bar karma

Toronto business charged after dozens of people found inside drinking during lockdown

A Toronto bar at Queen West and Portland was found to be hosting dozens of customers in direct defiance of lockdown measures over the weekend.

The establishment, aptly named Bar Karma, replaced tenured craft beer bar Tequila Bookworm back in May.

Police busted up an indoor party at the location around 12:40 a.m. on Sunday following noise complaints from locals, and found about 30 to 40 people inside, unsurprisingly maskless and in close quarters.

This was after officers were initially barred from entering to the club, which had deliberately blacked-out windows and locked doors to hide the goings-on inside.

Unfortunately for the two owners, who have now been issued a court summons for failing to comply with the regulations under the Reopening Ontario Act, the loud music and obvious crowd sounds were a dead giveaway and authorities managed to get in after approximately an hour.

The identity of the wantonly noncompliant bar had at first been withheld, with Mayor John Tory telling CP24 Monday morning that he wanted the spot named " because I think anyone who is that irresponsible as an owner not only should be facing their day in court, and not only be given the maximum fine as well but they should be shamed."

Karma provided a notedly, er, different vibe than the beloved spot that had previously occupied 512 Queen West for nearly three decades, offering bottle service and a "VIP second floor," all under the banner — literally — of its temporary vinyl sign.

The proprietors face fines of $100,000, finally learning the meaning of the neon aphorism that hangs as an omen in their business: karma is a bitch.

Lead photo by


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