Piano Bar at
14 Madison Ave.
Ambience: Although it’s located inside The Madison, one of Toronto’s most popular multi-purpose pubs, the Piano Bar takes on a different vibe than the rest of this debaucherous complex over the weekend: picture being packed into a relatively tiny space with far too many of your closest friends, singing everything from the Beatles’ Hello Goodbye to the theme from Cheers at the top of your lungs. That is the Piano Bar in a nutshell and it’s a blast — especially after the third pint.
Crowd: The clientele is decidedly younger, but the Maddy’s policy on allowing only those 21 and over into the establishment after 9 p.m. helps boost the age average slightly. It’s still predominantly a university hang-out, but the Piano Bar skews slightly older than the mainly beer-and-wings crowd who lounge in the floors upstairs.
Dress code: Very casual. Jeans are the norm and a handful will try to impress, but they’re in the vast minority. As always, sports gear and torn clothing only invite undue scrutiny from bouncers. Avoid them at all costs.
Should I dance on the bar: While I didn’t see anyone hop onto the piano or the bar, it’s likely happened before.
Will I get lucky? If you’re under 25 the whole crowd is in play, otherwise forget it, sit back and enjoy the eye candy.
Best accessory: A basic knowledge of the lyrics to the most popular songs from the past 25 years.
Cocktail du jour: Piano bars usually invite those with more selective beverage tastes, but this one is located inside The Madison so pints are always a top pick. Mixed drinks and even the odd cocktail, however, are known to circulate throughout the room. There’s something about live piano music that brings out the sophisticate in all of us.
Hours: Thursday to Saturday, from 10 p.m.