So What’s Going on with Toronto’s El Mocambo?

About five years ago, it looked like the El Mocambo, Toronto’s legendary dive bar that has featured gigs by everyone from the Rolling Stones to Queens of the Stone Age, was headed for extinction. But then in 2015 Dragon’s Den star Michael Werkerle, a hardcore music fan, swooped in and bought the place or $4 million. Since then, it’s been undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation/restoration/rebuild reported costing an additional $10 million.

That’s a serious reno project. So when will it be done? Promised openings have been pushed back and back and back. The latest guess is that it’ll be ready in time for next March, which will be the 70th anniversary of the place.

What about the iconic palm tree sign? It was hoped that it, too, could be restored, but when they took it down and opened it up, it turned out to unsalvageable. Too much rust, corrosion, and decay–along with a couple of bird’s nests. It was in such bad shape that there was no way building inspectors would have allowed it to be re-hung over the sidewalk.

This meant that an entirely new modern LED-equipped sign had to be fabricated at a facility in Cambridge, Ontario. The old sign will find a home inside the club, maybe flanking the stage.

The full story on the new ElMo sign can be found at the Toronto Star.

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.

One thought on “So What’s Going on with Toronto’s El Mocambo?

  • July 18, 2017 at 12:55 am

    Hopefully he’ll return the main entrance to the far left of the space instead of in front of the bar. That Cadillac Lounge guy was tinkering around with the place, where in fact the layout actually became worse instead of better


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