Toronto’s Coq d’Or. Yes, a Music Venue Called “The Golden Cock”

[This comes via frequent contributor Juliette Jagger writing for Noisey. And yes, Coq d’Or occupied the space now held by the big HMV store. – AC]

Yonge Street in the 1960s was a hot bed: racy, illicit and awash in the vibrancy of coloured neon lights. Between the garish emporiums, leather shops, dirty bookstores and gaudy triple-bill theatres, it was a place where the music of wild, wailing bluesmen could be heard pouring out of the windows and doors, and where stompin’, raunchy rock n’ roll came to life in front of packed crowds every night. There was The Colonial, Steele’s Tavern, Friar’s Tavern and The Brown Derby, Zanzibar, The Edison Hotel and The Hawks Nest amongst so many others, but it was the infamous Le Coq d’Or Tavern that became the heart and soul of the Yonge Street strip and helped to give way to what would eventually become known as the world famous “Toronto Sound”.

Located at 333 Yonge Street and known for its deep red walls, saddle shaped bar stools, crummy western knick-knacks and caged go-go dancers, Le Coq d’or Tavern rose to prominence in the late 1950s upon the arrival of Arkansas rockabilly wildman, Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins and his band The Hawks.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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