Orchid Nightclub is a new "multi-themed super club complex." Located where Tryst used to be, the space combines club, lounge and venue for an unforgettable party experience.
I visited Orchid late one Thursday night, post-drinks with friends, post-work and post-post-post hoping to get up early and hit the gym but ending up just watching The Biggest Loser as I do my hair.
After ID, cover ($10 on Thursdays/Fridays and $15 on Saturdays), and listening to one gentleman try to vaguely convince the bouncer to let him in ("so, um, is the guest list, like, changing? No?"), we were finally in.
After the foyer where cover is paid, coats are checked, and lipstick is reapplied, the space opens up into the first level of the venue. It's pretty big, with red leather bottle service booths around the perimeter. Giant portraits of celebrities decorate the walls, with chandeliers and disco balls hanging from the ceiling.
In the centre of the room is the dance floor, sunken a few feet like a luxurious Pinterest patio or a '70s living room or a sewer. A bar wraps around one side of the room, with two smaller bars on the other end.
Up the stairs, the second level of the club is a little nicer, with exposed brick and white leather booths. The ubiquitous celebrity portraits decorate the walls, but the second floor celebs are a little classier (Kate Moss as opposed to the first floor's Bruno Mars).
The light fixtures are modern and elaborate, and the space feels cozy, like a friend's apartment when it's snowing and you're really really hungover. Outside, the patio is outfitted with furniture and booths - a nice upgrade from the usual club alley (smoking pit-meets-emergency washroom).
Back inside, I hit up the bar with the best view of the Bruno Mars portrait. As we approached the bar, the bartender mournfully announced to us that he would be sleeping on the couch that night.
I was desperate to get more details (Was there a breakup? A foreclosure? Did his stepdad kick him out?) but when I tried to mine for information, he just sighed and wouldn't say anything, like those people who post The Used lyrics as Facebook statuses and then claim they "don't want to talk about it".
Toronto's Robert Kincaid, Jesse Milns , ordered a tequila soda ($6.50) and reported it to be "like, regular."
I ordered the signature cocktail (the bartender replied that there wasn't one), then the most popular drink (the bartender said he didn't know), then whatever people had ordered before me (the bartender said he would probably have a Jack and Coke, which isn't really what I asked but I was anxious to be on his good side for info on his couch situation so I took it).
The Jack and Coke (also $6.50) was very strong and very tasty, although it came with a distinct shortage of gossip. It seemed like a good price for the strength of the drink and the entertainment that accompanied it.
As the night went on, the "multi-themed super club complex" quality of Orchid started to become apparent. While the upper level of Orchid maintained the lounge-meets-club atmosphere for an upscale private party, the lower level had a special guest, DJ BL3ND , who attracted a totally different crowd.
Upstairs patrons were decked out in heels and dresses while the crowd downstairs wore shirts that emblazoned with words like BITCH and Alcatraz Psych Ward and Boobies Make Me Smile (I briefly debated whether to engage the last wearer in a conversation about the male gaze but decided against it).
Upstairs patrons took selfies while one downstairs patron took a video of the room while standing alone away from everyone else, American Beauty -style.
It was nice to see a venue that made use of different spaces and was able to hold such divergent groups in one space. Though the cover is on the higher side, drinks were reasonable and it seems ideal if you're the type of person who wants to hit up various scenes throughout the night. Just be sure not to get too invested in the bartender's life - I'm still waiting on my answers.