THE MATADOR CLUB, A GENUINE TORONTO HONKY TONK, IS ON ITS WAY BACK

MATADOR2      They were going to turn it into a parking lot, but not anymore. The storied Matador Club, 466 Dovercourt Road, is making a comeback in 2015.

MATADOR5<PHOTO – R. Jeanette Martin/NOW magazine>

This after-hours club, known locally as a “booze can”, was a go-to late night destination for musicians of all stripes including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell, Stompin’ Tom Connors and Leonard Cohen.  Catherine O’Hara and Indiana Jones (aka Harrison Ford) paid a visit, as well as garden variety locals who wanted to stay up late, have a few drinks, do some dancin’ and party. There was live music every Friday and Saturday night from 1:30 until 5:30 am.

MATADOR6k.d. lang’s official video for “Turn Me Around” (1987) features the Matador sign and street frontage as well as long shots of the stage and its dusty cowboy boots.

MATADOR1Founded in 1964 by ANN DUNN, the after-hours dance venue was shut down in 2007. Present-day owner PAUL McCAUGHEY will keep the hallmark sign and restore the century-old building into “a high-end, mature and elegant music/event space.”

MATADOR7Leonard Cohen’s 1992 music video “Closing Time” was – in a way – a love song to The Club Matador.

“Closing Time”
Ah we’re drinking and we’re dancing
and the band is really happening
and the Johnny Walker wisdom running high
And my very sweet companion
she’s the Angel of Compassion
she’s rubbing half the world against her thigh
And every drinker every dancer
lifts a happy face to thank her
the fiddler fiddles something so sublime
all the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it’s CLOSING TIME
Yeah the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it’s CLOSING TIME

Ah we’re lonely, we’re romantic
and the cider’s laced with acid
and the Holy Spirit’s crying, “Where’s the beef?”
And the moon is swimming naked
and the summer night is fragrant
with a mighty expectation of relief
So we struggle and we stagger
down the snakes and up the ladder
to the tower where the blessed hours chime
and I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can’t say much has happened since
but CLOSING TIME

<PARTIAL LYRICS “CLOSING TIME” – Writer(s): Leonard Cohen
Copyright: Sony/ATV Songs LLC, Stranger Music Inc.>

MATADOR8

<That old upright piano has seen a lot of use – photo R. Jeanette Martin/NOW magazine>

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One thought on “THE MATADOR CLUB, A GENUINE TORONTO HONKY TONK, IS ON ITS WAY BACK

  1. Great lyrics from Leonard Cohen. Thank you.

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