Sneaky Dee’s: Toronto’s Holy Grail of Cheap Drinks & Live Music
March 6, 2016
When I was finally able to experience this buzz-worthy Tex-Mex serving bar that is a staple of Torontonian nightlife, I was able to cross an item off of my Bar Bucket List.
The outing was for one of my closest friend’s birthdays and much to my excitement, she hosted this event at the infamous Sneaky Dee’s. This colourful venue is situated right on the corner of College and Bathurst – a conveniently short streetcar ride away from Bathurst subway station.
There are an immense amount of oversea bars and clubs to choose from – whether it’s a personal cocktail or wild party environment, there are hundreds to visit.
First Time Experience at Sneaky Dee’s
I should preface this by saying that I had been waiting to go to Sneaky Dee’s since I was about 15 years old – when my friends and I were really into local bands that frequently played at this venue; unfortunately, our parents were always wary of letting us go to bars when we were underage (despite our promises to not drink any alcohol), so it slowly became this revered and unattainable place that I was hell-bent on one day visiting.
I had consequently put this place up on a pedestal of sorts, but when I was finally able to experience Sneaky Dee’s firsthand, it met all of my expectations.
There were less people than I imagined would be present upon first arriving at around 8:30 p.m, considering the hype surrounding this long-established location, but the venue quickly filled up.
The Appearance And Environment At Sneaky Dee’s
The restaurant area on the main floor had a good vibe, and soon became packed with chatting people having a great time. When everyone in our group had arrived at the bar, we gathered our things and went upstairs to where the DJ was setting up onstage.
There were several fold-out tables in front of this area for us to sit at until they were taken away to create a dance floor at around 11 p.m. Before the tables disappeared however, I got my first taste of Sneaky Dee’s culinary delights.
As if wanting to intensify the experience all the more, their food was absolutely delicious. Though the full menu can be found here on the Sneaky Dee’s website and looks to have too many appealing food options for me to wrap my head around, I decided on ordering the French toast from their all-day breakfast menu.
It was wonderful; I’m talking thickly sliced bread, the perfect amount of cinnamon, enough maple syrup packets on the side to keep the sweetness-to-carb ratio ideal, and a large enough portion to be fully satisfying.
It also happened to be the first time in my life that I washed down breakfast foods with a gin and tonic instead of milk, only to go wash that down with two Polar Bear shots right after. Which brings me to my bonus *Brownie Points* for Sneaky Dee’s…
Drinks And Things To Do At Sneaky Dee’s
Drinks were extremely cheap and well made, and so… well, I suppose you’re able to put two and two together and can (rightfully) assume that the drink tally was long forgotten by the end of the night. Not to mention that the shots are always literally overflowing when they’re poured right in front of you and the alcohol content in your mixed drinks are very generous.
The DJ began playing remixes of old music from the ’60s all night long (though they usually have more current music or live bands, from what I hear. A full list of their scheduled events can be found here.
Needless to say, I was enthusiastically bopping around to the oldies and with a little encouragement to embrace the outdated music, I had my friends doing the same.
I’m still trying to decide what my favourite part of the night was, but I think it actually hit me the morning after when I was going through the blurry photos I had taken on my phone (mostly selfies with my friends, I will admit) and came across this one.
As you can see, the bathrooms in that place are visually cacophonous, but it makes the building feel that much more personal.
I can vividly remember telling my friend time and time again when we accompanied one another to the bathrooms that this particular quote scrawled across the door resonated with me.
I couldn’t pinpoint why – it went beyond the words of the quote itself (and had nothing to do with it being quoted by someone named after a drink, I swear!).
The next morning was when I realised that it was my favourite quote from the character Brandy Alexander in my favourite novel by my favourite author: Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters.
It was funny that my friend didn’t remember the source of the quote either, as she was the one who introduced me to this author and gave me this as my first book to read.
I instantly felt an even greater love for that bar and the lovely Palahniuk-quoting frequenters who scrawl such beautifully moving selected quotes on bathroom stall walls.
I also feel that it was a good sign of our friendship on my good friend’s birthday. Maybe I’m being a little superfluous here, but maybe I’m just appreciating a good thing when I see it.
All in all, it was a ridiculously fun time and I got to experience this long-awaited Holy Grail of Torontonian Live Music.
Only next time, I have to make sure I come in when there is a live band playing. Let me assure you though, I will be back very soon.