Crown Bar and Lounge

Crown Bar and Lounge may be situated on a King, but does it have the jewels necessary for it to truly become Toronto royalty? I arrived at Crown right around the witching hour, as exemplified by the lovely lass who was collecting the cover charge ("No, it's $20 EACH!). As I made my way to the bar for round one of what would end up being a four-round slugfest with the bar staff.

I was already 3Deep on heavy vodka cocktails before ordering the first round of Budweiser ($6.50) and vodka/soda ($7) for my friend and me. Those prices, while fairly standard, proved to be the cheapest that we'd pay all night, since the same bartender magically changed the total price of the same combined drinks to an even $14 for our second round, but I'd rather not speculate. Bottle service accompanied by the usual suspects of mixes can cost anywhere from $160 (Alizé Gold) to $550 (Ace of Spades Champagne), with a bevy of other adult bevies available at an average price of $200.

Crown had a lot for my wandering eyes to take in, which was mostly a good thing. The VIP booth walls are cushiony, and I spotted at least three photographers documenting the fist-pumping action. There were two go-go dancers on platforms helping to keep the energy up, among other things, and the neon ceiling lights also added to the ambiance. The men's room was spacious and clean, yet the four closely huddled urinals left something to be desired, and that something was more room between me and a guy handling his junk.

Towards the back of the venue, up a few steps, is a dark, vacuous room containing several round tables and what appeared to be more VIP booths, yet my unimportant friend and I breezed past security and set up shop. My favourite touch (besides the large booth at the back of the dark room, where I can only presume that shady deals and tipsy girls go down) was the dozens of paper cranes hung from the ceiling above the main area.

The patrons were mainly 20-somethings of differing ethnic backgrounds, and most people appeared to be enjoying themselves. Crown isn't really my type of place, but it could be a fun, if generic, spot to check out for those who feel like dancing with a few friends. The girl to guy ratio was fairly balanced, so the prospect of leaving with a piece of arm candy is there, especially for non-uggos.

I like shmoozin' and groovin' every now and then, but doing so to the same music that I could hear at any other dance club, and paying $20 to do so, is not my cup of Red Bull.

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