the dakota tavern

The Dakota Tavern could shut permanently next month due to insurance issues

The fate of one of Toronto's best live music venues, The Dakota Tavern, is uncertain following issues with insurance. 

On Friday, owner Stephen Reid took to Facebook to outline problems he's been facing with his insurance company that is refusing to renew his policy.

"The insurance industry is not, with very few exceptions, renewing policies for bars and restaurants. They have been happy to take our money whilst we were closed with no rebates or adjustments," the Facebook post, posted to the Castro's Lounge page, Reid's second establishment, reads.

Policies aren't being renewed even to venues that have been in business for years with no claims, Reid wrote. 

Reid explained to blogTO that he's been trying to renew The Dakota Tavern's insurance policy with no luck. 

"We got the Castro's renewed in May with no problems but as the COVID situation has developed, the insurance broker was telling me that insurers were backing off of the restaurant and bar industry, particularly with live music venues," he said. 

"The current company that is insuring us is no longer willing to even consider it."

Reid added that the venue's current insurance policy expires on Oct. 18, meaning that if he cannot find another, he'll be forced to shut it down in a month. 

"There are a lot of potential places to try, but it just sounds like the insurance industry is unwilling."

When asked why his insurance company won't renew his policy, Reid said that it has to due with liability during the pandemic.

"If an outbreak happens and people trace it back to the bar, then the bar will be doomed. That's my understanding."

Of course, The Dakota Tavern is not the only live music venue facing this problem and fans online are calling for the provincial government to step in. 

"Happy to hear Castro's Lounge is safe for the time being. Best of luck with the Dakota. The city can't afford to lose more music venues," someone commented on Facebook.

Let's hope Toronto doesn't lose yet another iconic spot. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vazquez


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