Arts + Culture

A (Quiet) Night on the Danforth

I am an introvert. I find it difficult to strike a balance between enjoying extroverted activities while still being true to myself, especially at bars. As a newcomer to the Danforth, I wanted to explore the night scene—on my own terms.

I selected the eight highest-rated bars based on both Google and Yelp located directly on Danforth Avenue. Factors for consideration include: how busy the bar is, staff interaction, lighting, music (genre and volume), wall décor, and the bathrooms.

Based on these criteria, these are my selections for the best bars for introverts:

The Auld Spot

This is a great place to bring friends and take in your surroundings. The busy wall décor and the mixed demographic of the patrons make you feel like you fit right in. The soft lighting enhances the cozy environment. It is quite dim, but by no means an affront to enjoying your company. The music varies, and it isn’t so loud that you have to shout. Our server was also very lovely and accommodating, especially for my sick companion (they offered her a tea!). I found the bathroom tucked away—a nice break from what some might consider a more congested, yet not overwhelming, main area.

The Dylan

This is a fantastic place to spend the night, especially if you’re looking for something of the hole-in-the-wall variety. The service is incredible (our server even gave us a no-fail way to cure the hiccups—suck on a lime soaked in Worcestershire sauce). By the end of the night, I felt like I had made a friend. The Dylan is perfect for any number of people in your party. There is the traditional bar set up in the front of the diner-esque establishment and an open space in the back, giving off patio vibes (which are very welcome on a chilly winter night). We sat in the back at a picnic table and we found it lovely. The washrooms are also located in the back and easy enough to find. When chatting, we didn’t have to compete with the music (which was an assortment of alternative, Motown, and reggae). The décor is very minimal, the main focus being the string lights hanging above. My favourite aspect of The Dylan is the selection of mocktails and how enthusiastic the staff is at making them. Oftentimes if I’m not in the mood to drink, I’ll just order a soda, but now I’ll be ordering one of their delicious mocktails.

The Wren

The Wren is an ideal place to unwind after a long work day. The lighting creates a lovely atmosphere; it was dim but by no means distracting. The music was a great accompaniment with a mix of alternative 80s, as well as more contemporary tracks. The décor is a weird (in the best way possible) mix of cross-stitch art with subtle western hints. (My favourite piece was the wagon wheel chandelier.) Overall the decor is minimal, so each piece stands out while also complimenting the environment as a whole. The bathroom is, again, easy to find (straight through the saloon-style wooden doors) and very clean. The staff adds to the relaxed atmosphere, being attentive to the patrons, but also giving everyone space and having a more comfortable conversational tone.

Morgan’s on the Danforth

Morgan’s is the epitome of striking the perfect balance of being “out” while also feeling “in.” I would consider this the classiest establishment on the list. Everything about Morgan’s feels sleek, without missing the genuine charm of going to a bar to enjoy your company. The décor is very minimal and the booths offer seclusion, but the service is like going to a local pub (where everybody knows your name). Each booth has a dimmer switch, so you can control a part of the atmosphere. I would recommend this place as a great date destination for an introverted couple. One thing to take into consideration is that Morgan’s closes at midnight. For some, this may seem like a bummer, but for us homebodies, this strikes another great balance between enjoying a night out, while not losing the entire evening. Unless of course, you want to try another great place on this list.

Jane Elle is a publishing student at Centennial. When her nose isn't in a book, she's often venturing into vintage or antique stores, oddity shops, and museums. 

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