Many of you may know that Montana is usually just a restaurant & bar. But for the first time, it hosted a Toronto Dance Salsa Outing last Sunday. As such, I’m going to rate Montana based on how well it served as a venue for our outing as opposed to how well it ranks as a regular salsa club since this is not usually its function.
In terms of space, this was a perfect venue. There was lots of room for dancing. Sharon’s outings tend to attract over 250 people and its hard to find a place that can accomodate so many patrons. But Montana was able to comfortably fit everyone who attended (~ 250+) with room to spare. I liked the layout too. There were essentially 3 separate rooms upstairs. Perfect for holding 3 separate lessons at the same time without disturbing each other. This was the first time people had the option of attending either: 1) an Introductory lesson for complete beginners with Kimberly and Christianne, 2) a lesson for people in Level 1 with Alfred and Nina, and 3) a lesson for level 2+ dancers with Sharon and Evan!
Montana has its own in-house Latin DJ. She played many of the popular salsa songs. But many of us would agree, her collection of Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue is limited as some of the same songs were played over twice or three times. I can forgive that since this was the first time Montana hosted a salsa outing for us. Hopefully the DJ will know for next time, to prepare a larger variety of songs.
Other than that, I thought everyone had a really good time at the outing. I saw lots of dancing, lots of socializing, lots of smiling faces. It was nice to see students from United Salseros had joined us as well. Generally speaking, there was lots of positive feedback from people who attended the outing. Hopefully they will welcome us back.
See you on the dancefloor!
Montana Restaurant & Bar
145 John St.Toronto, ON M5V 2E4
Dancing: Sunday (Included Lesson 7-8pm)
Coat Check: Free
Fun Factor: 5
Overall: 18 (out of 25)
Salsa. Yorkville. Babaluu. Need I say more? This is an old haunt for many of Toronto’s best salsa dancers. If you’re wondering where your salsa instructors are dancing, its probably here. Tuesday nights is when you’re guaranteed to see them on the dance floor, pulling out all their moves and sipping apple martinis. But don’t be intimidated. There are dancers of all levels here, enjoying the night.
Jennifer and Giovanni give beginner (7:30 pm) and intermediate (8:30 pm) lessons here on Tuesdays ($10/class). If you’re bringing friends who are new to salsa, this is a good place to start. You can even learn a new turn pattern at their intermediate lesson.
As the lessons end and the music begins, you can be sure to see a steady stream of people file into this affluent nightclub. Coat check is mandatory ($2) but admission is free on Tuesdays. There is usually a slew of attractive people here, sharing the dancefloor as DJ Carlos and Juilo Cezar spin out their latin beats. Salsa, merengue, cumbia and vallenato music can be heard until the wee hours of the morning.
Now, a little about the nightclub itself. Babaluu is a restaurant in the day/evening and a salsa club at night. It’s a little underground venue with a central bar and small to medium sized dining room. At night, the dinner tables are removed and the space is turned into a dance floor.
Tuesdays are their busiest salsa nights so it can get pretty crowded and hot on these nights, especially in the summer. The crowd is mature, yet trendy. Average age is mid twenties to mid thirties. The dress code is pretty strict. But most people venturing to Yorkville are well dressed anyway (ie. dress pants and button-down shirts, dressy jeans, skirts, and nice tops).
The dancers are friendly and aren’t shy about asking girls to dance. And girls, for the most part, accept. A tip for girls: If you feel like dancing a lot (but are kind of old-fashioned like me and don’t like being the one to ask guys to dance), dress up, smile and look gorgeous on the dance floor. You’ll be sure to have partners the whole night.
See you on the dance floor!
36 Yorkville Avenue, Lower Level, Toronto, ON
Tuesdays and Wednesdays (Free, excludes lesson)
Thursdays and Sundays ($9)
Fridays and Saturdays ($14)
Tuesday (Beginner Lessons at 7:30 pm and Intermediate Lessons at 8:30 pm) ($10/class)
Wednesday – Sunday (except Saturday, Complimentary Beginner Lessons at 9 pm)
Coat Check: $2 (Mandatory)
Fun Factor: 5
Overall: 23 (out of 25)