In a city where the mayor sets the bar for how hard we should party, Toronto’s nightlife scene can go a little overboard on weekends.
The jolly fat man is no stranger to the club scene here, and it all starts on Friday when Toronto nightclubs, bars and lounges attract people who flood the city with the sole intent of going completely ape shit.
The bulk of the public drunkenness, random hookups and indecent exposure is centered in Toronto’s Entertainment District where partygoers line up in front of the city’s biggest mega-clubs then spill out of them after last call to stuff their faces with shawarma.
But you’ll find lots of other places to party throughout the city if you’re looking to avoid the madness of a typical weekend here.
Yes, it can get hectic out there on a Friday in Toronto. But you know what? Saturday is usually even busier when it comes to the hordes of people who come to party.
There are some benefits of partying on a Friday as opposed to a Saturday – and some things to know before losing your Toronto nightclub virginity.
Here’s a guide to Friday nightclub events in Toronto so you can plan for a safer, smoother and stress-free evening. And if you’re trying to convince someone to join you on your night of debauchery, share this post to let them know why they should get out and experience clubbing on a Friday in Toronto.
Plan for Traffic
Whether you’re driving into the city from the highway or taking public transit, commuting in Toronto is generally pretty shitty. So even though your typical Friday won't be as slammed as Saturday, you can still expect it to get busy out there.
If you’re coming to Toronto from out of town, expect there to be highway traffic and a pretty slow pace while driving around the downtown core. Just be patient, courteous and show a bit of class while driving in Toronto even if our mayor doesn’t.
No one likes traffic, but unfortunately it’s just something you’re going to have to deal with if you’re coming to the city without access to the TTC. And I shouldn't have to say this but if you are planning on taking the car, never drink and drive. This isn't the '70s.
That being said, public transit is option number one for getting to your destination, especially if you live in the city or are staying at a hotel in Toronto. It's the getting home part that tends to suck.
The TTC runs until 1:30am on Fridays, not always making public transit the best choice if you plan on being out late.
If you’re out past 1:30am and looking for a safe route home, you could cab it or arrive in style. Make sure you have a bit of cash left after the bar for that. If not, a lot of cabs accept debit or credit, while not without the cabbie kissing his teeth in sheer hatred for you doing so. Why cabs take plastic then get pissed when you use it is also beyond me.
Expect Later Starts
In Toronto, Friday nightclub events usually don’t really get busy until a bit later in the evening as opposed to a typical Saturday night in the city. After midnight tends to be the time when a lot of venues just start to fill up since a lot of people have work or school on Friday and it takes a bit more time to get home, get ready and go out at night.
What this means is since you may have to deal with things like traffic and crammed subways, you can breathe a bit easier knowing you’ll still get into a club even if it is taking you a bit of extra time. This is generally speaking, of course. If a certain venue is hosting a special guest DJ or celebrity appearance, expect it to get busy even if it is a bit earlier in the night.
But if you do plan ahead and get there early, there are some benefits for showing up before the crowds arrive.
In order to draw crowds earlier on Fridays, some clubs offer incentives like drink specials and free cover before a certain time.
It can pay to be punctual.
Check the Dress Code
A lot of clubs do enforce dress code policies on weekends as opposed to being a bit more casual on weeknights or Sunday industry parties in Toronto. You never want to be that one person in the group who can’t get in because you look like ass, and you never want to have to leave anyone out because he or she can’t get in.
Things like dress shoes, dress pants and collared or buttoned shirts might be required upon entry while hats, running shoes and more casual attire are banned. Dress code rules vary depending on the venue.
As a general rule, semiformal attire is recommended if you're going clubbing on a Friday night in Toronto, especially if you want to hit up more than one club.
Which brings us to our next point…
Do Some Club-Hopping
Since a lot of places don’t start filling up until later at night and a lot of Friday events don’t have a cover charge, there’s better opportunity to experience multiple venues in one night. If you begin your evening early enough, you can bounce from place-to-place without running the risk of waiting in line, not being able to get in or having to pay more than one cover charge.
While the Toronto club scene has its reputation for being slammed with visitors and 905ers, Fridays tend to be a tad less notorious than Saturdays.
When it comes to having slightly less people partying downtown, things like less traffic and less urgency to arrive are a few of the benefits, as well as incentives offered by clubs including drink specials and free cover.
If you want to experience the best of what the city's club scene has to offer and kick off your Friday right, check out some of the hottest Toronto nightlife events happening this weekend.
Not sure which clubs to choose? Browse our Toronto nightlife photos to take a look inside some of the most popular nightclubs in the city.