DIANA Member Carmen Elle Is Opening an Inclusive Live Music Venue in Toronto

Photo: Stephen McGill

BY Josiah HughesPublished Sep 1, 2017

Following the release of their Familiar Touch LP last year, Toronto dream pop crew DIANA have been keeping busy with plenty of other projects. While the band's Joseph Shabason is pursuing a solo career, frontwoman Carmen Elle is busy with a different project. Specifically, she's opening a new venue in Toronto.

Called Less Bar, the venue will open its doors at 834 Bloor West on September 21. The goal for the venue is to emphasize and include work by female-identified, trans and queer people as well as people of colour.

Speaking with NOW, Elle said, "Toronto has this beautiful huge community of DJs and kids and musicians who are really keen to get in there and make the city, but that hasn't really been reflected in the downtown bubble for a long time.... There's this fraternal nepotism where the same few people live close to each other, book shows, hang out at the same spots, play for the same audiences and [release their music] on the same labels."

While she's not necessarily trying to criticize anyone, Elle is hoping to open up the community a little more. "It's not an inherently malicious model, but we thought it would be good to actively carve out channels for other acts to find their way to these parts of the city and these bills."

Less Bar is a licensed venue, but they will also serve plenty of non-alcoholic beverages like cold brew matcha, kombucha and craft sodas, among others.

Further, NOW detailed the venue's house rules, which are intended "to send a message that it's a mindful space, and to pay attention to the music and each other." The rules read as follows:

No cell phones. If you want to text through your date, please take it outside

No Racism, Misogyny, Homophobia, Bullying or any other bullshit

Respect the space that includes the bartender, the other patrons and yourself

No fancy cocktails

No cocktails


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