P patio Lopen till 4 am from Thursday June 26 to Sunday June 29
Babylon 553 Church, at Gloucester, 416-923-2626 Babylon is a three-tiered space with as many personalities. The first floor is a comfortable room serving Mediterranean snacks and dinners. Up a flight is a martini lounge where bartenders mix up over 200 different cocktail concoctions for the swizzle-stick set. DJs take over the third floor room on weekends.
Bar 501 501 Church, at Wellesley, 416-944-3272 The 501's Sunday-evening drag shows literally stop traffic. The action in the club's large front window at 6 pm attracts crowds that spill off the sidewalk and often block the neighbourhood's main drag. Inside is a saloon complete with pinball machines and pool tables. L
The Black Eagle 457 Church, at Maitland, 416-413-1219 Even in the middle of the day this leather bar is dark as fuck. As tough guys gaze blankly at the hard-core porn videos broadcast on several TVs on the first floor, stogie-smoking daddies stand and pose upstairs under camouflage netting. Remember: no girlish laughing. LP
Bosie's 518 Church, at Maitland, 416-921-8142 Upstairs from Wilde Oscar's. Low-key and hardly Victorian.
Byzantium 499 Church, at Wellesley, 416-922-3859 Known for serving some of the best food in the nabe, Byzantium's adjacent cocktail lounge may look like it's still mired in the 90s, but its lengthy martini lineup is timeless. LP
Carrington's Sports Bar 618 Yonge, at St Joseph, 416-944-0559 Well-worn second-storey space overlooks the main drag. LP
Cellblock 72 Carlton, at Church, 416-921-0066 Jail-themed party space in the Zipperz complex.
Crews 508 Church, at Maitland, 416-972-1662 The main attraction of this straightforward barroom, complete with neon beer signs, is the regularly scheduled drag shows. See local drag legends get messy on Sunday afternoons. P
Duke Of Gloucester 649 Yonge, at Charles, 416-961-9704 Dark and smoky, the Duke might look like a prefab pub - leaded glass, mahogany panelling and red-velvet-lined booths - but it has an atmosphere all its own. At one end of this second-storey space hidden away over an Indian restaurant, the Duke's CD jukebox blasts classic pop from Elvis Costello, to the Kinks and ABBA. Footie fans gather every Saturday afternoon for UK matches piped in by satellite. P FIRE ON THE EAST SIDE 6 Gloucester, at Yonge, 416-960-3473 Muscle Marys meet for post-circuit-party low-carb Cajun weekend brunch. L Inspire 491 Church, at Maitland, 416-963-0044 Though this stylishly minimal and candlelit space's menu rarely inspires, its small lounge and bar area makes a great spot for a champagne cocktail or three. Bring a flashlight - you'll need it to find your drink.
Le Petit Liban 580 Church, at Dundonald, 416-963-2222 With one of the biggest curbside patios in the nabe, this Middle Eastern eatery is best when the meals are liquid. LP
The Looking Glass 582 Church, at Dundonald, 416-929-4779 Straight out of the other side of the mirror in Alice Through The Looking Glass, this women's bar features a fancy first-floor dining area and an upstairs stand-up smoking bar with jazz and comedy acts. Don't miss the huge patio out back. LP
Slack Alice 562 Church, at Wellesley, 416-969-8742 Holder of more NOW Readers Poll awards than any other establishment: best bartender, best gay bar and restaurant, best place to drink alone, best place to pick up a lesbian, best cocktail napkin and best pickled egg. P
Manhattan club 19 Balmuto, at Charles, 416-920-9119 Weekend DJs throw down hiphop and R&B tracks for an upscale but laid-back clientele.
Panorama 55 Bloor West, at Bay, 416-967-0000 If you suffer from claustrophobia or acrophobia - or both - Panorama, the penthouse bar on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre, won't be your idea of a place to party. After a two-minute ride in a cramped elevator, you step out into an elegant nightclub in the clouds. Two outdoor terraces, one facing north toward tree-shrouded Rosedale, the other south toward the Pride parade route, are filled with patio furniture. P
Pegasus 489B Church, at Wellesley, 416-927-8832 First-timers and fans of Miss Piggy will want to check out the Shrine of Swine, a display case by the entance that holds a collection of stuffed toy pigs. This second-storey room - accessible by elevator - features five pool tables as well as a number of video and pinball games.
The Red Spot 459 Church, at Maitland, 416-967-7768 A second-floor room with a Latin twist and occasional comedy nights.
Remington's 379 Yonge, at Gerrard, 416-977-2160 Remington's is a seven-days-a-week male strip club in the middle of Yonge Street's decidedly hetero sleaze zone. With almost as many celebrities offstage as on, Remington's and its Men of Steel dancers create an atmosphere that's a lot less uptight than the surrounding straight burlesque clubs. No cover, and day prices till 8 pm. Ladies' night Sunday.
Sailor 467 Church, at Wellesley, 416-972-0887 Part of the Woody's empire, it offers nautical digs for getting hammered with the hammerhead shark over the bar. L
Sneakers 502A Yonge, at Alexander, 416-961-5808 The specialty of the house at this darkly lit emerald-green saloon is chicken, and we aren't talking about Buffalo wings. The main thing that attracts the middle-aged clientele is that supposedly teenaged hustlers from the nearby Breadalbane and Grosvenor track hang out here - despite the sign on the door saying that anyone under 19 will not be admitted. It's all somewhat desperate, tawdry and delicious. Day prices till 8 pm.
The Stables 418 Church, at Granby, 416-977-4702 Downstairs holding pen for the Barn.
Statler's 471 Church, at Maitland, 416-925-0341 More of a College-style lounge than most of the booze 'n' cruise joints found in Boystown, this small, elegant boîte hosts regular sessions with warbling jazz thrushes who broadcast to the street.
Tango 508 Church, at Maitland, 416-972-1662 Part of the Crews complex, this minimally decorated upstairs room is primarily a women's bar. Expect a cozy conversation pit on one side and a small, busy dance floor on the other. P
Trade 76 Wellesley East, at Church, no phone Boystown's newest boîte, this mirror-lined cruise bar was once home to Zelda and her trashy kin. Today, its a sleek, mirrored cruising space complete with bleachers, bubbly light fountains, a pool table and a disco jukebox. P
Trax V 529 Yonge, at Maitland, 416-963-5196 Toronto's top-selling suds-swilling gin mill and one of Toronto's oldest and most popular gay bars, Trax is located behind a signless purple Victorian storefront. It looks its age; floors are rough timber and the exposed brick walls appear about to collapse. Wall-to-wall mirrors guarantee you'll be checked out even if you're not interested. Day prices till 9 pm and bingo every afternoon from 2 to 6 pm. LP
Wett Bar 7 Maitland, at Yonge, 416-966-9388 With no sign and whited-out windows obstructing the view in and out - a good thing considering its just-off-Yonge location - Wett is the nabe's most stylish and smallest lounge. Recline on knockoff Mies van der Rohe day beds under Calderesque mobiles swilling swelegant 'tinis to the latest house hits. P
Wilde Oscar's 518 Church, at Maitland, 416-921-8142 Ah, the love that dare not speak its name! A Victorian brownstone, inside it's all chandeliers, wrought iron and gas fires. Outside, the action's on the semi-tented patio that offers an unobstructed view of the comings and goings at the bathhouse across the street. LP
Wish 3 Charles East, at Yonge, 416-935-0240 Wish's decor has a high wow-factor. Whitewashed walls, ceiling and floors provide a neutral backdrop to low-slung overstuffed sofas piled with pillows and pashminas. How 1998! Trendy fashion mags hang on racks while media types gather at the walnut bar. P
Woody's 467 Church, at Maitland, 416-972-0887 If you watch Queer As Folk, you know what Woody's looks like from the street. Its exterior is the facade of the fictional Pittsburgh bar. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the real thing is nothing like the TV version. Instead, this rambling room has several standup bars, areas for reposing, pool tables and stuffed faux rhinoceros heads. L
Zelda's 542 Church, at Maitland, 416-922-2526 No one goes to campy Zelda's to hide in the corner. Or for the food. Instead, they line up to sip potent potables in a series of madly decorated rooms to a soundtrack of 70s disco. Servers rein in the nonstop party scene in gender-fuck drag on theme nights that include trailer-trash bingo and wet T-shirt contests with a twist. P
Zipperz 72 Carlton, at Church, 416-921-0066 Since the Leafs left the Gardens, things haven't been the same round here. Cocktail-hour piano player, late-night cruising to house DJs. L
Bovine Sex Club 542 Queen West, at Bathurst, 416-504-4239 From the outside, this ultra-hip Queen West boîte looks like the aftermath of an accident in an ironworks. Bits of scrap steel, bicycle wheels and wrought-iron railings have been welded to form a heavy metal facade that protects the equally heavy-drinking clientele from the real world outside. Inside, where it's dark, dank, and down-and-dirty, DJs spin vintage AC/DC, Alice Cooper or whatever's loud and happening.
The Cameron House 408 Queen West, at Spadina, 416-703-0811 For more than 20 years, the queen of Queen West has attracted a sexually ambiguous crowd. Hell, even Prince has partied here! Up front, there's an artsy cocktail lounge with cool tunes. In back, a performance space that once featured a then-unknown Ani DiFranco. P
Ciao Edie 489 College, at Markham, 416-927-7774 Like a pop-art acid flashback, this intimate below-street-level space attracts a Church-meets-College crowd. With its campy kitsch - grotesquely ugly lamps with enormous mosaic-covered bases, repulsive shades and red or green bulbs - the club attracts a mixed crowd who cut it up on shag carpeting or relax on orange vinyl banquettes. The music policy is equally eclectic. Confirmed bachelors are welcome at Edie's long-running Sunday-evening womyn's night, Here Kitty Kitty, as long as they behave themselves. P
Gladstone Art Bar 1214 Queen West, at Dufferin, 416-531-4635 The restoration of this Parkdale landmark - a massive Edwardian hotel-bar complex - seems to be on hold. The art part of the bar may be minimal, but the dumpy 'Stone still hosts its notorious and insanely popular Wednesday-to-Saturday-evening karaoke extravaganzas. Wigs optional.
Mitzi's Sister 1554 Queen West, at Fuller, 416-532-2570 Sibling offshoot of the popular Parkdale brunch spot, this rootin'-tootin' saloon attracts the rougher-around-the-edge types from the local alt-art and music scene.
Oasis 294 College, at Spadina, 416-975-0845 While Oasis will never win any design awards - think shag carpeting, broken-down couches and murals that wouldn't be out of place on the side of a 70s van - the home cooking's honest and down-to-earth. U of T baby dykes dig the bargain-basement booze, too.
Pope Joan 547 Parliament, at Winchester, 416-925-6662 With a clientele that ranges from riot grrls to dykes on bikes - and the occasional odd man - Toronto's most popular bar for women features a varied schedule of DJs, live performance and fun. A low-key two-storey Cabbagetown building, its first floor finds a large dance floor. while upstairs's more intimate space makes for shooting pool and snogging. LP
Queen's Head Pub 263 Gerrard East, at Parliament, 416-929-0940 Downstairs from the Queen Victoria-themed Pimblett's, this cozy C-Town basement boozer complete with comfy settees and a roaring fireplace grooves to jazz crooners like Sinatra and Fitzgerald. Popular with cross-dressers, including its owner, who regularly appears dressed as the old Queen. Bonus: a dozen $6.50-a-shot single malts. P
Savage Garden 550 Queen West, at Bathurst, 416-504-2178 Bloody Mary? The last of Toronto's dark and gloomy Queen West vampire bars - no, really, there were several! - this once-goth tomb has left the Sisters of Mercy behind and discovered the industrial sound of 1986. Got any Ministry?
Sutra 612 College, at Clinton, 416-537-8755 Brasserie Aix? Xacutti? How last summer, darling. The College strip's latest it spot, owned by the groovy Souz Dal dude, features raw oysters for a buck and a half a shuck on its secluded rear terrazzo, while the small deck out front offers a fantastic view of those coming, going and turned away. P
The Toolbox 508 Eastern, at Logan, 416-466-8616 Toronto's oldest leather bar is located in Leslieville, a quiet working-class neighbourhood in the shadow of one of Ontario's leading motorcycle clubhouses. Here, the bikers inside the former Simcoe House are mostly the pretend kind. Lined with licence plates and Drummer magazine pinups, the Toolbox isn't really that different from Queen West's Black Bull. P
Wild Indigo 607 College, at Clinton, 416-536-8797 Wild Indigo has cast off its thrift-store decor for an Asian-inspired high fashion look that makes it one of the most stylish martini lounges on the College strip.
The Barn 418 Church, at Granby, 416-977-4702 Three floors of fun, the Barn - once a leather bar - caters to a young clientele that's into denim and subdued ranch-style raunch. Although most of the time there's no cover charge, just before closing time it kicks in. From then on the place is a frenzy of so-far-unlucky bar-hoppers desperate to connect with anything that moves.
El Convento Rico 750 College, 416-588-7800 A subterranean cha-cha-teria that's as popular with cross-dressers as it is with straights ready to rumba, the Rico is a scene that has to be experienced to be believed. Not at all decadent, it's actually charming in a down-at-the-heels-drag-queen kinda way. Early-evening dance lessons Sunday ensure that neophytes will be able to mambo when the night hits full swing after midnight. Drag shows start at 1 am. L
5ive 5 St. Joseph, at Yonge, 416-964-8685 Mainstream house DJs seven nights a week. Warning: Thursday is straight night. P
Fly 6 Gloucester, at Yonge, 416-925-6222 Circuit Party every Friday and Saturday night, with occasional big-name NYC DJs.
It Nightclub 167 Church, at Queen, 416-214-4355 Multi-level party space really jumps Sunday nights.
La Copa 650 Queen West, at Palmerston 416-703-9187 Latin dance club on hip Queen West.
The Phoenix 410 Sherbourne, at Wellesley, 416-323-1251 When it's not a dance club, the Phoenix is a 1,000-capacity concert venue. An intimate room with good sound and sightlines, it's the perfect place to see up close acts like Kiss, David Bowie and Men Without Hats.
Tallulah's Cabaret 12 Alexander, at Church, 416-975-8555 Alternative types of unspecific gender writhe to the latest hip sounds (aka anything but house).
The Guvernment 132 Queen's Quay East, at Jarvis, 416-869-0045 Huge dance club with many separate bars and lounges for chillin' and swillin'.