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Friday, March 27, 2015

Ladies + Escorts: A long history at the Linsmore

The Linsmore Hotel Danforth circa 1940.
The Linsmore Hotel circa 1940. Courtesy of Ryan Mangano. 
Pioneer had the chance to have a tete-a-tete over a cold drink with Ryan M., heir to the throne of the Linsmore dynasty and current music coordinator for the grand dame of Greenwood. The conversation started out with music but turned into a scintillating history lesson about the bar scene in the early 1980s. 

The Hustler, 1961. Photo courtesy of StaticMass,net. 
Picture the scene: Four drinking establishments held court at the four quadrants of the Danforth - Eton House at Donlands, Linsmore House at Greenwood, The Crossroads at Coxwell and the Wembley (now Wise Guys) at Keystone. Although there's not much to show for it now, the Linsmore prior to the 1980's was a real roadhouse straight from a scene in The Hustler. Dark, loud and smoky. A real man's bar. Waiters in white shirt tails bounced troublemakers out the door while local sports teams played darts and pool. Ladies and escorts stayed in a room at the back and the stained glass windows allowed gentlemen to be discrete with their drinks, away from the prying eyes of wives. Over time, as liquor laws loosened up in the early 80's and the restaurant industry expanded, clientele slowly drifted away and the working class neighbourhood began to gentrify.

Lucky for all of us in the east, the current owners of the Linsmore have been working hard to bring it back as a live music venue and have been mildly successful, investing the revenue back into the building. A new facade and a new bar have been installed among other upgrades. Pioneer had to ask: what's a guy to do with a corner lot with prime real-estate? To our delight, there's a long term plan to install a patio perfect for people watching.

Will they have craft beer? Nope - says Ryan. A man's gotta be able to get a Labbat50 somewhere, after all. 

And about the $1.50 draught? It's true, you can still get a $1.50 6 oz. draught on any given afternoon, but only by special request. 

This weekend is the last weekend of 70's month, with a Pink Floyd and a Zeppelin tribute band playing Friday & Saturday night. Last weekend was sold out so check out their website for more info & get tickets here: www.linsmoretavern.com

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