The Old Nick Pub has a lot of vertical windows in the front which are perfect for hanging the sideways Pride Flag. This is just the start of the Danforth open mic strip, and with a 12-year history of open mic nights, the energy here is special.

After having my mind blown away at a few Monday nights, I decided to sit down with Manager Kristine Lukanchoff  to get some insider information about The Old Nick for this blog. It has always been a bar, and used to be a Toby’s, but she has worked there over a decade and it was The Old Nick when she started. She worked hard there and then bought it in 2006, and the place has been truly hopping ever since. When she first took over, the magical silver Victoria settee arrived from a nearby nightclub that was tossing things out. A friend of hers tipped her off about it being headed for the curb and they saved it, but only managed to get it to where it nobly rests today by sawing off one of the topmost ornations, so that it now sits elegantly looking a bit like a rock and roll one-eared cat.

The pub has at least ten comfy bar chairs and eight double tables, as well as a beautiful summer patio in the back. There’s a very decent selection of beer and the bartender mixes excellently. They also have a sports TV set up above the bar so you can come in here, buy a whisky sour, and watch the games without the massive macho thing taking over your senses. The people who work here are very tough-looking, but they are also incredibly sweet. I get the feeling that if you fell off your chair here late one night they would call your mother for you on your cell phone rather than call the cops. Don’t try it, however, I wouldn’t test them.

Supercharged Blues/Country/Folk Rocker Elana Harte oversees Mondays, while Tuesdays have rotating hosts Kyle Duffin and Jay Pinnell. On Saturday Kristine brings in talent, and with 11 years of experience at Old Nick Pub, she is brilliant at finding really amazing artists from all corners.

Upcoming shows include Jennifer Brewster and Fathead Hazel on November 26, both amazing songwriters. Jennifer is the past vocalist from Stiletto Flats, and it promises to be an amazing show. December 3 is a kickass funk band Kilowatt, certain to crowd the pub, and M Factor is celebrating their six year anniversary December 5. M Factor of course is the name of the Monday night music series, locally considered “the best musical way to start your week.”

Also upcoming, Sara Hiltz who sang on Ted Talk is on Saturday Dec. 10, and Brian Sasaski and the Scuffed Souls on Dec. 17, who is versatile in Country, Rockabilly, Blues and Jazz. So remember, don’t jump up with your kazoo and your fave Aunt Sue unless you really are a seasoned open mic’er, because the talent bar is truly quite high here.

The incredible record collection on the walls of the place (I counted at least twenty) are from John Martin ,who started Much Music, and left it to the pub as part of his legacy. It includes Madonna’s signed world music award, which she never picked up is welcome to come and get it, as well as Martin’s collection of gold albums, and other framed poster history featuring Carole Pope, Lorraine Segato, and Madison Violet at the front, and of course the young David Bowie above the Victorian Settee. Speaking of Bowie,  mark your calendar for  “A Very Bowie New Year” on December 31st, with no cover, and a very fun option as a place to ring in 2017. 

The kitchen at Old Nick Pub offers high-quality food with vegetarian options, overly-generously sized orders of fries, and a famous brunch menu that includes Eggs Benny, Rancheros, and something called Good Times, which is three eggs scrambled with pesto and asiago cheese served with 7-grain toast and home fries.

Have a blast any night of the week and be sure to come back to ring in the new year here, as it’s sure to be an unforgettable rockin good time.

Check out all the upcoming event listings here.

The Old Nick – 123 Danforth Ave, Toronto – (416) 461-5546

About the Author

SK Dyment has been a cartoonist and illustrator for many years and has been published in over two dozen Canadian indy magazines and journals. SK loves sketching passing interpretations of intriguing people in pen-and-ink, and is often seen attending various activist-oriented events around Toronto. He is also available for quick illustrations of all sorts as well as more serious forms of illustration. SK Dyment maintains a website @