C LOUNGE (456 Wellington West, at Spadina, 416-260-9393) Open Thursday 5 pm to 2 am, Friday, Saturday and Monday 10 pm to 2 am. Closed Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The high-profile beach-resort-style patios at the Drake Hotel and Ultra (see listing, page 91) may have been last summer's hottest boîtes, but this season it's C Lounge 's time to make a splash. Though it was launched to much media hoopla last winter with an opening party in honour of Late Night's Conan O'Brien, C, as it's known, has so far managed to fly below most local clubgoers' radar. Regulars would not have it any other way.
Located in a tastefully nondescript building behind the Globe and Mail, of all places, C has the Ocean Drive look down to a T, all low-slung leather couches, twinkling candles and sleek, polished wood. A unisex washroom (sorry, "the brilliantly appointed salon common to both male and female patrons," according to the literature) features a waterfall that got the loo named best bathroom in town by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating. Attendants offer hair and makeup advice, as well.
But it's C's fenced-in backyard courtyard, complete with VIP cabanas, that attracts fabulosi like Prince and Duran Duran, who recline on deeply padded chaises and dangle their celebrated feet in the knee-deep pool that takes up most of the cedar deck. As the breeze wafts in from the lake somewhere in the distance, it's so otherworldly, I'm sure they find it hard to believe they're in Toronto.
If you happen to find yourself on the 17th floor of the Holiday Inn (370 King West, at Peter, 416-599-4000) after June 1, stop by for a complimentary dip in its outdoor rooftop swimming pool and a bite to eat at the barbecue. The food's not free, of course, but six bucks for a grilled portobello mushroom burger oozing Swiss cheese andsided with potato chips sur la plage is a good deal regardless of whether you suit up or not.