The Imperial Pub, a downtown watering hole that still plays jazz 45’s

Thousands pass its red neon sign every day.  The Imperial Pub – 54 Dundas Street East – is one of TORONTO’s old watering holes, around the corner from Yonge-Dundas Square, and conveniently close to Ryerson U.

In the 1920’s Glover’s Cafeteria opened the building, with medical and dental offices upstairs.  A decade later, the offices were converted into nine hotel rooms in order to get a liquor licence.  York Region’s Police Chief and other investors renamed the cafeteria the Imperial Hotel <photo opposite, 1945>, and got down to the lucrative business of selling beer.

In the 1950’s, jukeboxes were installed.  To this day, the Pub plays jazz 45’s from the owner’s extensive collection.  Aquariums were installed on the first floor, the pub was extended to the second floor, and there’s now a rooftop patio.  In the 1970’s, the dividing wall between the men’s and women’s rooms were removed after changes to our conservative liquor laws.

TORONTO Life on the Imperial Pub: “Around the first-floor Aquarium bar, the clientele consists of tourists and regulars who seem to have been sitting there for centuries; stairs lead up to the Library Lounge, where students and motley intellectuals gather at ancient wooden tables. In summertime, the rooftop patio is charming.”

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