Bloke is the newly renovated version of Bloke and 4th. Located in the Entertainment District. The new Bloke only operates as a nightclub and an event venue, no longer offering supper club services.
I visited Bloke around midnight one Friday evening, and it was already crazy. Prospective patrons were lined up outside the club and were brought forward, Border Security -style, to present identification and submit to interrogation. There was even a tangerine peel desperately discarded outside the door (someone clearly forgot about the citrus fruit rule).
After making our case (we were on the guestlist), presenting evidence (showing the email confirming our names on guestlist) and making it through several minutes of closing arguments ("Uhh, what's your name again? What? Are you sure you're on guestlist? What? Okay, fine, just go.") we were inside the building.
As soon as we stepped through the front door into the alcove, a woman wordlessly beckoned me forward ( do I pay her for cover here? ), patted me down ( this is significantly worse than paying cover ) and sent me through to the bar ( do I tip her? ).
The entrance to the bar was chaos personified; last-lifeboat-on-the-Titanic level packed, with one employee loudly and frantically directing people in and out of the door, despite the general expectation that as a functioning member of society, you should know how to use a door.
(#Lifehack: Walk through it. If someone else is on the other side who wants to walk through it too, either wait for them to walk through it or use human skills, ie. words, gestures, to decide who will walk through it first.)
After snaking through that crowd, we were finally at our destination. The interior of Bloke has very high ceilings and is lined with bottle service booths, smartly outfitted in black leather. There are two bars that occupy the remaining perimeter of the club, and most people were gathered on the small dance floor in the center or at their respective booths.
Since I had just had a number of strangers violate my personal space for a variety of reasons, I decided I deserved a drink. I asked the bartender for whatever was the most popular drink that night, and was served a vodka cranberry ($9).
It was a little expensive for a straight-up vodka cran, especially considering that cover usually runs $20 (though ladies are free on guestlist before 11 pm) but it was good and strong.
As I sipped my drink, I took a look around the bar, anxious to see what kind of person would subject themselves to paying exorbitant amounts of cash to be treated like factory farmed cattle, all in the name of bottle service.
Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun. Sure, there were plenty of unsavoury characters. A man grabbed a woman to dance with him as she walked by and she had to push him away; another man chased a woman around while drinking Grey Goose straight from the bottle.
A club reviewer stood in the corner and hypocritically judged people who probably made way more money than her....but for the most part, everyone was having a great time.
Lots of people were happily taking selfies, some ladies were celebrating a bachelorette, and some guy with a shirt that read "Cockylicious" was eyeing the girls celebrating the bachelorette. Also (maybe related?) everyone was extremely intoxicated.
Despite the few positives (friendly bartenders, happy clientele, no one was stabbed while I was there thanks to the thorough pat-down) I did not have a good time at Bloke. The people I was with did not have a good time at Bloke.
Will you have a good time at Bloke? It depends. Do you mourn the loss of Jersey Shore? Are you a woman who would consider penis memorabilia an integral part of attending a bachelorette?
Are you a man whose age or hairline has caused you to reevaluate your life and make decisions that you may not have made before? Have you ever "done it for the vine"? Do you live in Mississauga or Oakville and take a limo to Toronto clubs on weekends?
Do you live in Mississauga or Oakville but consistently refer to yourself as a Torontonian to your weekend limo driver? Are you very, very drunk? Are you looking to get very, very drunk and are flush with disposable income?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, Bloke might be the right place for you. For the rest of us, there are plenty of other Toronto bars and clubs more worthy of our time and our cash.