The Red Light closes on Dundas West

The popular whiskey bar has been sold to a new owner after an 11-year run

The Red Light is switching off. The 11-year-old Dundas West watering hole is the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the midst of this this unprecedented shutdown, someone has bought TRL from us,” owner Nic Savage wrote in a farewell post.

In an email to NOW, Savage said the closure was “bittersweet for sure.”

“The response has been really heartwarming, and it’s so amazing to know that people loved it as much as we did.”

Along with a sizeable whiskey selection and some heavily tagged bathrooms, the bar was home to a number of parties and DJ nights notably, in 2011, it played host to the first-ever public gig by BadBadNotGood.

Savage also operates City Pool up the road on Dundas, which he hopes will return after the COVID closures end. “For now, we will just have the one bar to worry about during this closure,” he said. “We are getting zero help or leniency from our landlord over there, so things are very stressful at the moment.”

As for future plans, he added, “I’ve always had my heart set on building a distillery – but we’ll have to see what happens when we all get to go back to work.”

Savage says the space’s new owners plan to open another bar there, but doesn’t have further details.

A number of restaurant and bar closures have been announced during the pandemic as businesses struggle to make rent with reduced or eliminated income and difficult-to-access rent relief. Shore Leave, NishDish, Southern Accent, Lambretta, Hideout and Vesuvio all recently shut down, and earlier this week, Grant van Gameren’s Parkdale cocktail bar PrettyUgly was seized due to outstanding rent.

Read the full farewell post below:


Every Toronto restaurant that has closed during COVID-19

With files from Kevin Ritchie


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