With our very own mayor being the poster boy for going out and having a few too many, it's no secret that Toronto likes to party.
And while the big guy seems to pick any night of the week to let the good times roll, for most people Saturday is the culmination of nightlife in Toronto when local nightclubs host some of the most epic parties in the city.
Clubbing on a Saturday in Toronto doesn't always mean having to wait in line forever just to be let in. There are opportunities to skip the line with guest list or bottle service, and a little planning ahead should help you beat the rush.
But while the Entertainment District is the epicenter of Toronto's club scene, Saturdays offer so many options in other hotbeds of nightlife like Queen West, Yorkville, the Ossington Strip, the village at Church and Wellesley, from live sports to concerts and more.
So whether you want to be a part of the madness or are looking to avoid it, there are some things you should know before hitting the clubs on a Saturday in Toronto. With so many people in the city with the sole intent of partying, it can get hairy out there.
Here are a few pointers – a survival guide, if you will – on having the best experience possible. And if you know anyone visiting the city or new to clubbing in Toronto, go ahead and share this post to help them plan the best Saturday night possible.
Find the Best Routes & Highway Exits
If you’re traveling into Toronto from out of town, expect there to be highway traffic in the early evening.
Tens of thousands of people come to the city every weekend to be entertained in some way, whether it's sports, concerts or any of the Saturday nightclub events in Toronto. That means the main highways leading into the city get rammed with people coming from other parts throughout the evening.
GPS is your friend. Find the best route and and exits from the highway. Funneling into Spadina like fire ants isn't always the best solution.
Once in the downtown core, traffic generally moves pretty slow too which means it’ll take a bit of time to get to your desired neighbourhood, find parking and arrive at your club of choice.
Expect things to take time. If you’re driving into the city, be courteous to fellow drivers, don’t run over any pedestrians and make sure you’re not illegally parked unless finding a ticket on your front window gives you the jollies.
Try to Get There Early
Knowing there will be a bit of traffic and considering public transit will be full of people, plan ahead and try to get an early start to your night.
Being punctual can pay off. Not only are you more likely to get into your club of choice since the most popular spots often hit capacity on Saturday nights in Toronto, you’re also less likely to have to wait in line. Plus there are quite a few nightclubs that offer free cover (sometimes for girls only - sorry fellas) for guests who show up before a certain time.
Book Guest List or Bottle Service
While a typical Friday night in Toronto doesn't tend to be as busy 'til a bit later at night, crowds show up earlier on Saturday evenings. Booking guest list and bottle service reservations in advance can be a better way to ensure entry, especially if you can't get there as early as you'd like. But not only are you more likely to get into the club, you’ll get to jump ahead of the line so there’s no waiting to get in. It comes in especially handy in the cold.
Some nightclubs offer free guest list reservations that can be made by contacting the venue at least a day in advance. Generally you will need to provide your name and the amount of people in your group. After doing that you can get to the club, walk right to the door and mention that your name is on the guest list. Just check beforehand with the venue, though. Different places have different guest list policies.
Bottle service is different from a standard guest reservation. It includes a reserved VIP section for you and your group and usually requires a minimum number of bottles that must be purchased at the venue or a deposit depending on that venue’s policy.
On a weeknight there might be less urgency to book reservations.
On a Saturday when some nightclubs have more tendency to sell out booking ahead can get your foot in the door that much quicker.
For many places, guest list and bottle service reservations can be booked directly through our Toronto nightlife events listing to make things nice n' easy.
Check the Dress Code
A lot of nightclubs in Toronto have dress code policies in place on Saturday night. That means if you roll up to the club dressed like Tyrone Biggums then you’re not getting in.
How strict the dress code is usually depends on the place and event being held. It can range from totally casual where anything goes to strictly formal attire only.
As a general rule, fashion-forward attire is recommended when clubbing on a Saturday in Toronto.
For the guys, a lot of nightclubs won’t allow items like sneakers, ball caps or athletic wear of any kind and clothing like dress shoes, well-fitting jeans or dress pants and collared shirts are a must. For the ladies, you can’t go wrong with stylish evening wear. If you really fancy yourself a nonconformist and won't budge, there are lots of bars in Toronto that might fit your style.
Be sure to check dress code policies before heading out. No one wants to be that underdressed person in the group that can’t get in.
Don’t forget to hit up the bank or reach under your mattress before getting to the club. If you have to pay to get in you’ll need cash – the bouncers don’t take Visa. So bring as much as you think you’re going to spend because if you need to grab more once inside you’ll have to hit up the ATM, possibly wait in line to use it and get hit with a jacked up service fee.
Plan a Safe Ride Home
If you and your group arrived to the club by car, always have a responsible designated driver. Never, ever drink and drive no matter the circumstance.
Public transit can be the ideal way of getting to the club, but it's not always the greatest for getting home.
The TTC runs until 1:30am on Saturdays, which means you'll have to cut your night short if you plan on taking it home.
Last call is at 2am in Toronto and some bars are licensed to extend serving to 4am during events like the Toronto International Film Festival and Nuit Blanche, a citywide art event when the certain TTC routes remain open all night. During the holidays, services vary as well so be sure to check your route before trying to find your way home in not your most aware state of mind.
So why not arrive and get picked up in style? Uber is a fantastic transportation service in Toronto that definitely beats taking the cab. Choose from a selection of luxury sedans and SUV's and get picked up with the push of a button.
Of course, there are lots of cab services in the city and it’s never hard to find one after leaving the club.
While it can get pretty busy out there, a little planning can make all the difference when heading out to any of the Saturday nightclub events in Toronto.
Just know that a Saturday in Toronto is busiest night of the week, so it's always a good idea to plan for bigger crowds when heading out early, book bottle service or guest list reservations, and be a little patient when heading to any of the nightclub events in the city.
There are a lot to choose from: Check out our nightlife listing for nightclub events in Toronto this Saturday.