Published Dec 01, 2017Odario Williams is the host of nightly CBC Radio 2 show Afterdark as well as the frontman of Toronto live hip-hop collective Grand Analog. The band's new EP, Survival, comes out in January 2018. He gave us a tour of his favourite Toronto spots. Location photos by Atsuko Kobasigawa.
I Deal Coffee (84 Nassau St.)
Given their proliferation, picking a favourite coffee spot is difficult, but this I Deal Coffee location is one of the most inviting spaces in the city. On weekends, local MC and vinyl aficionado Birdapres transforms a quarter of the store into a record shop. He even has a portable turntable on deck, so you can listen to records first. Birdapres only slings the best collectables, and I Deal's coffee is tasty too.
Island Foods (1182 King St. W.)
Toronto has its fair share of tasty roti spots (shoutout to Pam's Roti), but Island Foods is worth the long lineups. On the border of the eclectic Parkdale neighbourhood, you'll be quickly charmed by the old-school decor and Trinidadian twin sisters who run the joint. Order the shrimp roti and thank me later.
Model Citizen Toronto (279 Augusta Ave.)
What started out as a simple men's boutique store in Kensington Market now plays out like a fashion museum/community hub for all types of characters, thanks to owner and local musician Julian Fuego. I usually leave with an item that is nothing less than interesting; the ties and accessories are one of a kind.
Poetry Jazz Café (224 Augusta Ave.)
In the heart of Kensington Market, this jazz bar is the coolest and coziest joint in the hood. There's always something musically special happening every time I step through the doors. The location is unassuming yet hard to miss, due to the massive painting of Miles Davis on the front entrance.
Comedy Bar (945 Bloor St. W.)
The "What took you so long?" of Toronto venues, this has been a perfect addition since 2008. Given that the city (and country) are at an all-time high of comedic talent, you're guaranteed a much-needed gut laugh. They're also open late, when you'll often find comedians at their delirious best, either on stage or just at the bar.