What's the vibe:
Somewhere between a food hall, a concert venue and a mega-club, comes Grand Bizarre Supper Club – a 41,000 square foot space in the Exhibition Place grounds which offers Torontonians, in its own words, "an alternative to boring restaurants".
The supper club, which was formerly Muzik nightclub, has been reimagined by general manager, Zlatko Starkovski. It's an impossible-to-pigeonhole arena that's only open on Saturdays with live entertainment and music on tap. The dancefloor in front of the stage and DJ area provides dancers (and guests) room to do their thing.
With a huge domed ceiling and a giant chandelier hanging in the centre of the room, Grand Bizarre is part Las Vegas, part night at the circus. There's plenty to stimulate the senses, with Brazilian-style dancers in full costume who perform around 10 pm and mingle with guests. There's also a bendy acrobat who dangles in impossible positions from the ceiling while guests sip cocktails and lament their lack of flexibility below.
With a curated selection of largely Toronto-based restaurant pop-ups, the ethos here is that food is just as important as the main event. Perhaps its most unique selling point is that Grand Bizarre uses poker chips in place of money, referred to as "Bizarre Chips," to sidestep large group bill-splitting headaches. Chips can be purchased for $3.75 each with various discounts for buying in bulk. While this definitely skews pretty heavily towards a nightclub as opposed to a restaurant experience, the volume is at a level that allows you to chat with friends as you watch the spectacles unfold.
If you're looking for a full-on night out with a large group (and don't scare easily at the prospect of a scantily-clad dancer asking you to pose for a photograph), Grand Bizarre offers a one-of-a-kind evening in the city. Walk-ins are welcome or reserve a table for large groups at one of the four time slots.
What to drink:
The bar is the only place your chips aren't welcome at Grand Bizarre – and given the high price of top ticket items (Ace of Spades Methuselah champagne will set you back almost $17k), we can understand why bartenders demand cold hard cash.
Bottle service is a big part of the scene here, with tableside orders delivered by Grand Bizarre dancers and servers with all the bells and whistles in all-out extravagant fashion (if you embarrass easily, we wouldn't recommend).
If you want to keep it more low key, a small selection of cocktails are available, including the very delicious Grand Express Martini. Beers and a healthy wine by the glass list can also be ordered.
What to eat:
A number of chef stations flank the outer edges of the space, serving set items in exchange for "Bizarre Chips". The vendors are subject to change each month, but when we attended, options included torched jalapeno salmon sushi and sushi pizza from Kimono Japanese Grill Sushi, mini cheeseburgers and truffle fries from Food Dudes, plus chicken al pastor and wagyu beef tacos from their Taco Truck.
The Food Dudes flagship restaurant is also present at Grand Bizarre; grab the now famous chopped salad from the Rasa Salad Bar. Alternatively, carb up on chicken alfredo and Nutella tiramisu at Dal Moro's Pasta.
Sweet tooths can choose from one of six delicious desserts, like white chocolate raspberry cheesecake or red velvet cake, from the Cheesecake Factory. If you need a pick-me-up, there's even a Starbucks stand so you can grab an Americano as you watch the sequined dancers shake it to the mambo.
Dinner and drinks for two; around $100.
15 Saskatchewan Road, (416) 595-9998; grandbizarre.com