Best CD/Record Store (tie): Soundscapes / Rotate This!
Between directing Diamond Rings' videos and photographically documenting his tours, O'Regan's roommate Colin Medley is a record clerk at College Street's Soundscapes. But O'Regan also has a soft spot for Queen West nerd haven Rotate This!
"Don't tell Colin, but I pick up records there sometimes," he whispers.
Best Bar: The Ace
(231A Roncesvalles, 416-792-7729, theacetoronto.com)
O'Regan doesn't venture far out of his Roncesvalles 'hood to find his favourite bar.
"The Ace is my go-to for drinks and food," he says. "It's just really nice. It's small and not pretentious. And they play music I would probably never listen to at my place, which is a must for me. At home, it's pretty much just a techno rave party these days."
Best Mens Clothing Store: Community 54
(1275 Queen West, 416-901-4342, community54.com)
It's hard to classify this Parkdale "lifestyle boutique," but O'Regan likes it for a number of reasons.
"They've got some super-fun vintage arcade games and some really cool snap-back hats."
Best Music Equipment Store: Paul's Boutique
(69½ Nassau, 416-603-9477, paulsboutique.ca)
O'Regan says he originally moved from his hometown of Oshawa to Guelph because that's where his favourite label, Three Gut Records, was based, but was soon disappointed to find most of the roster had moved to Toronto. When he found out the Constantines practised in the basement of Paul's music shop in Kensington Market, he had to get himself in there, too.
"That was a real treat, getting to practise there," he says. "Those early Constantines albums are just the best. Seeing them play shows early on was what made me believe I could be in a band."
Best Local Band: Azari & III
John O'Regan has collaborated with his friends in PS I Love You, Austra and Kids on TV, but his favourite local band this year was dance-friendly four-piece Azari & III.
"I don't know them super-well, but I met them at the Junos, and they're super-cool," he says. "I really like what they're doing."