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Toronto Nightlife

Circa
26 John Street
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5V 2E3
Tel: 416 979 9346
www.circatoronto.com

New York club king Peter Gatien came straight back to his hometown of Toronto when he was kicked out of the United States after drug charges and tax evasion, but his tail is definitely not between his legs. His latest superclub—a 55,000-square-foot monster called Circa—may be the biggest, boldest nighttime playground going. Art installations, mannequins in fetish wear, and even a Kidrobot toy boutique all play a part in a Friday event called Randomland—"a party that is art." If that stuff doesn't get your attention, the pounding bass generated by the main room's 35-speaker sound system surely will. The crowd is clubby, and patrons tend to wear clothes that advertise the fact that they have a gym membership. An indoor holding pen keeps the line off the street and moving, a welcome state of affairs on cold winter nights.

Open Fridays and Saturdays 10 pm to 4 am.

Guvernment
132 Queens Quay E.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5A 3Y5
Tel: 416 869 0045
www.theguvernment.com

More of a partying megacomplex than a nightclub, this factory-size edifice near the waterfront is divided into nine different rooms. The Main Room is ground zero for the city's electronic dance music scene on Saturday nights. The slightly larger Koolhaus—not actually a separate house—hosts live acts, while local DJs keep the other rooms happening. Past musical guests include the Black Eyed Peas, Nine Inch Nails, and Wolfmother.

Opens Fridays and Saturdays at 10 pm.

Horseshoe Tavern
368 Queen Street W.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5V 2A2
Tel: 416 598 4753
www.horseshoetavern.com

Want to discover music's next big thing? Check out who's playing at the Horseshoe, a tavern that's been featuring live acts for 60 years. Local heroes Feist, Broken Social Scene, Metric, Death From Above 1979, and Sloane have all entertained the faithful at this venerable establishment. Tickets for most shows only sell out the day of, so get in line before 9 pm, when the doors open. Inside, it's a down-home tavern, with a stage, some booths, plenty of standing room, and a bar. With a capacity of just 350, it's about as intimate a rock 'n' roll setting as you can find in a big city.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 9 pm to 1 am, Fridays and Saturdays 9 pm to 2:30 am.

Lobby
192 Bloor Street W.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5S 1T8
Tel: 416 929 7169
www.lobbyrestaurant.com

As its name implies, this see-and-be-seen Yorkville fixture is intended to mimic the sophisticated, clubby feel of a boutique hotel lobby. Located further uptown than Ultra Supper Club and Guvernment, it draws a fashion-forward thirtysomething crowd sipping pricey vodka martinis while draped over white leather couches or jockeying for hangout room at an onyx bar.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 5 pm to 2 am.

Matador
466 Dovercourt
Toronto , Ontario
Tel: 416 533 9311

Once the city's only grandmother-run after-hours club, the Matador may now just be the world's only great-grandmother-run after-hours club. Opened in 1969, the former country-music dance hall hosts classic-rock tribute bands that belt it out at volume 11 until the sun comes up to a mixed but friendly crowd of late-night revelers. If there's a film shooting in town, you might just see a celeb partying into the wee hours (Harrison Ford is a big fan). 

Open Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 pm to 5:30 am.

Ultra Supper Club
314 Queen Street W.
Toronto , Ontario
Tel: 416 263 0330
www.ultrasupperclub.com

Despite its name, the real attractions of this slightly hidden enclave of cocktails and small talk are the lounge and dance floor, as the late-night lineup of Porsches, Bentleys, and Ferraris outside affirms. Inside, you'll find a lush, highly textured space with fur pillows and chocolate banquettes juxtaposed with curved plastic and Eames Eiffel–style chairs.  The dress code, like the crowd, is "upscale casual." If it's warm, make for the large open-air patio, where white-on-white couches put the focus on the sparkling skyline. A tip: Make nice with the bouncers. They don't respond favorably to attitude.

Opens Mondays through Saturdays at 5:30 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.