The top 10 mancaves in Toronto
The concept of the mancave was taken to new heights (or lows) this month in Toronto, when a mysterious cave appeared near the York University campus. The city was both enthralled and throroughly creeped out by the hole's discovery - but, as it turns out, it was just two guys who were having a good time (possibly just one guy, but I digress).
Though the tunnel (which, as many have pointed out, is really just a fancy hole) is no more, it leaves the crown of Toronto's best mancave available once again; here, I've rounded up the top contenders. (By the way, you don't necessarily have to be a man to go to these places - nor do you have to be male to enjoy sports, whiskey, leather chairs, red meat, or pocket squares, because those things are great.)
Here are my picks for the top 10 mancaves in Toronto.
Rod, Gun & Barbers
This Junction spot is a barber shop (good) that also sells booze (better). You can even get a cigar, a pint or a scotch packaged right in with your haircut or your shave, which is all done under the watchful eye of a stuffed muskie caught by the owner. Now that's service.
Real Sports Bar
Some cool new Toronto spots are attempting to reinvent the sportsbar (the Dock Ellis and the Contender come to mind). This, however, is not one of those bars. This is, as blogTO's own Ben Johnson once so eloquently wrote, "a sprawling 25,000 square feet of high-fiving and chicken wings". Go here for 114 beer taps, 200 HD television screens, and all the sprots you can handle.
Man Cave Barber's Lounge
Many bristled at the name of this barber shop when it opened last year, but fratty curb appeal aside, you can't beat a shop with a TV at every single barber's station. (But lest you think they'll finish your haircut with a punch in the chest and a shove out the door, they throw in tons of extras like hand massages with your cut.)
The Mad One Barbershop
Mad One wins points for being the most literally cavelike barbershop in town - it's located in a back corner of Black Market on Queen West, where you have to trawl through stalactites and stalagmites of old T-shirts and army boots to get the barbers to hook you up with a "Get Laid Fade".
MADE Clothing Co.
MADE's not the fanciest tailor in town, but dudes dig the exclusivity of the shopping experience: Visit their loftlike showroom in Corktown, with all its high ceiling and suave, slick decor; get handed a scotch, and browse through fabrics for your new suit (with fancy socks and pocket squares to match).
The Black Eagle
Bears (humans) are men. Bears (animals) are found in caves. Thus, the Black Eagle, a leather bar in the Church-Wellesley Village, might be the manliest cave of all. They've got a good calendar of kink-oriented events, but it's also a friendly, no-attitude place to hang out with a beer, and they even fire up the BBQ in the summertime.
This Elm St. steakhouse is a sterling example of time-capsule throwback dining in Toronto, a hall of red carpeting, heavy drapery, and large hunks of delicious grilled meat. This is the place to live your Don Draper dreams. (Plus, their owner totally kicked the crap out of a guy a few months ago.)
Thomas Hinds Tobacconist
Wood paneling everywhere? Check. Wingback chairs? Check. A wall display of pipes? Check. Tons and tons of cigars? Yep, this Yorkville tobacconist's has them all in spades. Go here for Cuban, Honduran and Dominican imports and plenty of old-man vibes.
Bode Spa for Men
Body scrubs and facials are super manly, and don't let anybody tell you different. But they're especially manly at this guys-only Annex spa, where they'll give you "Sock Destroyer" foot touch-ups, "Tune-Up" and "Liquid Plumber" facials, and manscaping. Lots of manscaping..
It seems like an obvious inclusion, but there's little on this earth more manly than people with varying degrees of beard wearing their best Al Borland flannels, throwing axes through the air, and reveling in the scent of wood, sweat and steel. They've got locations in the Port Lands and the Junction Triangle if you think you can hack it.
Did I miss any? Leave your suggestions for Toronto's top man caves and tell me I'm not qualified to write this list in the comments!
Photo of Rod, Gun & Barbers by Matt Forsythe.
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