The first weekend of the ban on smoking in bars was surreal, but it ran quite smoothly considering how resistant some smokers are to the change. College Street seemed busier than normal Friday night, so I thought at first that all the non-smokers had come out of the woodwork. Turned out that what looked like lineups were often just half the bar out on the street smoking, and that the packed patios concealed empty interiors.
The change was inevitable - and is a good thing overall - but it's obvious that bars unable to build patios will suffer in the short term. And how long will residents tolerate large groups of people loitering on the sidewalks between drinks?
Stopping by the Mod Club Theatre for the Hang The DJ party, you couldn't help but feel a bit bad for DJs Captain Easychord and Chris Thinn . They were stuck playing to a half-empty room that would've filled up if the smokers had stayed inside. Ditto for Dino & Terry at Alto Basso next door.
After hanging out in smoke-free locales, the smoky private apartment party we attended early Saturday was too much even for us puffers.
Last week's Friday plan didn't initially include stopping by Tangerine for the monthly Layers party, but it ended up being the best party of the evening. There's nothing terribly groundbreaking about the event, and none of the DJs is particularly well known, but they continue to pull in decent crowds.
Musically, it's rooted in house, but you can also hear disco, funk and even tracks that could be called techno. Residents Alvaro G , Kevin "Jazzy" J, Russell Harris and Darren Matsunaga share the decks, each bringing a slightly different dance-floor flavour.
This doesn't appear to be a nicotine crowd. Unlike many of the bars we checked out on the weekend, few people were outside smoking.
Big Primpin at Stones Place was busy last Saturday with an eclectic mix of fags, hags and the hags' straight boyfriends. It's kind of bizarre, but what do you expect of a monthly homo hiphop party at a Rolling Stones tribute bar in Parkdale? The novelty of hearing mainstream jiggy tunes in a context like this has ebbed, but it's still fun. There's something anti-DJ-culture about playing CD-Rs of downloaded hits, especially since none of the DJs really mixes.
It might not be so subversive any more, but it says something about the changing definition of the underground dance party, particularly when many of the faces are familiar from the more DJ-oriented house scene.