Toronto Weekender: September 6 through 9, 2012

Everywhere you look around, TIFF is in the air. Yep, folks, she’s here. That beautiful Hollywood mistress we call the Toronto International Film Festival. Don’t you love her? So, in honour of this saucy little celebrity tart, we’ve dedicated this weekender to all things Cannes…er…TIFF. 

Dundas West has a new restaurant serving up fantastic fusion, and it’s got pedigree. Helmed by Kai and Levi Bent-Lee – yes, the sons of Canadian celebrity Chef Susur Lee – Bent is their take on what a great restaurant should be. The kitchen is run by Lee senior, with a menu filled with items like smoked cod and taro tacos, but the restaurant is the sons’ vision. A perfect way to start your VIP weekend.

The Drake Hotel‘s going into Overdrive for TIFF 2012. Tonight, they’re launching this retro-inspired thematic across the hotel with a massive party sponsored by Stella Artois and Sailor Jerry. DJs will take over the Underground while guests sip special actor-inspired cocktails and get tattooed up for free at a mobile tattoo shop.

Glitz and Glamour Breast Cancer Benefit is on tonight at Arcadian Court, and while it’s not totes TIFF, it’s for a notable cause and that deserves mention! This event will feature a bra-tastic Tree of Life (you’ll have to go to find out what we mean) and the National Women’s Soccer Team doing a kick-off for the party’s kick-off.

The Trump Hotel’s launching a TIFF VIP experience this evening that will continue for the duration of the festival, with DJs galore, delish dishes, and chocolate lovers’ paradise up in Stock Restaurant, and a TIFF-themed creperie in the SUITS Lobby Lounge. 

UNIQ’s Lifestyle’s newest venue, Cinema, officially launches tonight. An apropos time, non? It takes over the space left in Maro’s wake, and will likely be a hotspot throughout the duration of the fest. Opening night means you’ll be one of the first to check it out…

The trend toward fanciful Japanese cuisine dominance in the city continues with the opening of Hapa Izakaya. Last night. Yes, this brand spankin’ new spot is a West Coast transplant, and is bringing their traditional and out-of-the-box Izakaya menu to the College Street strip. Stop in for dinner on Friday night before you hit the town running. 

Continuing Toronto’s love affair with Prohibition Era cocktails is Sauce on Danforth, a quaint bar serving up a beauty selection of classic concoctions like the French 75, Harvey Wallbanger and Tom Collins. Not to be outdone, the kitchen is sending out some sharable bites, among them prosciutto wrapped asparagus and smoked chicken salad puffs. Sauce is a great place to get sauced as your evening progresses. 

She Does The City and The Hoxton are hosting a special TIFF edition party, with renowned DJ Fred Falke in the house to spin all night long. Literally, the liquor license is extended until 4am. Hop on over then figure out how to hop on home with one too many bar rails clouding your eyesight. 

PRAGUE restaurant – that stalwart Queen West locale that served up traditional Eastern European fare and had an accompanying deli – closed earlier this year for a complete overhaul and renovation. It re-opened but a couple weeks ago, with a beautiful new dining space, large bar for the city’s nightlife, and a completely reimagined menu… including brunch. 

Over at Maison Mercer tonight is the official premier party for Iceberg Slim. This documentary traverses the landscape of the Chicago pimp by the same name, and includes interviews with Snoop Lion (or Dogg, if you’re a traditionalist), Ice T, and Quincy Jones. Ice T himself is on tap to perform tonight.

Club V is trying to cash in on the TIFF action with a Saturday night event, including TIFF-inspired photography shoot on-site, guest ‘celebrity’ appearances, and DJs MJ Milz and Plant OtnoroT (read that backwards). 

In support of ONExONE, for one exclusive night, Toronto’s Kool Haus (132 Queens Quay West) will transform into the decadent Diesel Lounge on September 8th featuring an intimate performance by Lauryn Hill. This event will feature the talented Ms. Hill (along with some other special guests) performing her greatest hits in the name of charity.

Here’s the bountiful brunch you’ve likely heard of. Nikki Beach is in town again, taking over the Spoke Club. On Sunday, make a reservation and head over and dine in Southern French style (made to seem Miami-esque, go figure). This is one of those great food parties that graces our fair city but once in a blue moon. 

Of course you’ve heard of Fashion Cares 25, right? Well, there are still some tickets available for the main event in support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the AIDS Committee of Toronto, but the after party should be a bit more, YP-friendly, featuring the Scissor Sisters, Janelle Monae, Sky Ferreira, Jully Black, Keisha Chante, and Jarvis Church.

Still not enough TIFF? Click here to view our full 2012 TIFF Party Guide.