Pinot's Palette has come to Toronto with a location in the Junction. It suits the artsy, family-oriented neighbourhood well. It's an incarnation of other social painting experiences currently on offer, kind of like a version of Paintlounge with alcohol.
The space is big and bright, with a very wide, sloping ramp leading in with railings on either side, and push button operation for the doors. A stage is to the left, where a local artist leads public or private classes where participants follow guidelines to create simple paintings.
Their main room where public classes are held mostly on weekends seats 48, whereas the private room seats 24. Anyone is welcome to attend public classes, but private rooms are popular for bachelorette parties and corporate events. You can even bring your own music. You can't choose what you listen to in public classes but they keep high energy tunes pumping.
Despite the U.S. origins of this chain (there are astoundingly about 170 of these in the States) Pinot's Palette wants to keep drink options local with offerings from nearby Indie Alehouse and Junction Craft Brewing . Simply raise your hand for a drink and it'll be brought over so you don't have to abandon the creative process.
Everything is provided, from the paint to the palettes to the brushes to aprons. What you'll need to paint is even set up beforehand with assigned seating before you arrive. They use their own tubs of acrylic and assign a palette of colours needed for the guided painting, but you're free to switch out colours and brush sizes to do your own thing.
Everyone in a class paints the same thing despite being able to make your own tweaks. The pieces being painted come from a library created by local artists, which artists involved in teaching at Pinot's can submit to.
The only thing Pinot's Palette doesn't provide is food, but you can bring your own snacks. At all their locations they try to partner with local businesses, so it's possible you could have an easy way to order pizza from Keele Ur Hunger or another simple nearby option.
If you wind up addicted to the paint and sip life, it could pay off in spades. Pinot's Palette has a loyalty program, Pinot's Perks, where you collect a cork for every class taken. You can also earn corks for completing different activities during classes. Collect twelve, and you get a free class.
Pinot's Palette is the definition of organized fun. They've tapped into a market that isn't just looking for drinks and a place to sit, but a creative activity to engage to accompany getting a little buzz on and socializing. If that sounds like you and your friends, register for a class online for $38.50.
Photos by Hector Vasquez