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Gladstone Melody Bar

Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Robyn Urback / September 24, 2011

The Gladstone Melody Bar, for me, has always been that place I visit once a month to bask in communal Simpsons nerdom. But as of this past Monday, it will now be the sleeker, more spacious-feeling place I visit once a month to bask in communal Simpsons nerdom.

Taken over and restored by the Zeidler family nearly six years ago, the Melody Bar has been persistent in its dive-bar feel and somewhat dark (intimate?) atmosphere. But those days seem to have passed. Under the direction of owner and designer Christina Zeidler, the Melody Bar now feels much brighter, roomier and a little more interesting, without being too much of a change from the old familiar.

The first thing worth noting is that the bar's old carpet has been ripped up (that deserves a hallelujah on its own) to reveal the original terrazzo floor. That subtle change makes a big difference to the overall atmosphere, but paired with the newly-white ceilings (complete with felt installations by designer Kathryn Walter), and the space just feels a whole lot brighter.

The dark, bulky booths suffocating the west wall have been exchanged for a camel-coloured banquette, which faces a long raised table with silver/grey vertical slat back stools. The wooden trim above the bar has also been painted a similar metallic-y grey.

The back area of the bar shifts to restaurant seating with bright red chairs, a mix of grandma's-old-couches vintage seating, and dark leather lounges underneath artist Orest Tataryn's fantastic light installation.

Along with the aesthetic renovations comes a new sound system--the merits of which, unfortunately, are tough to appreciate during a packed and bustling launch party. We'll have to wait for karaoke, I suppose, which will culminate the Melody Bar's week of relaunch celebrations.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Mill St. Cobblestone Stout, Mill St. Tank House, Muskoka Cream Ale, Steam Whistle, Richard's Red, Richard's White, Richard's Pale, Heineken, Export, Canadian
Signature Drink:
Bourbon Peach Sour, Gladstone Iced Tea
Bar Snacks:
Full dinner menu, smaller late night menu
Patio:
No
Music/Genre:
Depends on the night. Most nights have free music or pwyc. Queer Cabaret Wednesdays, Indie Rock Thursdays, live band then karaoke Fridays, Country Music then karaoke Saturdays, Bluegrass Sundays
Live Music:
Yes
Who Goes There:
Old-timers, hotel-guests and Parkdale locals
Hours:
opens at 5pm weekdays, open at 10am Saturday/Sunday

Discussion

7 Comments

Aaron / September 25, 2011 at 3:16 AM
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And so it comes to an end. I used to pop into the ol' bar back in the late 90's when I lived around the corner on Noble. It was quite the slice, shitty carpet and all. I'm not averse to change - especially the inevitable kind - but I shall shed yet another tear as my beloved Parkdale continues to set its peculiar sun.

Lewis / September 25, 2011 at 5:14 AM
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When I lived in Parkdale in the early 1960s, the exterior of the Gladstone was painted grey. It was an ugly building. Now it looks awesome.

Ratpick In replying to a comment from Aaron / September 25, 2011 at 10:36 AM
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Sure, but THAT Gladstone was itself just a phase. It was shiny and nice once before, and it is shiny and nice once again. Maybe in the not-too-distant future, it'll be run down again and people will wax nostalgic about 2011, when it was the place to be.

A city's transition never stops. One day, the cluster of condos in that area will probably be a slum.

danielle / October 12, 2011 at 1:07 PM
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Hugely disappointed by the reno. My husband and I used to love dropping by the Melody Bar to enjoy an afternoon drink as we sat in one of the cozy booths, or on the stools at the bar. Both seating options are now gone and the place just feels character-less and sterile. The only positive thing done to the space is the removal of the carpet, otherwise it's lost all its charm. So sad.

Barfly / November 4, 2011 at 3:00 PM
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Agree with the above comment. all the red and yellow makes it feel like a chic McDonald's.

Chris Orbz / August 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM
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blogTO actually doesn't have the Gladstone's restaurant menu online?

Peter Styles / March 2, 2014 at 10:24 AM
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For the last 14 years I have been hosting the single most celebrated Karaoke show in the city of Toronto.

The packed Friday and Saturday nights in the Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar show better than anything else the kind of quality and resulting success that is possible even during a downturn in the economy.

On March 22nd, the management of the Gladstone Hotel will present their final Karaoke show, as it has opted to pursue another route in their marketing plans. For this reason, it is with a heavy spirit that I am searching other venues in which to present my show, but will always carry the Gladstone Hotel and it's patrons memory in my heart.

Goodbye Old Friends

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