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


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