10 great ideas for corporate events and after-work social functions in Toronto
Corporate events and after-work social functions can be awkward. There's always that one co-worker who gets belligerently hammered, you have to pretend to like your boss more than you usually do because they're buying you dinner, and you have to behave (and wear pants) during what would normally be your free hours. No one can possibly relish this kind of extended work life culture, which is not exactly mandatory except for the fact that you'll never be promoted if you don't show.
What I'm getting at is that in Toronto, there are plenty of actually fun options for after-work social functions and corporate events. Here are my top picks.
Go to BATL
Wanna make a slightly dangerous and
stupid brave decision that could help to cure your office malaise? Join the Backyard Axe Throwing League. Threaten your nerdy cubicle neighbour Frank with your axe and just see if he snipes your leftover chicken teriyaki from the fridge again. With two locations - one in the Port Lands and the other on Sterling Road.
Bowling as a corporate event is back in vogue thanks to Toronto's only downtown bowlling alley. And The Ballroom offers not only bowling, but a bazillion TVs where you can see SPORTS, a rooftop patio as well as a full menu of upscale-ish pub food, like braised pork pie and fried pickles. They offer corporate event rates for groups of 30 or more, with applications available online.
Have a ping pong tournament
Revert to your teen self and whip the evil secretary's butt at ping pong. Spin, just west of Spadina on King, has 12 tables and two full bars. The concept is elevated from the realm of the suburban basement by its full food menu and cocktail list, which is great since staff parties are basically unbearable without a little bit of social lubricant.
Go on a party boat cruise
Many of the city's best party boats will offer corporate rates, and can be completely reserved for private parties. The Stella Borealis and Tall Ship Kajama are two of the more popular options, the latter which could also double as a venue to host an office-wide re-enactment of the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Study at the Beer Academy
The Beer Academy can accommodate up to 200 people, and it rents out space for meetings and other gatherings. They'll provide a cocktail reception post-meeting, or, you could just sign your group up for a beer tasting and education session. They also do full-on brewery tours for large groups. Finally, you can stop bullshitting about hoppiness levels and learn the FACTS.
Get creative together
The Shop does custom workshops that stress teamwork and getting to know your colleagues in a new light. Each workshop revolves around creating, designing and building projects together, and skills like wood working and ceramics are offered. Corporate rates are offered, depending on what you're looking for.
Learn some barista chops
I know very few people who get through their workday without at least one coffee. You can take your office to learn the finer points of coffee culture at the newly opened Propeller Coffee roasting facility in the Junction Triangle. Events here can be customized to include things like learning how to buy beans and roast coffee as well as more interactive elements like coffee cuppings and brew demos to inspire the top boss to now make latte art at home. Over on the east side, Pilot Roastery offers similar options.
Learn to make (and drink) some cocktails
Let's face it. The main thing that most of your co-workers are going to want to do on an office outing is drink. So why not just go right to the source at SpiritHouse at Adelaide and Portland. This classy cocktail bar doubles as the home of Toronto's top bartender training academy and for a fee will be glad to host your office group and show everyone the secret to making classic cocktails like martinis or an Old Fashioned.
Learn to cook
Instead of sitting down for a boring dinner everyone would rather avoid, make it a learning experience and figure out how to make your own amazing food. Dish cooking studio near Dupont and Spadina offers cooking classes specifically geared toward corporate team building. Up to 40 people can take the course at once, which includes wine and snacks, an hour of cooking, and then a full-service sit down dinner of your own creation. Other places that do this include Le Dolci, Viva Tastings and Mengrai Thai just to name a few.
Embarrass yourselves with some karaoke
For corporate teams not afraid to let loose, check out Bar + Karaoke, a classic, no-frills karaoke lounge at Yonge-Gerrard. They book up to 25 to a room for $50 per hour, so if you work in a larger office, at least you won't be wailing Toni Braxton in front of the entire office (but pray your office crush winds up in another room).
What did I miss? Add your ideas for corporate events and after-work social functions to the comments below.