baro toronto

Toronto police bust large gathering inside King West restaurant

Toronto police laid charges this weekend after being called to break up yet another large gathering that took place in a commercial space.

Authorities arrived at Baro restaurant, the popular Latin spot on King Street just west of Spadina, around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday after receiving noise complaints and reports that some type of party may have been going on.

The officers discovered approximately 25 people inside the establishment in obvious contravention of provincial gathering limits, under which private indoor get-togethers of any kind have long been banned in the city and outdoor socialization is limited to only those who live in the same household.

According to Baro management who spoke with CP24, the incident was a small-scale tasting event for staff in anticipation of getting to open their doors again in the coming weeks when lockdown restrictions ease.

Baro stands by the fact that the group was on the space's outdoor patio, not inside, and that they had no intention of breaking any current regulations, but were only there to perform necessary planning for reopening.

Still, nine people on the scene were slammed with tickets for violating emergency orders in the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA).

Baro, the new iteration of former King West staple Valdez, opened at 485 King in 2016 under the same head chef, Steven Gonzalez and is part of Honeycomb Hospitality, which is also behind businesses such as Petty Cash and Dasha.

The neighbourhood, which is absolutely bustling on any normal weekend, became known for lockdown violations last year when restaurants such as MARBL, King Taps and Casa Mezcal were shut down by Toronto Public Health for not abiding by COVID-19 guidelines, and neighbouring spots were witnessed flouting the rules, too.

Goldie, a lounge just a stone's throw from Baro, actually had its liquor license revoked last July for hosting a 125-person shindig when only outdoor dining was permitted.

This year, though all "non-essential" industries are completely shuttered save for pickup and delivery, the parties have continued in commercial spaces, such as the 150-person function that took place near Dundas and Spadina just days ago or the raucous party on the second floor of a business on West Queen West late last month.

Toronto Police Services have had to respond to thousands of illegal gatherings in the last three weeks alone as residents tire of long-running lockdown orders and forced closures while the rest of the world opens up.

Lead photo by

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