Mây Toronto bar is located on the north side of Dundas West between Manning and Claremont. Just as Chinatown cuts off from Bathurst westward, the rejuvenated face of Dundas has been flaunting its new hip-n-trendy swag in what used to be an uneventful corridor of Little Portugal.
“It’s been a whirlwind the past two years,” says Ana co-owner. “We’re quite pleased by the steady success of our revitalized space. It’s been a lot of hard work and perseverance, and we’re so thrilled by how Mây is suddenly becoming a favourite spot for both locals and people (bands!) from everywhere.”
A longtime karaoke, Viet-centric establishment with tinted black windows that practically made it invisible to outside traffic, Mây has finally bloomed from a perpetually enclosed ‘fixer-upper’ bud of a bar into a veritable urban wildflower. In fact, it’s become a popular performance venue among upcoming artists, particularly musicians, exactly as their owners envisioned it two years ago.
“We’re now tagged as a music venue and have hosted NXNE and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. Upcoming artists really dig our space, and we book bands from all music styles, but definitely rock, R&B and jazz tend to get magnetized here,” Ana smiles recounting past gigs.
When I first visited Mây two years ago, it was indeed in pretty rough shape. Now, the open, gallery style space sports a newly designed bar that’s been diligent with expanding a selection of beer and fancy cocktails. A favourite is a draft lager from local Hogtown Brewers, which goes well with any number of very reasonably priced tasty finger foods on the menu (Viet Tapas!)
There is a mini arcade with two machines (one of which is a rare Iron Man pinball machine) at the front east side of the bar. On the west side is a cozy lounge area, which occasionally transforms into a small stage. The modular drinking/eating area occupies most of the middle space, while the back features a billiard table and a curtained area where they plan to dedicate as a video gaming lounge.
“The back part is key, as it’s often the area where musicians, DJ’s etc, set up and perform. But we also also have a space downstairs, which we’ve devoted to alternative music styles like punk rock, industrial, metal etc.”
In fact, Mây kind of reminds me of how the original Sneaky Dee’s used to be when it was just a sliver of a bar on Bloor West across from Honest Ed’s. Now-famous bands and artists first played at Sneaky’s basement before making it big . And that was way back in the 80’s. When I actually used to waiter for Sneaky Dee’s 😉
Here’s to hoping Mây keeps transforming into the next quiet gateway for artists as well as a well loved local hang out for years to come.
Mây—the force is definitely with you.