Party hard at these LGBTQ bars in Toronto

Pride Week might draw once-a-year crowds to the Church and Wellesley 'hood, but there are plenty of inclusive nightlife destinations that offer year-round dance parties for the city’s LGBTQ community. Check out these loud and proud party destinations around Toronto.

Crews Bar

508 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C8

You’ll find sky-high heels, sequined leotards and plenty of glitter at this longstanding party hub in the heart of the Church-Wellesley Gay Village. Self-proclaimed as the city’s #1 Drag Bar, the bar’s welcoming environment attracts boys, girls and everyone in between with its nightly drag shows and drink specials. Stage performances feature some of Toronto’s best drag artists; bold-faced names like Daytona Bitch and Ivory Towers put on high-energy routines to classic pop tracks from Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. Outgoing audience members are welcome to jump on stage and join in the fabulous fun.

Buddies In Bad Times

12 Alexander St, Toronto, ON M4Y 1B4

After the curtain goes up, the after party begins. Every weekend the world’s largest and oldest facility-based queer theatre company hosts late night dance parties and stage shows (everything from cabaret performances to strip spelling bees) to raise money for its various theatre programs. Performers let loose as DJs spin a mix of top-40 music, pop, house and retro tracks that are sure to get everyone out on the dance floor.

El Convento Rico

750 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1C4

Initially founded as an underground nightclub for the Latin LGBTQ community, this spicy College Street nightclub has become one of the city’s best-known spots for drag shows. The legendary bar has a cavernous feeling (it is subterranean, after all) and resident and guest DJs spin a lively mix of Top 40 hits along with salsa, merengue, cha cha and bachata tunes. The dance floor clears at midnight for drag performances that thrill the diverse crowd of gay and straight revelers.

The Steady

1051 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1M4

This Miami-inspired bar and event venue in Bloorcourt specializes in delicious house-made doughnuts and all-night dance parties. Locals stop in on Saturday and Sunday mornings to enjoy the tasty vegan and gluten free brunch fare; after the sun goes down, the focus turns to craft cocktails and Queer-friendly events. Check the bar’s online calendar ahead of time to see what’s on the schedule; nightly events range from poetry readings to comedy nights and drag queen karaoke.

Woody S On Church

467 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C5

This iconic Church Street hotspot isn’t just a local institution; the village bar attracts tourists from around the world – especially during Pride Week. The large complex features five separate bars manned by muscled shirtless bartenders. The not-so-subtle gay bar is known for its nightly men’s contests (Best Chest, Best Ass) and eye-catching video monitors throughout the establishment displaying outstanding examples of the male physique. Considered by many to be ground zero for the gay community in the city, the bar was even featured as the main hangout on Showtime’s award-winning television program Queer as Folk.

Pegasus on Church

489B Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C6

Crowds of all ages sip pints over games of pool at this relaxed Church Street bar and lounge. The neighbourhood hangout offers a range of entertainment, including professional billiard tables, pinball machines, dartboards, electronic trivia and nightly specials throughout the week. The attentive bartenders know the regulars by name and the pool hall’s unpretentious vibe makes it a great place to make new friends. Visit on Tuesdays for bingo or Wednesday nights for half price pool.

WAYLA Bar & Lounge

996 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1K1

WAYLA (What Are You Looking At) is the place to be if you’re looking for a “Britney versus Madonna” video dance party east of the Don River. This open-minded lounge in Leslieville serves up inventive cocktails and hosts pop music events throughout the week as well as karaoke and trivia nights. Earlier on in the evening the chic lounge is a great spot for an intimate date — the interior has a rather elegant vibe with whitewashed exposed brick walls, stylish chandeliers and contemporary furniture.

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