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The top 5 jukeboxes in Toronto

Posted by Aubrey Jax / November 3, 2013

Jukebox TorontoThe top jukeboxes in Toronto are the ones you can rely on in times of trouble. Boxes stocked with ironic picks (looking at you, Red Light) can provide some funny-haha good times, but on those serious nights when you need to hear "Love Will Tear Us Apart," "The Boy is Mine," or "Two-Headed Boy" to avoid spontaneous combustion (read: retreating from ever experiencing the wonders of human emotion ever again) it's good to have fail-safes.

While Toronto is blessed in the jukebox area and some of y'all swear by the selections at watering holes like Unlovable, Allen's, Motel, and The Gem, here's where to find my picks for the top jukeboxes in Toronto.

Sweaty Betty's
There's a lot to love about Sweaty Betty's, from the worn, cozy decor to the fact it was one of the first decent places to drink on Ossington (and still remains one of the best.) Betty's diverse CD jukebox is just one more thing to count on going right, even if everything else in your life is goin' wrong. From Motorhead to The Cure to Springsteen and Willie Nelson, this is one of the best jukeboxes in Toronto to spend a night with.

The Communist Daughter
The bartenders have a pretty good handle on what to play when there isn't live music or a bring-your-own-vinyl night on the schedule, but this much-loved jukebox is a not to be missed Toronto experience. Of course Communist D's jukebox stocks Neutral Milk Hotel, and while you might have to wait for your picks to wrestle it away from some eager flannel clad younger type looping Aeroplane Over the Sea - "just one more time!" - or some older cats queuing up country jams, the eclectic mix of indie, jazz, country/folk and classic rock is worth it.

Henhouse might be Toronto's kitschiest bar / brunch spot. It's more like a summer cottage than an urban watering hole, except most summer cottages don't have jukeboxes stocked with Kate Bush, T-Rex, Prince, and Joy Division. Honestly, I'd rather be sliding shiny dollars into the machine here than slapping mosquitoes in the dark at the lake most nights. And yes, everyone does really, really want to hear "Running Up That Hill" again.

When DJs aren't spinning, Disgaceland's CD jukebox makes you choose between 1000 songs while you sip your drink, shoot pool, or devour brunch. I heard that those overwhelmed with choices in life tend to succeed less then those who aren't faced by as many stressful decisions, but you could also just go for The Beatles or make a selection with your eyes closed. The jukebox is free on Mondays because Disgraceland cares about your emotional and financial well being.

Imperial Pub
This list would be incomplete without the Imperial Pub, who aside from their rooftop patio also claim a 70 year history of letting you pick the jazz selections. Wet your whistle and pick some tunes near Ryerson and be a part of history - from the Imperial Pub's website: "In the 1950s, Jack bought our now famous Seeburg jukeboxes and loaded them with the best 45s from his own lifelong Jazz collection." That's right, 45s. Music fans really are spoiled in Toronto.

Photo by Eugen Sakhenko



Cornish / November 3, 2013 at 10:13 am
The Duke of Gloucester has a pretty fine jukebox as well.
Colonel Tom / November 3, 2013 at 10:52 am
I am heartened to be referred to, along with my ilk, as an old cat.
left out / November 3, 2013 at 11:57 am
Hideki at the Black Dice has the best one, hands down
Audio Blood / November 4, 2013 at 10:39 am
Will definitely be adding these 5 places to my go-to list!
K / November 4, 2013 at 05:04 pm
Celts Pub in the Junction has the best jukebox, greatest pool table and BEST FRESH-MADE DUMPLINGS in Toronto (and they are 16 for $8).
um replying to a comment from left out / November 4, 2013 at 07:32 pm
yep black dice is #1
Ian from Etobicoke / November 5, 2013 at 01:26 pm
The Gem on Davenport near Ossington has a real jukebox with real 45's. They even have The Ramones on 45 in that box (not to mention other cool records!!!) Methinks the authors should get out of the house more often.
Aubrey replying to a comment from Ian from Etobicoke / November 5, 2013 at 09:38 pm
Hi Ian, looks like you didn't happen to notice I mentioned The Gem in the intro, but sure!
ML replying to a comment from Cornish / February 9, 2014 at 03:10 am
agreed, best one i've come across yet...
Drew / February 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm
CD jukeboxes? You might as well just plug in your iPod into the PA. The Gem's is a true vintage machine
Broderick / October 17, 2014 at 05:59 pm
great points altogether, you simply received a new reader.
What could you recommend about your publish that you made some days ago?
Any certain?
Other Cities: Montreal