Switch is a new resto-lounge located at 55 Colborne Street (previous home to The Bowery and Osteria 55 ). Brought to you by Toronto clublords Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth , Switch currently serves booze to young Torontonians with disposable income but will move into serving gourmet bar snacks to accompany cocktails in the coming fall.
I visited Switch around 11 pm on a Saturday night. As the club is fairly new, I figured it would be pretty empty, and I would have no trouble getting in. I was completely wrong. Luckily, I used my unwavering charm to get in (i.e. I begged the bouncer), but word to the wise, get on the guestlist.
Inside the lounge, the upstairs functions as a dance club while the downstairs has a more laid-back feel. Downstairs, it's super chill — the walls are decorated with signed jerseys and arcade games, like the basement of that guy you grew up with who had a cool dad who insisted on buying you beer and telling you about the glory days of yore before he got his old lady knocked up, lost his football scholarship and had to go on worker's comp.
Upstairs, it's flashy. The dance floor is decorated impeccably with the Switch theme in mind; there are mirrors arranged on the wall (a reference to that episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark that ruined my childhood where the girls switched places through the mirror) and silver figures surrounding the archway (reminiscent of Erik Estrada's character in 1970's The Cross and the Switchblade ). If downstairs is craft beer, upstairs is champagne. If downstairs is Words with Friends, upstairs is SnapChat. If downstairs is Amanda Bynes on The Amanda Show , upstairs is Amanda Bynes now .
I ordered a vodka soda ($8) and hung out downstairs for a bit until people started talking about a circus act going on upstairs. I hoped "circus act" was street lingo for a girlfight and ran up the stairs to watch, but it was actually a real, live circus act. Toronto party performer Ryan Opar was juggling pins (dangerous around so many people!) swallowing fire (dangerous around alcohol!) and showing up some gentlemen who thought it would be a good idea to dance in front of him in the hopes of getting lady attention (dangerous in general!).
Opar's act was the highlight of the night (and I got a cookie from the 24 hour Starbucks afterwards, so those are some pretty high stakes), which the sea of iPhones, Androids and Blackberrys capturing his illusions confirmed. It was like Barnum and Bailey minus the animal abuse or Cirque de Soleil minus the sexual tension.
Maybe it was from the adrenaline of watching someone pop their shoulder out of the socket with a tennis racket , but everyone was having an amazing time. The music was pumping, the drinks were flowing, and at one point someone was doing one of those trust exercises where you fall backwards into someone's arms. Though the cover is a little steep ($20 on Saturday, $15 on Friday and $10 on Thursday), Switch is a fun place to go if you want to play arcade games, talk to ladies and see someone lie on a bed of nails all in one venue. As the great philosopher William Smith writes in his magnum opus, Switch : "Shut your mouth fool, get your crew... [t]hat's what I'm talking 'bout."
That's what I'm talking 'bout, indeed.