Smiling Buddha Enlightens Toronto Music Scene
The Smiling Buddha holds a curious position among Toronto's music venues. With only three and a half years of operation, it doesn't have a weighty reputation to hold down like Sneaky Dee's, Lee's Palace, El Mocambo, or the Horseshoe.
Wayne, the manager, explained to me that the Smilng Buddha used to be a sports bar. He didn't enjoy watching sports that much, so he decided to reincarnate the place as a music venue. The name 'Smiling Buddha' was recommended to him by a friend, and the name just stuck.
Indie rock shows aside, Wayne's willing to tackle any event. Birthday parties, magazine launches, and even fashion shows are all fair game. His enthusiasm for local bands and flexible attitude are a breath of fresh air compared to some of the more established venues in this city. The bar hosted several hundred bands last year, though Wayne guesses that they may have seen upwards of a thousand.
The bar doesn't enforce cover, so it's up to the band if they want to collect one. A bottle of beer can be had for less than $5. The Smiling Buddha also provides some house audio equipment. With a cozy capacity for about 100 people, it's the ideal place for a small live show in front of an intimate audience of friends and fans.
Photos taken from The Lowfives show at the Smiling Buddha on Valentine's Day.
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