Henhouse’s swan song

Beloved Dundas West queer hangout quietly closes


Last night, as the last of the Pride 2015 festivities drew to a riotous close across the city, a beloved queer hangout held its own last hurrah.

The Henhouse, a laid-back Dundas West bar frequented by LGBTQ folks and locals of all kinds, rang out its final evening on June 28 with friends, staff and regulars. If you didn’t see it coming, you’re not alone: Staff stayed mostly quiet about the impending closure, with the closing night bash billed only as a “detox of corporate Pride” party. (However, their demise seems to be stemming from the incoming Alto condo development at Dundas and Sheridan – if the condo-shaped pinata at the party was any indication.)

Henhouse was opened in 2009 by Katie Sketch and Jenny Smythe, formerly of Vancouver synth-pop band The Organ. The spot started out life as a restaurant by day, bar by night (their long-departed brunch menu remains sorely missed by the locals). Bartender Valen took over in 2012, and the space became a much-valued hub for LGBTQ-themed events and inclusive dance parties. The diverse crowd and friendly, positive atmosphere made it a rare gem in the city, and its departure leaves a vacuum in the city’s queer scene.

food@nowtoronto.com | @nataliamanzocco

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