Shoot for the stars:
Best spots to catch festival A-listers,
Every year at TIFF time, Toronto venues vie to host the hottest stars and the coolest parties. Here, the who’s who or where’s where:
1. Montecito This two-storey restaurant, owned by Ivan Reitman (and also some other people who did not direct Ghostbusters) opened its doors shortly before TIFF 2014. This year, it was the site of many of the fest’s most megawatt bashes including the Vanity Fair party for Freeheld on Sunday (the one where Ellen Page showed up with her girlfriend, Samantha Thomas) and the Hudson’s Bay-sponsored party for Trumbo on Saturday. More importantly though, it’s the place where George Clooney (who produced the TIFF movie Our Brand Is Crisis) hung out for four straight hours, mingling and drink- ing and proving that honest-to-goodness movie stars still exist.
2. Hooters Spotting a celebrity at a restaurant that specializes in curly fries and curvy ladies is funny enough. Spotting Kristen Stewart — paragon of youthful feminism and solemnity — was like finding Gloria Steinem in the Playboy Mansion. The actress and her co-star Nicholas Hoult (as well as director Drake Doremus) ditched the Sunday screening of their TIFF movie Equals to grab a few drinks at Hooters on Adelaide. #busted
3. Soho House The nucleus of TIFF activity has transitioned from flashy new kid to faithful stalwart. On Monday night, the House and Grey Goose vodka hosted the after-party for Spotlight, which meant a chance to hobnob with Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber (as well as the real-life Boston Globe journos they portray in the movie).
Also seen celebrating behind Soho’s members-only doors during the fest: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Susan Sarandon, Eddie Redmayne, Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin.
4. Michael’s On Simcoe How does a Toronto restaurant with minimal profile score the super-VIP, no-press-allowed party for Black Mass (a.k.a. the Johnny Depp movie)? Who knows, but it was certainly an unexpected and impressive coup.
5. The Windsor Arms Hotel The InStyle/Hollywood Foreign Press party is an annual tradition, as well as one of the last remaining vestiges of TIFF’s former life in Yorkville. The great thing about this party is it’s not honouring a specific movie, which means the celebs can let loose a little.
This year’s A-list attendees included Naomi Watts, Eddie Redmayne, Susan Sarandon, Idris Elba, Christian Slater, Dakota Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Rachel Weisz, Elle Fanning, Michael Shannon and Geoffrey Rush. 6. Shangri-La Lobby Bar The best place for random A-list runins this year has been the bar and restaurant inside the Shangri-La lobby. Johnny and Amber had dinner, Clooney and Jake and Dakota had drinks.
7. Byblos The Pearl St. resto-club has hosted a whole whack of celebs, both intimate cast dinners and larger, more boisterous affairs such as the after-parties for The Dressmaker, where Kate Winslet worked the room like a pro, or High-Rise, where Jeremy Irons smoked out the window.
8. Patria The King West hot spot was last year’s restaurant mojo top dog, having hosted the now infamous Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy conga line. This year, things were a little more low-key at the opening night party for Jake Gyllenhaal’s Demolition.
9. Mongrel House This sprawling outdoor/indoor ven- ue (known as Campbell House for the other 51 weeks of the year) is the place where Geoffrey Rush karaoked “Love Shack.” ’Nough said.
10. Holt Renfrew The swanky department store and Variety magazine hosted a VIP dinner to honour Eddie Redmayne’s The Danish Girl. Smart money says Eddie will become the third actor ever to win back-to-back Oscars, following Tom Hanks and Spencer Tracy, which made this intimate meal into a pretty hot ticket.
Actor Eddie Redmayne attended a party during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at the Windsor Arms Hotel on Sept. 12.