The Hideout (2.0)
423 College St
(Previously: 484 Queen Street West)
The Hideout closed its Queen West doors a little less than a year ago, but it didn’t take them long to relocate. Sadly, they gave up their well-loved sidestreet patio for the noisy, dusty corner of College and Bathurst — a corner which is eternally clustered with turnaways from neighbouring Sneaky Dee's. It hardly seems a fair trade, but that is the Toronto real estate game these days. And while the new location is aesthetically pleasing, with its edgy murals and velveteen curtains, Hideout 2.0 looks like it needs a good breaking-in. It’s still clean and a touch too classy for its traditional clientele, with the trademark antlers shoved in a corner over the kitchen’s open window.
As far as acoustics go, this venue is supremely disappointing, considering the fact that they have traditionally marketed themselves as a “rock bar”. Instead, it seems the new setup would be better suited to softer styles as the stage's metal backdrop distorts the sound (what little good the tech was able to muster) to the point where all you hear are the drums once the going (should) get good. And in terms of the food, let’s just say it’s typical of a bar that doesn't really do food: the tacos are decent and if you have time to wait, their 50 cent Wing Wednesdays are almost worth it.
The way I spot it, the old location was like that favourite pair of battered up sneaks, dirtied and a little bit broken, but oh-so comfy, while the new location is that pair of pointy-toed heels that match your outfit perfectly, but leave you forcing a pinched smile as you endure personalized hell all night long (shoutout to the sound guy for making my ears bleed while you let your girlfriend "take the [sound]board for a spin"). So, while this new location has potential (courtesy of nostalgic memories of what it used to be), it is definitely still finding its groove. And with its location next to Sneaks, it's not likely to do well until it does.
My Rating: 1 star (because it’s still a solid bar with a billiards room where you can Hideout), with hope for more as it finds its [new] niche.