East vs. West Toronto: A Cultural Exchange

The East vs. West debate rages on as we look at some gems on both sides of town.

We’ve been debating the superiority of Toronto’s East end vs. West end on the show lately and unsurprisingly, it’s kicked off a firestorm. West enders think that the East is a stroller-filled wasteland and East enders mostly feel that they’ve outgrown the self-conscious young partiers in the West. Both sides have a nugget of truth on their side but this argument is terribly reductive and discounts so many amazing experiences to be had on both ends. In an effort to get both sides out of their comfort zones I present a fun night out in each ‘hood.

EAST

I’ve lived out East for roughly 7 years and it’s where I’m happiest at this stage in life. It’s quiet and full of undiscovered gems that most West enders aren’t aware of. Here are 3 fun spots to hit on a night out.

Drinks: Hi Lo (Queen and Broadview)
This hole in the wall just east of Queen and Broadview is a great spot to kick off the night. Pound a few drinks and play some pinball to get things going.

Dinner: Skin and Bones (Queen and Carlaw)
A wine-friendly joint that features excellent local ingredients and awesome signature cocktails. Great for a snack at the bar or a full meal, this place is one to watch in the East and is part of a new generation of restaurants changing the dining landscape in my ‘hood.

Venue: Danforth Music Hall (Danforth and Broadview)
I love the Danforth, it gets voted best venue in the city in my books. The sound is good, the layout is well thought out and best of all the floor is on a gradual slope so you can see the action from just about anywhere.

WEST

I lived in the West for 8 years and had some awesome, if blurry, times in this part of the city. I love the West but I feel it’s a young man’s game. Party on dudes, party on.

Drinks: Get Well (Dundas and Ossington)
This bar/arcade will bring out the kid in you (so will the boozy drinks, so pace yourself!). Full of vintage arcade games you can play for free (!), it’s impossible to have a boring night here.

Dinner: Bar Buca (King and Brant)
A more casual version of King street’s wildly popular Buca, this spot features delicious southern Italian food. I’ve been to Sicily, I’ve been to Bar Buca and the food here holds up to the best grub I ate in Europe’s boot.

Venue: Mod Club (College and Shaw)
I like the Mod Club because my band (Russian Futurists) have played here a bunch and watched quite a few shows from the other side of the stage. The sound is usually good and it’s a larger capacity venue that doesn’t feel cavernous.