This LGBT-friendly boutique hotel in the heart of West Queen West is part of the expanding Drake experience, which includes other properties committed to the same arts-focused mission. The Drake is very invested in the community in which it is situated, and is actively involved in supporting Second Harvest and The Parkdale Food Bank to name a few. The Drake also has fundraising and programming partnerships with other cultural organizations, such as Canadian Music Week, Canadian Opera Company and TIFF and has Green Partners such as Earth Day, Earth Hour/WWF and Young Urban Farmers as part of their environmental program.

Pride at The Drake is in full-swing. The Drake is on the map for hosting many lively Slam Events at The Underground, which is constantly active with bands, shows or movie screening every night of the week. Basically The Drake rocks until 2 am except the cafe which closes very early, and the whole place is stocked with loads of quality alcoholic bevvies. It’s not really my thing but there is actually something called Drake Art House Blonde Ale, and amongst the wine choices, Canada is well-represented, including of course the Starving Artist from Niagara-on the lake, at $48 a bottle, the least expensive bottle on the extensive menu. The Drake’s food is made with local ingredients and entirely from scratch. Brunch Coconut Chia Bowl is $8, and an Ontario trout for dinner is $32.

The Drake SkyYard is a beautiful not to be missed rooftop patio with a lot of good reviews where you can take your date, and their sidewalk cafe is a neighbourhood hangout equipped with WiFi.  Also, you can also actually rent a room there! I didn’t see any rooms at less than $269.00, which is still a sexy number. They are certainly cute rooms with homey touches and handmade dolls. Drake rooms are booked up for months in advance so phone ahead!

“Artists in Residence” is a feature at The Drake as are a constantly changing series of exhibitions. The Drake is a “creative incubator” and very proud of their relationship to the arts with a permanent collection, and a newsletter that you can sign up to hear about the newest show.

There is a Drake General store which sells local merchandise by Toronto designers and companies. The Drake provides a space for mind-boggling art collection tours and there are often events at including pop-up charity events such as cook-offs, dance parties and sidewalk sales and rotating acts playing their own vinyl collections, as well as local DJ’s scratching, so you can feel the Queen West vibe.

Also it’s a hot LGBT wedding venue, and there’s a lot of events such as the recent life drawing classes in the Underground to raise money for the LGBT youth line. Basically give The Drake a cool idea and they will try to help you. There is a lot of food going through four dining areas in this place not to mention the room service menu and they pride themselves on very fancy foodie fare. Call to reserve, food discount for people also going to The Underground.

Go to The Drake for Pride energy and drop back any time of the year. If you’re only going to hit up one party here this year for Pride, make it A Club Called Wanda on June 21, 2018, their annual event that turns the whole venue into one large pansexual playground. The Drake is definitely part of the heartbeat of Queer West!

The Drake has no elevator but the corner cafe patio, restrooms and half of the main dining room are completely accessible and they are hospitality-minded in terms of accommodating people.

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 @