Rockpile Bar & Nightclub Toronto

The Rockpile Nighclub's exterior is the first thing to throw me off. Set at the tail-end of an immense (but mostly empty) parking lot, it looks a bit like a worn dining establishment. Step inside and you'll find an all-ages prison-themed space filled with a haphazard mix of faux barbed wire above the secondary bar, a jokey execution chair, and a mugshot panel. Gamers rejoice: there's a Big Buck Hunter arcade game. A poster of the Big Bop's final show sits pretty, but strangely-placed, at the entrance to the washrooms, which dubs girls birds and men cons. Why Big Bop? Because the Rockpile is the brainchild of former Bop owner, Dominic Tassielli.

Let's start with some gold stars: service is prompt and attentive, especially on slow nights, and the acoustics are good. The drinks are not outlandishly priced by downtown Toronto standards, but Etobicokeans, feel free to pitch in. There's also an ingenious room with a big-screen TV intended for parents who want to relax while their kids go nuts, and earplugs on sale.

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