:10 PM
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$7/pint of creemore is pricey, if you've ever had pints of it elsewhere. there are loads of other bars with better priced creemore or, at least, better beer for $7/pint. just because you regularly overpay for beer, doesn't mean it's reasonably priced.

Reva In replying to a comment from michelle / October 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM
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I'm not an owner, friend thereof or an employee. I'm just a patron that likes the vibe. It may not be the best bar on King St., but it is definitely not the worst or scummy as has been implied. It's a cool bar not because of the decor but because the people that patronize the place are pretty damn awesome.

rob In replying to a comment from Sean McDonald / October 18, 2011 at 8:56 PM
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I was offended reading that. I'll probably go back to the Peacock just to spite that reviewer.

Matt In replying to a comment from Bars are for adults / October 18, 2011 at 9:08 PM
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Those prices are cheap by upmarket standards, or restaurant standards, but for a small "dive" bar that does most of its business in booze, they are high. I drink out several times a week, and I rarely pay that much for a pint. if I do, I get a little irritated.

Al / October 18, 2011 at 11:42 PM
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I went there when it was the underground, and I still go now that it's the peacock, it's a fun bar.

I know reviews are all about opinion, but I think this reviewer has some other issue with the place. It reads like a personal revenge piece, maybe his girlfriend slept with the owner.... on the foosball table maybe?

Max Gold / October 19, 2011 at 12:58 AM
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RE: AL - I'm in complete agreement with you. This was a hit piece. The whole thing reads slanted and is begrudgingly tendentious. It's obvious the reviewer didn't meet and speak with the owners, let alone bunker down and party. I always get drunk and have a blast at this joint. And people who care about drink prices, and especially drink specials, are the kinds of bags that anorexics use to smell less dying; if prices are of concern, the reviewer should try and get a job at Toronto Life.

Max Gold / October 19, 2011 at 1:02 AM
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Post. Script. Is it any coincidence this piece came out on the 1st year anniversary? A little late for a review, no?

Jack / October 19, 2011 at 1:47 AM
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I'm a regular, and didn't know anyone from the bar previous to becoming one--this article is trash. Peacok is unpretentious and a great local. This author is either completely clueless or has a serious axe to grind.

gazza / October 19, 2011 at 3:36 AM
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Since they erased my comment, I'll post it again. Pathetic!
Its funny how a 20 year blogger thats been only legal to drink in bars for a year, is now blogging about them. Your bringing up CBGB's like you've been there?
It takes a lot of sand to write something so targeting, and bias to make a name for yourself. I hope is it worth it.

Reva / October 19, 2011 at 11:38 AM
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Without taking their side/opinion, they are "critics" and critics criticize. It's what they do. That being said I strongly disagree with writing that there was feces smeared on the toilet seats. It's not like that's a regular thing. Someone had an accident and this "critic" writes about it. So unfair. (And as if ALL the toilets were covered in it. A drop, which is what I'm guessing was on ONE seat, does not warrant a glaring warning to all women to avoid the washrooms.) I do believe that anyone with half a brain that reads the article and the comments will realize that the Peacok is not a dirty dive and patronize the place, if for no other reason than to see what all the hype is about. One bad article will not sink the Peacok. It has a devoted following of amazing patrons which is reflected in the comments.

Jody / October 19, 2011 at 11:10 PM
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So... After being a regular, and a friend of the owners..... I'm wondering, which bartender was it that plugged your girlfriend?

jazflute In replying to a comment from Jody / October 20, 2011 at 8:55 AM
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The reviewer is female.

Japhet / October 20, 2011 at 6:39 PM
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This is a bit of a hit piece. I hope Levack went back more than just an opening night on Thursday. As someone who's done quite a bit of writing, she should know better.

As for the prices, they're not unreasonable. I wouldn't pay $7 for a pint of Creemore but there are many, many similar establishments that charge the same in the city.

AK / October 20, 2011 at 10:59 PM
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What happened to objective journalism?

With reviews like these, there's no sense in even checking out BlogTo. I'm not going to waste my time reading other people's revenge pieces.

By no means am I an authority on King West bars, but I can say that the Peacok doesn't deserve this type of review. Shame on you.

AK / October 20, 2011 at 11:22 PM
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Thanks for the censorship, BlogTO.

I've only been to this bar once, and as a female, enjoyed myself. I'd love to see a bit more objectivity in this review; It was a waste of my time to read a revenge piece.

huz / October 21, 2011 at 7:55 AM
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Objectivity? It's a personal review of a bar, you morons.

Patrick / October 21, 2011 at 9:22 AM
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For the record, there has only ever been one foosball table. Also, The dj on sunday is old and new school hip hop and house. The dj there on saturdays (and one other day of the week i think) is very much classic soul/rnb/hip hop on one night and mainly old and new school house/dance music.

Tuesdays feature a live (and extremely talented and attractive)acoustic act (Dani Jean).

The guys who own this place are actually dedicated to bringing something new and fresh to the neighbourhood and are super positive and supportive of local artists/musicians.

King W (especially around this particular hood) is way way overrun with fake tan meatheads and skanks in insensible shoes. The peacok is laid back, positive, and drama free, and its a breath of fresh air.

Its certainly not for people looking for the typical bottleservice/dress code/faux bourgeois king w crowd, but thats the point. While you're waiting in queue at cobra, texting your 'bro' to try and get in, we're at peacok making new friends and having fun playing baby-foot.

patrick / October 21, 2011 at 9:24 AM
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also, the underground garage still exists very much. It is on the floor above the peacok.

theworst / October 24, 2011 at 1:46 PM
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WHITE PEOPLE

Japhet In replying to a comment from AK / October 25, 2011 at 3:23 AM
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Bar reviews are not supposed to be objective. They should be comprehensive. One gets the sense from reading some of these comments that the reviewer didn't do her homework.

Overall, the tone is pretty negative.

HardToPlease / October 27, 2011 at 11:10 AM
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One of my favourite bars in the city, hands down. Unpretentious, real people, real fun. If you want to meet some quality people, the Peacok is the place. The owners are 2 of the most genuine, lovely dudes in town and the fact that a 'bare bar', that may not seem much to the naked eye, can pull the crowds they do is testament to these quality industry veterans.
Honestly kinda happy with this guys shitty review, it'll keep the doucebags out ;)

Burt Reynolds!

Uncle Neil / November 1, 2011 at 3:24 PM
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This review is so off base it's comical. I don't know who or what "clueless corporate rockers" are, but they certainly don't hang out at The Peacok, or "the dammed" for that matter. The Peacok is one of the most original, fun and no nonsense bars in town with the nicest, most hospitable owners and staff you could ever ask for.

Please do some homework and get your facts straight before writing this spiteful dribble that insults this establishment and BlogTO for that matter.

Sandra D. / November 24, 2011 at 8:31 PM
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The Peacok is always a good time. Friendly people, cool music, cute owners.

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Carrie / October 12, 2012 at 3:14 PM
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The Peacok is BY FAR my favorite bar in Toronto!!! The crowd is unpretentious and the music is alwaaaaays amazing. Friendly staff, cheap cover and cheap drinks. What more could you ask for? Definitely the best way to spend a night out in Toronto.

Dave / April 18, 2013 at 3:03 PM
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The bar is decent, make sure your drunk when you go. Ignore the ignorant review by blogTO.

Steve / August 18, 2013 at 9:26 AM
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Fat loser bald white bouncer on a power trip assaulted me there. Be very weary of the bouncers, currently in the process of pressing charges. Would stay away from this place until this particular bouncer is gone. The man obviously has a sad life to attack people standing at the barside doing absolutely nothing.

Joni / October 31, 2013 at 4:36 PM
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Chandler Levack , Im from Argentina, reading this I have to say you never been to the Peacok....
A review should remark good and bad things of a place, but not in the way you write it.
I have to think you are miserable, you don't enjoy life and even worst you suppose to be a writer, but you dont even know how to write a review.

I wish you the best lucky in your life, bad things always come back.

big kiss chandler.


ps, get a girlfriends and have more sex

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