Toronto bar that was the last of its kind has permanently closed

Mar 27 2023, 3:47 pm

A beloved place known as a source for up-and-coming DJs, Bassline Music Bar has closed.

Bassline was the last bar in the city that offered open decks, where DJs could sign up and play on club-standard equipment. It offered the freedom to express yourself by playing any kind of music, with no restrictions.

On Sunday, March 19, a notice of lockout appeared on the front door of Bassline. After some discussion with the landlord, “negotiations are not going favourably,” according to owner Craig Kovacs.

The Bloor Street venue first opened in September 2012. Six months prior, Kovacs took a course in sales that taught him to get into the mindset of his customers.

“I realized I hated my f**king customers,” he chuckles. He asked himself, “Well, what do I like? I like listening to music. I like drinks. Why don’t I do this? The concept – I bought a greasy spoon, made it into Bassline.”

Hailed as the longest-running Tuesday night weekly, Tunesday was a Bassline staple for over six years. Wasabi Wednesday, a spicy and savoury night of drum & bass (DnB), recently celebrated five years of being a diverse showcase of local DJs. These were reliable go-tos for anyone who needed a midweek dance break.

Bassline indulged largely in Toronto’s love for DnB with the occasional techno and house night.

When he was younger, Kovacs cut his teeth working at bars and restaurants around Toronto. He’s been big into parties since the ’90s. With Bassline, he created his own space for the drum & bass community.

Bassline served as a playground for seasoned veterans to get extra training and a reliable source of new talent. It also hosted acts that now headline major shows. Kovacs points to Mr. Brown for bringing in “amazing, amazing acts from all over the world.”

He is very thankful for the people he worked with and the DJs that came up through Bassline.

As the dust still settles, hundreds of people have already made comments on posts about the news of the closure. DJs share memories about the significance of the community there and many credit Bassline as their first gig.

While the bar has closed, Kovacs remains involved in new projects in the rave scene. His focus has shifted from DnB to techno and tech house.

He runs the bars and security behind the scenes at many warehouse events. He is also involved with the streetwear line Shifting Realities. “I want people to continue to follow me. If people want to throw a party, I make it run right,” he adds. “I fill in the blanks.”

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