toronto nightclubs

Toronto nightclubs are reopening for Step 3 but many are deciding to wait

Toronto nightclubs are coming back as Ontario moves into Step 3 of its reopening plan.

Yes, nature is healing, society is returning, and the prayers of EDM horndogs have finally been answered, for on Friday July 16 at 12:01 am when Step 3 comes into effect, nightclubs in Toronto will once again be permitted to operate.

Nightclubs, both a major industry in Toronto and purposeful outlet for those of us whose only cardio comes from running on to the dance floor when the DJ finally breaks down and plays Kelly Clarkson, will finally be able to reopen under O Reg 364/20 if the club is able to comply with the conditions the regulation sets out.

El Convento Rico, one of Toronto’s most beloved Latin drag bars, is prepared and ready for 12:01 am to hit.

Their grand re-opening includes a drag show at 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning hosted by Miss Fiercalicious and featuring some of Toronto's top drag queens like fan fave Selena Vyle. Amidst the fun, the club is taking precaution to heart.

“We take our guests' safety seriously, so we are taking steps to ensure safety. Complying with Covid-19 safety guidelines, we will be checking temperatures at the door, have physical distancing between our bottle service booths and tables, with hand sanitizing stations around the venue and requiring masks to be worn at all times,” the Motherhouse told blogTO.

Flash on Church, a members only LGBTQ+ club, will also be reopening at 12:01 a.m. with a re-opening party hosted by the legendary Morgan James.

As well, Vertigo Toronto will be hosting a dance party featuring different DJs to celebrate the return to the dancefloor.

After-after-party fave Comfort Zone also had an event on tap for Friday morning with DJ Ryan Wiley. Mandated precautions will be in place at all venues to ensure safety.

While these parties definitely are a cause for celebration, the number of clubs unable to open (or open right away) is noticeable in a city with such a vibrant nightlife.

COVID-19 saw the closing of some of Toronto's most popular drink-and-dance spots (The Beaver, Everleigh, The Boat) but even some of the clubs that survived are unable to open with such little notice and unclear instructions.

One of Bloorcourt's most well known bars, The Piston, has been thriving with a fun CafeTO patio, but won’t be opening their indoor nightclub for a little while.

Owner Jorge DaCosta told blogTO they're looking at an August or September opening with 25 per cent capacity as they need to give notice to their landlord before they can reopen.

While Lee's Palace is planning to reopen in August, Dance Cave will also be waiting a bit longer before coming back on the scene.

The Cave is sitting it out until another legislative change in order to open, citing the unclear language in the current regulation that permits dancing but requires clubgoers to remain six feet apart and masked at all times.

"Only a government employee who has never been to a nightclub could have thought that up," said Jeff Cohen, one of the owners. 

The dearth of nightclub openings is a stark reminder of the huge toll the lockdown has taken on the service industry in Toronto. For those of us who are waiting for more nightclubs to open before venturing out, be mindful of waiting patiently.

For those of us who are ready to safely party as soon as 12:01 a.m. hits, now is a great time to support your favourite clubs, tip at a higher percentage than you normally would, and get all the expensive drinks your wallet and liver can handle.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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