By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Nightlife Blogger
It was with much disappointment that I have discovered – and therefore must report – that one of my favourite bars in Toronto has permanently closed. It did not survive the pandemic.
So rather than this being a bar obituary, I’ll turn it into a celebration of life. My life at “the Rock.”
For several years, I would spend two weeks in Toronto each July. While there, I would hang primarily in the downtown area, John and Adelaide. Crocodile Rock was just down the street at Adelaide and Dundas. It was usually the place myself and my T.O., friends would go after warming up at some of the other bars.
This was no Elton John song; it was the real deal. Crocodile Rock was not a dance nor a dance club, just come-as-you-are casual bar with rockin’ music, a main bar area at ground level and an upstairs patio.
You would huddle around the bar downstairs acting like a real crocodile, ready to ambush any of those pretty Toronto girls who dared venture into the place. If none were there, you did a “walkabout” the place to try and find one. Sometimes we were successful and sometimes we were not. Just like a croc in the wild, I suppose.
There was always one of those pretty Toronto girls just beyind the entrance standing in front of a big tub filled with ice and ice-cold beers. That sure set the mood of the place. Several more were there, too, courtesy of the Molson Indy – the beer-sponsored IndyCar race at the time – whenever the Team Red promotional team made their annual visit to the bar. Beyond them, many of the regular female barflies were just as appealing and certainly more available.
I distintely remember a friend calling me up on a Wednesday afternoon soon after I arrived in town saying he would see me at the Croc later. “No, no,” I protested. It’s Wedneday night, I have work to do and besides, I’ll need all my strength to power through what I knew would be a sleep-comes-later weekend.
He would have none of it and convinced me that I had to be there because “it’s the most happening bar in Toronto on Wedneday nights!” My FOMO kicked in and I’m glad it did because I had a very happy ending to the evening.
Less successful evenings were still fun, which is the mark of a good bar. My friends and I would laugh, talk to the other fun people in the bar, pound down those Molsons and other great Canadian beers and do it all in a bar that supported that kind of harmless nightlife fun.
So when I go back to T.O., I’ll go back to the location and at some point, in some other bar, hoist a beer in salue to the Crocodile Rock. Good thing some of my other favorite bars, including the Madison, are still there. Thursdays are it’s big night, by the way.