This past Sunday I decided to step out of my typical routine and try something a little different.
For some that may mean spending a Sunday biking by the lake or maybe even getting out of town. For me it was checking out an increasingly popular Toronto entertainment destination.
Cabana Pool Bar, located a little out of the way from the downtown core at Polson Pier, was definitely not my standard outing choice (read: I don’t wear bikinis and stilettos, have a glowing tan, or take anything about the club scene seriously even remotely seriously). Despite that, I managed to really enjoy myself- maybe because the daytime poolside feel diminished the pressure to conform to the crowd?
So even if you are like me and don’t fit the typical Cabana go-ers mould, follow these recommendations and you will probably have a good time. And hey, why not try something new next Sunday? Or at the very least I will save you the time, money, and frustration if this makes you realize this place is really not for you. Either way, you know I am here to help.
- Ignore the pictures on the website. It makes the place look like a Maxim Model Convention, and it is not entirely accurate. Sure their are some pretty fit, good looking people there. And daylight doesn’t always help if you are trying to stay low key, but all in all everyone is friendly and there to have a good time. Shitty people are everywhere, and hopefully most of us overcame their impact in high school.
Keep good company. If you love chilling out in the sun, lounging by a poolside, but aren’t crazy about clubbing, you can still have a great time if you come with likeminded friends that you are comfortable with. Strength in numbers, right?
- Get on a guestlist. Not entirely sure how my friend got us on the list, but it did save us the $20 initial entry fee, so that was a major bonus.
- Bring cash, lots of cash. Even if you managed to get on a guestlist, you will still have to dish out another $20 for pool entry (and it’s an entirely separate area so unless you want to be secluded from all the fun, you are going to half to pay). Add $20 for towel rental ($15 back upon return), and cash for the bar. This place is not cheap. If you forget cash you can always pay the $3+ service fee at the ATM, or start a tab.
- Forget the towel, but not the ID. It appeared as though everyone was getting carded indiscriminately, and if you brought your towel you weren’t taking it far. No towels allowed, so rent or be wet (guess which one I picked?). You can pick up your towel up on exit. Don’t worry, it made lots of friends while you were gone.
- Pre-eat and Pre-drink. The food was not bad, but it wasn’t particularly cheap either ($20 with tax and tip for a wrap with a salad). Some how the no bacon in my wrap request didn’t quite make it through the logical deduction of no bacon on my salad as well. In future, I would have a drink or too before coming, not to get particularly wasted, but just to not have to depend on $10 dollar drinks to help cure last night’s hangover. Hair of the dog, my friends, hair of the dog.
- Avoid the Cabanas. After chatting with some regulars (yes, there are regulars) we found out that getting a cabana, the bottles, and food that come with it can easily run you a tab of $4000 for the night. Do I really need to say more?!? Do you know what $4000 can buy you?!? Okay, I won’t judge too much, to each his or her own. Just a thought to leave you with- that’s amount of money you need to buy a flight around the world. Yes, around.the.world.
- Come early- get a lounge chair. And I mean really early. By the time we got there at around 2pm all the lounge chairs had been taken. We found some space on the ground by the pool and managed just fine, but it definitely would have been nice to have some chair time.
- Appreciate the view. You get a wonderful view of the city from here. Great photo opportunity.
- It’s okay to leave early, it’s okay to stay late. After about 3 hours, we decided to call it a day. When we had arrived the area outside the pool was empty, but when we were leaving it was very, very packed. It had transformed into an outdoor day club. We had come for the pool vibe, and were not really keen on making this Monday morning’s regret, so we decided to leave early. I could also see how you could really make an entire day and night out of that place. It is a fun transition from day drinking by the pool to dancing in the stars. But again, be prepared to dish out a penny or two on drinks.
All in all, a pretty cool place, and a creative addition to Toronto’s often dull club scene.
Would I go again? Probably, but not this year. Too many other things to do in the city, that I cannot see the value in making myself a regular this year.
Would I recommend this place? Yes. I would be sure to keep the above recommendations in mind. I can respect that this is a place that many people absolutely love. I can also appreciate it’s uniqueness as a venue in this city. While at the same time, I understand that something like this is just not for everyone. But if you find yourself with nothing to do on a hot summer day, with some spare cash and some good friends, why not check out something different?