577 King West
VIBE Formerly the dark and grungy post-rave basement club Area 51, Volume Lounge is much brighter, cleaner and quieter. It occasionally hosts art shows and a variety of DJ nights, from deep house to hiphop to ambient, though the music is usually more of a backdrop than a focus. A pool table has just been installed. Not as upscale as some of the neighbouring venues, but not a dive either. A good place for groups of friends to drink and chat.
VALUE No cover generally, although there may be one for special events. Drinks go up in price after midnight (before then mixed drinks are $4, domestic beer $5; after midnight $5 and $6). The coat check isn't mandatory.
LINEUP Since there's no cover, if you see a lineup it means the club's at capacity. This happens sometimes for special events, but on regular nights it's not an issue.
WASHROOMS A good size for the amount of people the bar holds, and fairly clean. Not too glamorous but functional. In wet weather, the floor tends to get slippery, so be careful.