Gilt opened over the summer in the Entertainment District. Boasting bottle service and themed nights, the nightclub bills itself as Toronto's hottest patio.
I visited Gilt on a Thursday evening in August. From the outside, Gilt looks pretty impressive. The exterior of the building is bathed in royal purple light (taking inspiration from America's favourite oils and lubricants ) and there are loads of staff members manning the door (taking inspiration from governments everywhere).
On the inside, Gilt is pretty standard. The space is on the small side for a club, and much of it is taken up by bottle service booths, decorated in purple upholstery. Chandeliers hang above the bar on the opposite side, and there is a giant altar on which the DJ spins. On the other end of the club sits a statue of Buddha in the blessing pose (a nice change from the usual nightclub religious iconography - crucifixes are so 2013.)
I decided to order a drink while I was downstairs. I asked the bartender if there was a signature cocktail ("nope"), and what most people ordered ("vodka soda but sometimes Red Bull") before eventually settling on the vodka soda ($8). I started to ask the bartender another question (second-guessing my hasty Red Bull rejection) but unfortunately the bartender walked away while I was mid-sentence.
This would be understandable if there were other patrons waiting to order (and even then, you should lie and say "sorry, be right back!" if the patron is mid-sentence even though you have no intention of coming back to the weird girl who is simultaneously taking notes about bar decor on her iPhone and playing Kim Kardashian Hollywood ) but there was no one else ordering at the bar. The bartender just walked over and picked up her conversation with the other bartender.
To cover the fact that I was now talking out loud to no one, I loudly coughed and then escaped to the rooftop patio. Though my experience to that point was somewhat lacklustre, the rooftop patio is where Gilt shines. Their patio is large with split-levels and one full and one smaller bar.
The lower level has more tables for bottle service as well as a DJ booth. The upper level is really just an area to hang out, dance, and gaze longingly at the people who have bottle service on the lower level. There are trees and lights around the border of the patio to try and conceal the fact you're in Toronto, but the greenery is a little sparse on the upper level for full suspension of disbelief.
As the night went on, the patio filled with very attractive people in dresses and suits (and also one person was wearing a newsboy hat). A few people started dancing but for the most part, people just stood and talked. I was able to witness a math problem in real life ("If three women with vocal fry get together at a club, how many different orders can they stand in to get as many selfies as possible?") and the solution ("six Instagram posts, nine uses of the word 'cute', and one self-reflection on life with a 'man-chin'").
Overall, the patrons at Gilt seemed to be enjoying themselves, but it's not a club I would recommend for the average Torontonian. It's overly expensive without the payoff of a over-the-top venue, outstanding drinks or great service.
Gilt said it best themselves via their hashtags: Do you want to pay top dollar to be around #BeautifulPeople in #TorontoCity ? Do you want to get #RichGirlWasted ? If so, then Gilt is the club for you. If not, I'll see you with all the other #MediumToOkayLookingPeople in #Toronto #DrinkingResponsiblyWithBothTheBourgeoisieAndProletariats.