Toronto’s after-hours scene doesn’t sleep. It’s a favoured target of the fun police (read: sometimes actual police) – and yes, that can mean dramatic vice squad invasions, but for some crowds that’s part of the allure (and don’t kid yourself – if you went out planning to dance until the sun came up, you were probably looking to make some memories anyway) – but the city’s after-hours club owners, promoters, and partiers are consistently finding creative and resourceful ways to prevent noise complaints, bad apples and city legislature from getting in the way of good, clean(ish) all-night hedonism. This is a guide to some of the city’s most persistent after-hours clubs.
Coda | 794 Bathurst St.
Hatched from circumstance when owners Joel Smye and Stephan Philion forfeited popular techno outpost Footwork to the city’s war on club district, Coda is Smye and Philion’s new station for all-night techno and house music, situated in the space once belonging to the Annex Wreckroom at Bathurst and Bloor. This version of the space prioritizes the dancing that happens until 5 a.m., so now there’s a dance floor where that bar was, and if you need to sit, just find a couch or a bench on its perimeter.
Comfort Zone | 480 Spadina Rd.
The Silver Dollar Room has thrived as an asylum for jazz, blues, and rock music, and in the mid-’90s, the local EDM community found a safe haven in its basement after-hours space, Comfort Zone. But in the late 2000s, it was raising eyebrows. A massive drug raid involving 80 police officers and a TTC bus adapted to transport more than 30 arrested clubgoers left the space labeled a drug den by police and local media in 2008, and as a result the owners attempted to sue City of Toronto over unfair police and city inspection scrutiny. After 10 months in limbo, when the Comfort Zone reopened in 2009, it was as a “special-event venue” and not a “club” space, but that still means plenty of sunset-to-sunrise parties.
Fly 2.0 | 6 Gloucester St.
After a spate of club closures in the Church-Wellesley Village, when popular gay club Fly was shuttered following WorldPride in 2014, the surrounding community responded with concern. But the space reopened a month later, this time under sole management of club founder Shawn Riker. Freshly renovated and reborn as Fly 2.0, the updated club returned with the same dance floor that attracted club-goers before, while the second floor balcony has been improved to offer quieter time outs from the crowds.
99 Sudbury | 99 Sudbury St.
Existing at the junction of Toronto’s Liberty Village, Parkdale, and West Queen West neighbourhoods, it’s not surprising 99 Sudbury has modified its facilities to adapt to its shifting surroundings. While the lifestyle establishment had an early reputation as a staple after-hours club, in the late 2000s owners shifted focus to developing the space’s fitness facilities. But it couldn’t stay away for long, and now it has a 5000 square-foot gallery space to facilitate its late-night bangers. In 2014, it saved the day by subbing in for Tower Automotive Building when City authorities prevented electronic music fans from descending on that historic space for the month-long series, Foundry.