Hi Lo
By Karen Lloyd

Tequila Town

Every drinker reaches a low point, but never at Hi-Lo Bar. Riverside's little British-style watering hole is a gathering spot most nights of the week for young, hardworking east-enders looking to let loose and live a little – even if they wake up the next morning without much memory of their night.

“It depends how much tequila you have,” says owner Gavin Holmes with a smile. Thankfully, in addition to beer and cocktails, you can also stuff your belly with Hi-Lo's entire snack menu (which includes crispy cauliflower and pig mack – a Big-Mac-esque burger made with pancetta) for $40.

As the night goes on, the music gets louder and the lights get lower. - Gavin Holmes, owner
Hi-Lo Bar beer, cocktails, late night snacks
Enjoy a game of pinball at Hi-Lo Bar.

A Shot in the Dark

Gavin has bar tended around the globe at pubs in New Zealand, Australia, Halifax, Yukon, and pretty much everywhere he’s travelled and lived before settling in Canada.

“You’re always working at your local bar one way or another,” he says. “I’ve met some amazing people.”

Among Riverside pub hoppers, Hi-Lo Bar is dubbed "the clubhouse." With pinball machines, beer release parties and DJ'd events, Gavin says it's like a playground for adults – without any teachers on duty.

“We don’t have any rules in here, except we don’t take music requests,” says Gavin. Instead, the staff stick with their personal faves, mostly rock and roll classics like Led Zepplin, The Who, Guns and Roses and, of course, The Rolling Stones. “As the night goes on, the music gets louder and the lights get lower,” he says.

Hi-Lo Bar - beer, cocktails, late night snacks.
It might seem like a hole in the wall from the outside, but this Queen Street Bar can pack a lot of people.

Booze on a Budget

Whether you’re in jeans and a hoody or dressed to the nines, drop in. Anything goes at Hi-Lo Bar.

As the name suggests, you can walk in with $20 and have four drinks or $40 and have two drinks. The bar is just as well stocked with $4 cans of Old Milwaukee as it is with $18 bottles of Imperial Pumking.

“We want it to be affordable to buy a couple pops,” says Gavin.

The native Brit opened Hi-Lo Bar in 2013, eight years after he moved to Toronto.

Hi-Lo Bar- beer, cocktails, late night snacks.
Hi-Lo Bar is Riverside's neighbourhood pub.
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