Jam Factory is the perfect target for some half-assed puns, but I'll restrain myself. The building was, in fact, originally a late 19th-century jam plant known as Sherriff Jam Factory. Now, in addition to hosting Merchants Of Green Coffee on the first floor, it's a rentable office space and a brand-new east end music venue. You know, for jamming. Apologies, I couldn't resist.
When I first got word about the space, I saw that Feast in the East , a monthly east end music series, was happening at Jam in a week's time - the perfect night to check out the new space.
As I approached the venue, the first thing I noticed is the quiet. It's a dark and fairly sleepy part of the city at night. That is, until you're out front, and cars are whizzing by on the DVP a stone's throw or, as some were inclined after a couple drinks, a piss away. As I approached, music was creeping out of the large steel door, which sat below large painted letters reading CAFE & JAM FACTORY .
After ascending the stairs to the second floor, I walked into the open-concept loft space reminiscent of a party from a Girls episode set in Bushwick. (You know, the episode where Shosh accidentally smokes crack. Like our mayor.) There's the required dangling Christmas lights, the large wooden beams and matching creaky wood floor, exposed brick and a projector illuminating some distorted imagery on the ceiling. You know the drill. The stage is in the back, just a slightly raised platform with amps and another projector.
And then there are the slight twists.
There's pretty much an entire living room in the back, equipped with a coffee table and body-engulfing couches. As part of the event that evening, they were serving curry with the price of admission. They were also selling tallboys for $4. (Tallboys. For. $4.) When you go outside for a smoke break, the city's illuminated skyline comes into view. The streaking red taillights from the DVP are almost calming.
When Toronto's own Gay hit the stage that night, the space filled up nicely, becoming snug. The bobbing heads turned into dancing feet, and the floor creaked a little louder - a reminder that the art of making jam is still alive and well.