The Central, aptly named, is located in the middle of the Bloor West nightlife scene. Once a well-loved jazz hub, the bar has undergone some big changes since it first opened back in 2007. Following a dramatic transformation courtesy the reality show Restaurant Makeover, the resto-bar is now co-owned by brothers Clement and Lucan Wai and managed by Evan Desmarais.
The moody neighbourhood haunt is situated in a multi-levelled townhouse tucked away behind the iconic Honest Ed’s department store. The ground floor features a lounge and stage area and one of the largest outdoor patios on the block. The upstairs is a more intimate event space for readings and screenings, complete with a foosball table and an enclosed balcony patio.
“I like to think of this place as a house,” says Evan. “We want people to feel welcome, like they’re at a big house party.” Thanks to its proximity to Toronto’s large universities and the unusually fair menu prices, The Central attracts a steady crowd of local students and twenty-somethings.
Some might be surprised that The Central is a great place to enjoy wine in the Annex. Not only do they host the bands that will be big tomorrow, but the bar also boasts a large selection of wine, beer and food. Drop by for a free improv comedy show or to check out the monthly cabaret act to keep you entertained while you sip away on a fine half-litre of vino.
This is an eclectic venue with a finger in several performance genre pies. You can enjoy or even take part in Mic Comedy on Monday nights and a regular Tuesday night gig put on by the house. There’s a reasonable menu of snacks, mains, soups and cocktails if you want to settle in for the evening.
A pint of beer on its own tastes so lonely, so give it some company in the form of stellar live entertainment. Each Monday, The Central hosts an open mic comedy night upstairs, while Tuesdays are set aside for Evan Desmarais’s wildly successful comedy show. If you prefer something a little more chilled out, come on other evenings and be serenaded by the cool sounds of jazz and blues music.
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