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.”