statlers toronto

Popular Toronto gay bar suddenly closes

"How lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

This is the obscure Winnie the Pooh quote with which popular gay bar Statler's chose to bid farewell to the Church Wellesley community, posted to their Facebook page on the night of January 2, 2019.

Other than that, and changing their Facebook Page's photo to a "Sorry, We’re Closed" sign, there was no official announcement of the bar's closure. The space, which also encompassed a loft area, was popular for live entertainment, including musical theatre open mics and piano nights.

Battles between new landlords and the bar were cited as the reason for closing by a source who worked at Statler's but wishes to remain anonymous.

Apparently, the new landlords were attempting to charge Statler's an extra $3000 a month for a "community area maintenance fee," and even tried to get a year's worth of back pay for these fees from the business. 

Having lost so much money in legal fees after months of fighting, three of the owners and the general manager are said to have decided the bar would shut down on January 1, 2019, only informing the rest of the staff on New Year’s Eve.

Predicting Statler's wouldn't be able to get through the winter, the former employee says they wanted to get out with enough to cover bills and paycheques. The source says they've been given their final pay and then some in lieu of notice, but not the full amount owed.

As for the talented patrons of Statler's, they’ll miss the place where they cut their teeth as performers.

Lead photo by

@thecanoli


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Eat & Drink

You can now get ice cream made by a chef in Toronto

Beloved local restaurant opens two new Toronto locations during pandemic

Toronto chef says we need to stop eating avocados

Yonge Street is getting dedicated bike lanes and patio space this summer

Trendy mini donut shop just opened a hidden new Toronto location

Another Ontario restaurant loses liquor licence for opening during lockdown

Popular Toronto pizza shop's future uncertain as building goes up for sale

Iconic Toronto cheese shop is opening a gelateria