The Rivoli has been providing amazing experiences for its guests since 1982. The management and staff are committed to making the venue a place of inclusivity and culture in downtown Toronto.
The venue has three unique offerings under one roof. The first floor has a restaurant in the front room with an event space in the back. The second floor is a pub style environment with pool tables and arcade games.
The Pool Hall
The second floor features a large bar and a dozen pool tables. This space is perfect for a casual night out with friends, family or colleagues. With a capacity of 230, it can also be rented for larger events.
The restaurant can seat 50 people with a menu featuring a variety of options. The majority of dishes are priced under $25 with Pad Thai and Wookie Balls being longtime favourites. Work from local artists is showcased on the walls and updated frequently.
The tables and chairs can be cleared from the room to make an entertainment space suitable for mingling. This setup is ideal for corporate events and art shows.
The restaurant has its own dedicated bar which guests walk past on their way to the backroom. The backroom entrance can be seen in the background of this photo.
The Back Room
The backroom entertainment schedule is as diverse as the city it calls home. Concerts, dance parties and comedy shows are the most common events.
The standing room capacity is 240 although tables and chairs can be added if there are going to be fewer than 200 guests. The room is usually cleared for dance parties and sold-out shows.
There is a dedicated bar in the backroom. Brand takeovers are possible in the fridge for sponsored events. Beer taps may also be a part of the discussion.
Seated events with tables and chairs can accommodate up to 90 people. This setup allows for attendees to eat and drink while enjoying whatever takes place on the stage. Seated shows are generally not done on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights.
Events with theatre style seating are possible with a room capacity of 100.
The capacity of the front restaurant can be used to increase capacity to 300 if there is going to be a lot movement between the front and backroom. The front room (restaurant) is a good place for people to relax and get a cocktail. This video from a packed dance party shows the flow between the front and back rooms on the main floor.
Staffing & Timings
Start times are whatever works best for the promoter. Doors are typically 30-minutes before performances begin.
Alcohol can be served until 2:00am. A 4:00am license extension is possible if the situation warrants it. At least a month is required to process the application to the Alcohol & Gaming Corporation of Ontario. There is an extra fee for this so all parties need to be sure it is financially worthwhile.
Promoters need to share their attendance projections and ticket counts leading into the event in order to ensure proper staffing levels for security and bar staff. The Rivoli will cover all the costs related to these personnel.
Promoters generally provide their own ticket taker for events. A Rivoli staff member can sometimes be recruited with advance notice.
The ticket taker will be positioned near the entrance to the backroom. Guests can be identified by stamps or wrist bands. Promoters should bring their own cash box and float. A printed guest list is useful in the event of any technical issues.
A house tech will be scheduled for each show. Their services are covered as part of a $250 fee which also includes a $50 contribution to the gear maintenance fund. This fee should be paid at the beginning of the night.
Bands keep 100% of their merch sales and there are no additional ticketing fees. The goal is for the promoters to keep the ticket sales and the venue to keep the bar sales.
The Rivoli provides security for the event. They are situated at the entrance and patrol through the venue over the course of the night. Any extra instruction can be provided before the event or earlier in the night. Plans for line-ups need to be discussed in advance and should not block the entrance to the pool hall on the second floor.
Promoter must also share their event's technical requirements well in advance. A house tech will be assigned to the show to make sure everyone is aligned on what's in-house vs any extra production requirements. Any additional production must be paid for by the promoter.
The backroom has a screen and projector. Promoters should come down at least a week in advance to test any videos they would like to play and discuss a plan with the assigned tech. The screen comes down mid-stage and can be a suitable backdrop for DJs.
A load-in time will be agreed on in advance with the Rivoli booker and tech. Promoters and talent cannot be in the backroom without a staff member. Under no circumstances are the venue's sound and lighting to be adjusted without the tech's permission.
Gear can be loaded in through the back door on Bulwer Street. Ring the doorbell on the wall to be let in. The doorbell is a bit hidden in the paint on the right side of the door.
There is a small set of stairs at the back entrance. Smaller items can come in through the front door of the venue.
Vehicles can unload in the back laneway but cannot park there. Parking can be found in the Green P at the corner of Bulwer and Soho. It's located across from the Black Bull patio.
Customer Payment Option
Guests can pay for food and drinks via credit card, debit or cash at the front bar. The backroom is cash only which should be communicated to guests in advance. There are two ATMs onsite for those who don't bring cash.
Green Room & Hospitality
There is a small green room behind the stage. There will be water in there but no towels.
No outside food or alcohol is permitted in the venue. All alcoholic drinks must come from one of the Rivoli's bars. Steam Whistle is the green room sponsor with drink tickets provided for approved shows.
Performers and support staff get a 50% discount off the Rivoli menu. Ticket holders will also get a 10% discount off the menu for food purchased in the restaurant before the show. The restaurant usually closes at 11pm so they would need to come in by 10pm to get this deal.
Promoters need to discuss any brand partnerships they would like to include when they are booking the event. The Rivoli already has alcohol partners in place so additional brands cannot be included without permission. With enough planning, brand partners can be included in promotional materials like this 1800 Tequila sponsorship of a Latin Music Night.
Brand activations can take place in the restaurant (front room of main floor) to capitalize on traffic as people enter the venue. Activations are at the sole discretion of the venue.
The space beside the main bar is a good option for a signage wall or step and repeat banner.
Sampling stations can also be set up in the back room like this Bush Mills example.
Onstage branding is possible providing the Rivoli's backwall logo is not covered.
The Rivoli is keen to work with promoters to maximize event attendance. The venue can share any promotional graphics, pictures or videos on its Instagram account. Please send to the booker in advance or tag @rivolitoronto
Promotional assets will be required at least four weeks in advance of the show. The Rivoli logo and venue address should be included where appropriate. Instagram is the venue's primary social media platform. Suggested materials include the following:
Poster (11x17) - a QR code to scan for tickets is a recommended addition
Instagram Portrait (1080 x 1350)
Instagram Story (1080 x 1920)
The poster can also be used on the in-house digital screens. QR codes work here as well.
Posters can be put up around the venue and on the public signage boards in the immediate area. These cluttered spaces require strong graphics to stand out. The public boards also need to be frequently updated.
Promoters are requested to provide three or four sentences on their event along with an image. This will be used in social media posts and the events section of the Rivoli website. The image should have minimal graphics with the copy offering a light-hearted overview of the performers and their style.
Leveraging the legacy of famous people that have played at the Rivoli has also been shown to be effective. See this Majo sample as an example where she talks about the honour of walking the same stage as Amy Winehouse. These should be done in the lead-up to the event.
Many forms of entertainment have taken place in the backroom with music and comedy being the most common. The venue is keen to leverage its legacy of hosting the next generation of stars. Notable performers have included:
· 10,000 Maniacs
· Action Bronson
· Amy Winehouse
· Arcade Fire
· Barenaked Ladies
· Base is Base
· Big Sugar
· Billy Talent
· Blue Rodeo
· Cowboy Junkies
· Dave Grohl
· Flaming Lips
· Gord Downie
· Fiona Apple
· Iggy Pop
· Indigo Girls
· Kids in the Hall
· Leslie Feist
· Matt Mays
· Mike Myers
·Our Lady Peace
· Parachute Club
· Patti Smith
· Robin Williams
· Ron Sexsmith
· Sam Roberts
· Sarah Harmer
· Shaun Majumder
· Stone Temple Pilots
· Tori Amos