Hospitality has been the name of the game at the Drake Hotel since it completed extensive renovations and re-opened on Queen Street West in 2004. While the building has a history that goes back to the 19th century, this multi-purpose space — which flaunts a restaurant lounge, a cozy café, and a range of boutique hotel rooms — has built its reputation on featuring cutting-edge musical talent on its spectacular lower-level performance space appropriately dubbed the Drake Underground.
This 200-capacity room is renowned for showcasing innovative musical acts before they reach a widespread audience. M.I.A. held one of her first ever live performances at the Drake in 2005; Future Islands rocked the stage in 2013 just before their viral performance on Letterman; and Sampha graced the stage in 2016, months before his Mercury Prize victory. Other notable performances have included Beck's secret show in 2006, Mac DeMarco's NXNE kickoff set in 2012, and throwback soul artist Leon Bridges' Canadian Music Week spectacle in 2015. Toronto talent of all genres has been well represented at the Drake over the years, including hip-hop MC Raz Fresco and R&B outfit Bernice.
The building that houses the Drake was built in 1890. Then known as D.A. Small’s Hotel, the building became known by its current name in 1949. Since then, its stylish décor and trendy happenings have made it a fixture of the west end’s nightlife. The Drake General Store, which features quality products of all sorts — from pillowcases to pants to patches — is located directly across from the Drake Hotel.