Next target in city’s war on fun: West Queen West
There was the moratorium on new restaurants on Ossington, the end of community pizza nights at Christie Pits and the brouhaha over Ici Bistro because teenage gangs were attracted to J.P. Challet’s croissants. Now the Star is reporting that West Queen West is a hotbed of hooligans because places like The Drake are serving more booze than food (somehow, this is news). Customers leaving these establishments are noisy and have a penchant for “public urination and vomiting,” says the paper. It’s an old neighbourhood issue that has flared up again, with local councillors Adam Giambrone and Gord Perks wondering if the city should cap the number of bars on Queen West. There’s just one problem: technically, Toronto has no bars.
The city doesn’t have a separate classification for bars or “taverns,” since the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario made it mandatory for establishments that serve alcohol to provide food back in the early ’90s. The result: the line between a restaurant that serves alcohol and a bar that serves food is as blurred as a trendster’s vision when he stumbles out of the Double Deuce.
The concerned councillors say they want the city to come up with bylaws to limit the number of bars in a neighbourhood—some residents signed a petition to that effect last year. If they want to, they’d better be quick: The Savoy, a new watering hole, just opened. Plus, three condo complexes are going up fast along the strip. All those new residents are going to need somewhere to drink.
16 thoughts on “Next target in city’s war on fun: West Queen West”
as someone who enjoyed that neighbourhood for years and then fled when the 905-ers started coming in for their weekend pukefests, i think there are way too many bars already. and have been for a while.
Okay you Babies that can’t control your liquor intake. and have never been to any other cosmopolitan City to see the number of Bars and Restaurants. Maybe we should let the government control all of the sales of liquor and let’s throw in cigarettes and gambling while we’re at it. Oh, they already do. What a racket!
“have never been to any other cosmopolitan City to see the number of Bars and Restaurants”
Here are some cities that have regulations, at some level of government, designed to prevent areas being overconcentrated with bars:
San Francisco, Berlin, New York, London, Montreal, Chicago, Los Angeles.
These are pretty cosmopolitan cities, with pretty active nightlife.
Unlike all of these cities, Toronto has no regulations designed to limit the number of bars in an area.
Check out: http://queenbeac.wordpress.com/how-bar-concentration-is-handled-in-other-cities/ for information on how these cities limit bar over-concentration.
These are big cosmopolitan cities, with pretty respectable nightlife.
Honestly, if there is one thing Toronto’s nightlife needs it’s less concentrated enclaves of bars and clubs. I don’t think Richmond street would be such a terrible place if there was only one or two clubs there. West Queen West will soon be like that as well. Come this summer, when there will be at least one shooting there. I don’t know what persuades businesses to start right next door to each other (I guess so people can save on parking). I saw spread ’em out, and the city will be that much more interesting.
The last line in the second paragraph would have been so much more poignant if the author had used the appropriate colloquial term “hipster” vs. “trendster” which instantly made the article sound like my grandmother wrote it.
I resent the faux indignation displayed by people like Perks, Giambrone and Vaughn, especially when these businesses are almost entirely responsible for the rejuvenation of various underdeveloped ‘hoods. It usually goes like this: 1) entrepreneurs find a location with low rents, open up businesses and attract visitors; 2) area becomes hip, then developers buy up cheap properties and market ugly glass boxes to hipster doofuses who want to be “close to the action”; 3) Hipster doofuses realize that they need to sleep once in a while, and then they whine to their councilors about noise and traffic. Repeat as required.
RossVegas is right. Without the Drake Hotel, countless King West and College street resto-bars, would any of these areas have been rejuvinated? The home owners love the fact that their property values have quadrupled in the past decade, but now they want to eliminate the reasons that thier areas have gone from ghetto to gentrified.
5 years ago, how many people were moving to Ossington and Dundas? Unless you were going to Golden Turtle for Pho, you would be hard pressed to find people buying properties there. Now the area has become gentrifed, property values have increased, and now they want to shut off the tap. The city wants to rejuvnate King East/Sherboure/Riverside/Regent Park/St Clair West areas, let the restro-bars come, bring the patrons, and let the area Gentrify. Property values increase, and everyone is happy. I would prefer an extra $200K in the value of my property in exchange for someone puke on the main artery of the neighborhood. But thats just me.
I’m part of the residents association that’s been trying to get some sort of limits on the density of bars in West Queen West.
The story RossVegas tells, where people move in to be in the “cool” area, and then start complaining, doesn’t describe the reality here. The “ugly glass boxes” he mentions haven’t opened yet. Most of the neighbours who are most concerned about the over-concentration aren’t people who came here recently – they’re people who have lived in the neighbourhood for a long time. (RossVegas may be right in that some of us are Doofuses, I guess. But maybe no more than in the general population).
RV and TTGCTB both point out that in many ways, the introduction of bars to the neighbourhood has been a good thing. No one is saying it’s not. The concern isn’t that it’s bad to have some bars in an area. The point is that having *too many* bars in an area can be a bad thing. Adding one or two bars to our neighbourhood helped. Adding ten more didn’t.
In San Francisco and Manhattan nearly every block has one or two small, quiet establishments where locals can sit and have a drink or two and listen to the jukebox. These are all run by local entrepreneurs and many of them are fascinating exemplars of neighbourhood culture. In barbarian Toronto, we are forced to herd into giant pubs in central districts where disgusting greasy food (surely more lethal than alcohol) is served as a token offering to the pinch-souled mandarins of social engineering. Just one more thing that makes life in this third-rate city well nigh intolerable. What politician will sweep away our archaic laws and let the people relax a little?
“In barbarian Toronto, we are forced to herd into giant pubs in central districts where disgusting greasy food (surely more lethal than alcohol) is served as a token offering to the pinch-souled mandarins of social engineering”
I don’t know what bars you’re going to, but they sound awful. There are tons of neighbourhood places about.
No one is really talking about the real issues with bars/restaurants on the strips – Richmond, Adelaide or Queen West – its the no brainer and lack of visionary thinking councillors we have, namely Giambrone & Vaughan. Get some new thinking or lets all vote Rob Ford and get rid of some of these useless councillors.Downtown living is made for fun,excitement – if you cant stand the heat, go get a white picket fence house in the burbs and then be like the current 905ers and come down and party.Who do you think is living in all these new condos? 50 somethings? No! Young professionals and you want to send them to scarborough to party ? get real people and chill out.
I do not own a home or live in the downtown area. I’m in midtown, away from a lot of the “action”. However, I have enjoyed many a pub/watering hole/restaurant on Ossington and West Queen West and have really enjoyed the areas and all the great businesses that have been attracted to those neighbourhoods. They have some really interesting things going on down there and I think, at least from a bit of an outsiders perspective, that some of the influx of neat places to hang out has been responsible for that change in the neighbourhoods. However, the price of houses is out of control in this city (hence why I’m in my mid 30’s and am still renting) and I have to say…if I paid close to $600 thousand dollars for a semi-detached home, some that still have knob and tube wiring and oil furnaces that need replaced at the new home owners expense, I’d be pretty upset if I woke up to vomit on my lawn or on my street. There’s got to be a happy medium.
Good posts, Misha. Funny how some people think only bars “rejuvinate” an area. How about coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, yoga studios, galleries, etc? There’s more to life than drinking your face off.
sure, bars aren’t the only thing that rejuvenate an area, but they’re the industry that shows up first. i’ve lived in the west queen west area for about 8 years and i’ve seen it really grow since places like the Drake opened. in my opinion, it’s only a good thing.
Savoy, The worst place ever ! My friends and I were quietly chatting , drinking and dancing . The manager was chasing us all night long. Every single time, we decided to move and change the table, he was following us and starring at us in a very unfriendly way. We decide to ignore him and continue to party.
Suddenly after 1 hour, out of nowhere the security guard asked us to leave. Why? The manager did not want us there since we were not buying drinks.
We were totally surprised by that allegation. Indeed, we were actually drinking at that time and ordering drink was the first thing we did when we came in.
After clarifying the situation with the security guard and proving our honesty , the security guard was quite understandable and decided to leave us..
But few minutes later, while our drinks were not even finished yet and we were dancing, the security guard came back and asked us again to leave for the exact same reason.
That night, I can tell that I was another victim of racism at Savoy. Indeed, it seems that black females are not welcomed there…
Comments are closed.