In a metropolis like Toronto, a fun night out should be easier to come by.
If you’re a first-year, you’ve likely tried out a couple of different frat houses by now. Each of them offers a slight variation on the same classic formula: sticky floors, generic hip hop, sweaty bodies, and, of course, a higher cover charge for men than for women.
If you’re an upper-year student, you’ve probably had the chance to explore the city’s venues a little more. However, many clubs advertised online and in major districts like King Street West feel like a cringey nightmare: bottle service girls stand in awkward circles around sleazy older men while a poorly mixed Drake soundtrack plays in the background.
Why is good music and a good crowd so hard to find in a city of almost three million people? I’m here to assure you that a fun night out isn’t impossible. Below are some amazing dance party options where you’ll be sure to find other young, like-minded people.
Kuruza is not a club but a collective of DJs. It hosts frequent dance parties that range in style, particularly featuring Black talent and genres such as Afrobeats, UK garage, jungle, R&B, and dancehall. Unlike at your usual nightclub, its DJ lineups are true pros who are in touch with the cultural current. The crowd is typically young, diverse, fashionable, and most importantly, ready to dance!
El Convento Rico
El Convento Rico is an actual brick-and-mortar club located on College Street in Little Italy. If you’re into Latin music, this is the place for you. The usual vibe is reggaeton and classic club hits. Its cocktails are affordable, and every Friday and Saturday night at midnight, it clears out the dance floor for a drag show — what more could you ask for?
Yes Yes Y’all
Like Kuruza, Yes Yes Y’all is another collective that organizes bumping parties. It typically only hosts one party every few months, but it’s worth the wait! Between all the midterms and weekly reading discussion posts, who’s going clubbing more than once a month anyway? Its events are always advertised on Instagram.
A little grungy and a little indie, Lee’s Palace is a classic Toronto concert venue with frequent events. Located at Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street, in addition to concerts, it hosts Dance Cave on Fridays and Saturdays, a more casual clubbing experience free for students before 11:00 pm. Fun fact: The movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World famously featured Lee’s Palace.
Pep Rally is a DJ community that hosts warehouse raves throughout the city. Pep Rally offers a bumping dance haven for the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community and raver youth. Every dance party has a creative dress code or theme, and seeing as they happen only once or twice a month, they’re an occasion to step outside the box with your look — if you plan on showing up in a t-shirt and jeans, stay home! They frequently host internationally renowned DJs, playing a mix of electronic music, party anthems, and everything in between.