Watch movies, drink late
Sure, the film fest brings you screenings and press conferences. But if you really want to rub shoulders with celebs, head to the nearest bar, preferably one with extended drinking hours. Where else do you get the chance to pitch a screenplay to a liquored-up producer from L.A. at 3 in the morning? Here are all the hot spots that are extending their hours to 4 am during the festival. Hollywood A-listers like to stay at the Four Seasons (21 Avenue Road, at Yorkville, 416-964-0411) and the nearby Windsor Arms (18 St. Thomas, at Bloor, 416-971-9666), and the lobby lounges at both hotels are always packed into the wee hours with over-refreshed luminaries and their flacks.
Wannabes and never-will-bes flock to Flow (133 Yorkville, at Avenue Road, 416-925-2143) and Lobby (192 Bloor West, at Avenue Road, 416-929-7169) - especially the sci-fi washrooms - to eyeball C-list stars ("Look, it's Howie Mandel!"), while the old Festival Of Festivals gang hold court in Rosewater Supper Club 's (19 Toronto, at Adelaide, 416-214-5888) very private basement dining rooms.
Now that the fest has expanded beyond Yorkville, a number of hipper downtown spots are the hangouts of choice with the new Hollywood crowd. Both Senses in the Metropolitan Hotel (318 Wellington West, at Blue Jays Way, 416-935-0400) and the Brant House (522 King West, at Brant, 416-703-2800) are hoping to grab the action by staying open late. But the hottest after-party ticket in town is definitely the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West, at Beaconsfield, 416-531-5042). Shout this sure-fire entry line at the bouncer behind the velvet rope: "I'm Jeff Stober 's cousin!"
Bistro a no-go
Here's a surprise. Although it will be open regular hours, the fest's unofficial off-site headquarters will not be partying till sunrise this year. Or next, for that matter. " Bistro 990 (990 Bay, at Wellesley, 416-921-9990) had its liquor licence suspended for 10 days earlier this year for a series of liquor act violations that resulted during last year's Toronto film festival," says Ab Campion , spokesperson for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario . "The violations included overcrowding, drunkenness and allowing liquor to be removed from the licensed premises. A condition was also placed on the licence holder that prohibits it from receiving any extention of liquor service hours for the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005 and 2006."