Where the A-listers hang out


For 10 days, some of the world’s big­gest stars prac­tise the three D’s: din­ing, drink­ing and danc­ing, of­ten at con­cealed venues. We’re not say­ing you can get into a TIFF party, but we can tell you where the glitzy bashes are guar­an­teed to go on.

Every­body loves a TIFF party, es­pe­cially if it in­volves the chance of ca­su­ally bump­ing into Kris­ten Ste­wart at the buf­fet or do­ing the shing-a-ling next to Johnny Depp on the dance floor. Prob­lem is, none of us is ever in­vited. But TIFF schmoozes aren’t that hard to find. Just look for a gag­gle of fat guys car­ry­ing cam­eras with overly long tele­photo lenses stand­ing in front of a restau­rant or a night­club and it’s guar­an­teed there’s more than one per­son inside who’s re­cently been on the cover of the Na­tional En­quirer.

The spec­tac­u­lar rooftop lounge and ter­race on the 16th floor of the chi-chi Thomp­son (550 Wellington West, at Bathurst, 416- 640-7778, thomp­son­ho­tels.com) is dif­fi­cult enough to en­ter at the best of times (it’s only for guests and res­i­dents of the condo-ho­tel), and never more so than dur­ing the 10 days of TIFF. If you do man­age to weasel your way in – he­li­copter, per­haps? – re­mem­ber to dress the part, as there’s a strict dress code: no flip-flops, no bach­e­lorette sashes and no wife-beat­ers. That in­cludes you, Bruce Wil­lis.

Over on the west side, the Drake (1150 Queen West, at Bea­cons­field, 416-531-5042, the­drake­ho­tel.ca) doesn’t do the red car­pet. It does a black one in­stead. And while your odds of gain­ing en­trance to its pri­vate Room 222 din­ing most nights are as good as scor­ing a walk-in at the Sky Yard, you won’t have any prob­lem at the lounge, where cock­tails named for Den­nis Hop­per (Amer­i­can rye whiskey, co­gnac, Punt e Mes ver­mouth, Cherry Heer­ing and bit­ters) and Brigitte Bar­dot (Hen­nessy Black co­gnac, Dram­buie, Green Char­treuse, le­mon juice and grated ginger) go for 14 bucks.

Since it’s lo­cated in the same condo tower that’s home to Hog­town’s flick fest, Luma (350 King West, at John, 647-288-4715, oliv­er­bonacini.com) is sure to be packed with wall-to-wall Alis­ters. You’ll prob­a­bly find them out on the sec­ond-floor deck grab­bing a quick smoke.

A 905 meat mar­ket most week­ends, club king Charles Khabouth’s tiki-tas­tic Spice Route (499 King West, at Brant, 416-849-1808, spicer­oute.ca) looks straight out of a Dorothy Lamour movie, com­plete with koi pond and palm trees. Best place to meet ’n’ greet: the uni­sex bath­rooms.

The klieg lights out front point the way to C5 (100 Queen’s Park, at Bloor, 416-586-7928, rom. on.ca), the swanky boîte on top of the ROM’s crys­tal, where it’s non-stop cock­tail par­ties and pri­vate din­ners.

Stalk­ing ob­scure Ice­landic doc­u­men­tar­i­ans? Find them in their el­e­ment knock­ing back pints on the rooftop of the de­cid­edly unglam­orous Pi­lot (22 Cum­ber­land, at Yonge, 416-923-5716, thep­i­lot.ca). Want to get even punkier? Head to Park­dale’s Parts & Labour (1566 Queen West, at Fuller, 416-588-7750, part­sand­labour.ca), where chef Matty Mathe­son prom­ises a “shit­load” of TIFF shindigs. That you won’t be able to get in un­less you’re on the list goes with­out say­ing.

Don’t bother show­ing up at the front door of the su­per-ex­clu­sive Fifth (225 Rich­mond West, at Dun­can, 416-979-3005, the­fifth­grill.com), be­cause the en­trance is in the al­ley­way round the back. Once past the bounc­ers (pass­word: sword­fish) and up a rick­ety freight el­e­va­tor, find the loveli­est rooftop resto this side of the south of France. Or so Google maps tells me.

Show up early – 7 am, say – if you ex­pect to get a seat on TV chef Mark McEwan’s pa­tio at One (116 Yorkville, at Hazel­ton, 416-961-9600, one­hazel­ton.com) in the Hazel­ton. A favourite of ev­ery­one from Brit­ney to Whit­ney, the ho­tel hot spot rocks nightly till dawn.

Named for the character Roger Moore played on The Saint, the ex­cep­tion­ally low-key Tem­plar (348 Ade­laide West, at Peter, 647-933-5546, de­sign­ho­tels.com/tem­plar_ho­tel) is so off-ther­adar that most cab driv­ers can’t find it, let alone the pa­parazzi. Not that you’ll share face time with any­one re­motely fa­mous at its Del Ter­re­longedesigned Monk Bar just off the lobby. “We would never of­fer any in­for­ma­tion about celebrity sight­ings,” says the bou­tique ho­tel’s gen­eral man­ager, An­drew van Buskirk. “Hav­ing said that, what­ever ru­mours you’ve heard are most likely true.”


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