Posted on April 29, 2013 by Marina

If you like listening to live rock n roll and enjoying a brew, The Duke Live is a perfect neighbourhood hangout.




As a matter of fact, this East End Historical landmark, The Duke Live has been part of the Leslieville landscape since 1870. 

This 19th century solid brick building was originally a restaurant and pub and was renamed in 1912 to The Duke (named after Prince Edward – Duke of York & Albany). On June 13th 1983, City Council of Toronto listed the site as “Architectural Historical” meaning from that date, the building is safe from being torn down and will remain a local favourite.

The owner, George Politis tells us a bit about this historical rock ‘n roll local favourite.


Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in the restaurant business. What made you want to run The Duke/how did the name come about?

I started out working at the Holiday Inn Downtown and loved the contact with the patrons who came in for dinner or lunch.   I met some others and we decided we wanted to open a club and serve good food and entertainment.   As time went on, the partner’s love for the Duke dwindled and the partnership split.  By this time I had become very attached to the patrons who frequented the Duke (now the Duke Live) and the area and culture that surrounded us .

The Duke Live building has been a landmark since 1870 – what’s memorable about the history of the spot?

I can’t speak for memories in the 1870’s as I wasn’t around !!! LOL !!!  Everything we do at the “Duke Live” that changes the old and moves it to the new will always be memorable.  And the people who stop by and say ” you know I remember when the Duke ………………….. – lots of stories about the old building and the people who lived there .


How would you describe it to someone who has never been to The Duke before?

It’s a variety kind of place.  You can go there for Karaoke, ( Wednesday and Thursday evenings as well as on Saturday afternoons)  On Friday nights. It’s a flip between a live band and DJ Fridays with Dr. Spin – great DJ who has all the selections you could ever want !!  On Saturdays it’s always a live band and always great for dancing and partying.  The Duke Live caters to an audience that range in age from 19 to 65 and there is something for all of them .

The pool tables (2) see a lot of attention from both men and women !  The dart board set in a small lounge area walled off by glass is perfect for those who want to concentrate on their game and be comfortable at the same time!!

What are some of the most memorable acts that have played on The Duke’s stage?

Memorable acts – Shania Twin, Blue Radio a tribute to Blue Rodeo, For Those About to Rock – an amazing AC/DC show, Tres Hombres,  some hot rockers – Mamakin , Members of the Original Max Webster will be playing the club on the 22nd of Feb. – The Antlers !  

Favourite event hosted at The Duke?

1993- 1994 - Miss Kitty Wells !!!!  Amazing !!

Best thing about being a restaurateur and running your own venue?

The best thing about being a restaurateur and running my own venue is knowing the decisions that are made with reference to the business, are mine, no one else.  The club is run the way I like it and it is designed the way I think it should be.  This is a club for people to come and party, relax, have a few drinks, do some dancing and have a great time.  While you’re here, the kitchen is open from noon till midnight and whether it’s finger foods, or a full blown meal, my team can accommodate your needs and at a price you can afford !!  



Check our this local spot at 1225 Queen St E –