Some of My Most Favourite People
Chatting up Striker Sports Bar, and looking at plans for Pride!
I love this little bar with a BIG heart. Great food, great drinks, and great vibe, and the owners are friendly and very community oriented. I have enjoyed attending many events there.
Leading up to Pride I thought I would chat with Vince De Carvahlo one of the two owners (co-owner is Oliver Williams).
Vince, why don’t we start with some history of Striker Sports Bar?
Oliver and I both came from corporate finance backgrounds in the Banking and Business world. For years, we helped and provided financial services to new businesses. It was our turn. This is the first time we’ve owned a business or a bar together. Striker was born from an idea when Oliver and myself were with a friend during the Stanley Cup playoffs. It was Boston Bruins against the Vancouver Canucks. It was game seven. And we were looking for a place to watch the game. We managed to find one gay bar playing the game on one little TV. It was ridiculous. We began to research gay sports bars in Toronto and in North America. We discovered there was a need because even LGBTQ men and women like to watch sports. We started to check locations in Toronto. After three years of planning and searching and after six different offers, Striker – the first LGBTQ+ Sports Bar in Toronto – was born.
What’s been going on at Striker Sports Bar since you opened in September 2016?
The last 3 years have seen a tremendous amount of changes Striker’s. There has been so much growth at the bar and so much growth on a personal level for both of us. We got more involved in the community as our location has proven to be an excellent venue to host parties and special events. We’ve hosted numerous Sports Teams and Gamers Club and work functions. You Can Play, INVICTUS Games, Pride Toronto, OPS Pride Network, Speed Dating nights, Networking Events and so much more we’re hosted here.
How does striker sports bar identify?
First and foremost, Striker Sports Bar is an LGBTQ+ bar. However, we have always had the motto of “All Inclusive, All the time.” For this reason, Striker will be never be known for having nudity, explicit nudity or sexual content. It is a safe space for all. It’s not about sex – it’s about Sports.
Name three things that make Striker Sports Bar standout.
1. Striker Sports Bar is 100% Accessible. This means, there is a fully accessible bathroom and an accessible ramp. There are not very many bars in the village who can make this claim.
2. Striker Sports Bar is a four minute-walk from the Wellesley subway station. Sometimes, it’s nice to venture a little off of Church street and out of the busy village.
3. With 17 TV monitors and excellent sound system, this is ideal for hosting work functions, or social events for community groups.
BONUS: we are the ONLY bar with a FROST RAIL at the bar that keeps drinks super chilled.
Name one of your favorite experiences at Striker.
In November 2016, Striker hosted a VERY memorable event after teaming up with that YOU CAN PLAY (http://youcanplayproject.org/) and Canadian Football League (CFL). The Grey Cup, the prestigious trophy awarded to the victorious team playing in the namesake championship of professional Canadian football, came to Striker. There were dozens of special guests including Mayor John Tory.
I recall seeing the trophy just sitting on the bar and it was the first time the Grey Cup had ever been inside a gay bar. It was very very exciting and very overwhelming.
What are your plans for pride 2019 and the rest of the summer?
During pride weekend Striker plans on a lot of promotion on the street and at the bar. We hope to set up some free games on the street for people to play as they walk by enjoying the festival. This will be a good promotion for getting people into the bar. Each pride weekend, we’re always challenged because we’re not right in the Village so we have to come up with our own exciting ways to get people into the bar. As well on both Friday and Saturday nights, we have planned some great video dance parties: Mixology with DJ Relentless and Pure Retro with VJ RobbE.
Summer at Striker is very exciting, we have several planned activities such as a weekly POSE viewing party along with our monthly Chopped Party. We are working on a bunch of new ideas such a Gay Movie nights, retro Movie nights, Retro TV sitcoms and cartoons and special Brunch viewing events. There is even plans for Karaoke nights and a new Jock Bingo night. All in all, we hope to have a very fun filled summer with some new friends and new faces.
All the best Vince. As I said I think you have a fantastic bar, and I hope many in our community, who might have not been in yet, do discover Striker Sports Bar. Happy Pride.
About the Author
Antoine has on numerous occasions said that everything he does is "a love letter to the LGBTQ community". and he truly loves this community. A 29 years' media and marketing leader, Antoine is the publisher of theBUZZ, The Pink Pages Directory, PinkPlayMags, and a magazine for Durham Region families The Local Biz Magazine, and is the host of talk show "On the Couch". On his off time he is usually involved in community organizations and causes.