At approximately 4 a.m. last Nuit Blanche, some friends and I filed into the brightly lit New Ho King on Spadina for heaping plates of General Tso chicken and hunan tofu. Similarly wired Nuit Blanchers squeezed past our chairs and guffawed loudly from neighbouring tables. The mood was celebratory and a little overwhelming, and by the time we left an hour later, stomachs full, there was still a lineup.
One mark of a great city is that its citizens can purchase a decent meal whenever they want, or a roll of aluminum foil whenever they happen to need it. Or play a game of five-pin whenever they’re feeling spontaneous (Rexdale Bowlerama is open till 4 a.m.). By this standard, Toronto is now officially a 24-hour city, accommodating all sleep schedules with a booming all-night culture.
It used to be that the only options were a handful of diners—The Lakeview, Fran’s and Vesta Lunch—or a quick taquito from one of our 19 7-Elevens. They’re now joined by restaurants you might actually visit during normal-person hours. The King West party crowd can rely on the Thompson Hotel for break-of-dawn burgers and Reggie’s Old Fashioned Sandwiches for the old-fashioned sandwiches one needs before staggering home to pass out beside the toilet. The County General, which took over Oddfellows’ old space last fall, is open until 3 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday, which is great for when you can’t sleep but don’t want to feel like the whole world is dead. Whenever I walk by, the sidewalk outside is clogged with belligerent men, and women in fearfully high heels. Sometimes I join them; more often than not I hike up to New Ho for the greasy, delicious carbs I know and love. It’s great to have options, even when you’re a creature of habit.
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