Sneaky Dee's: A Toronto Institution in Jeopardy?

September 10, 2020 | M. Elwood

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Although change is inevitable unexpected change can be a shock. Toronto was shaken by the recent announcement that Sneaky Dee's might be closing, as a proposal for a new condo building at their location could potentially spell the end of the iconic restaurant/bar/club. 

Sneaky Dee's
Sneaky Dee's by Astro Guy. Used on a CC license.


Described as a "late-night tex-mexy bar" in Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series, Sneaky Dee's is located at College and Bathurst and is known for the colourful graffiti on its walls. Over the years, it has hosted many notable music acts including:


Musicians who have created menu items for the restaurant include Lights, Cancer Bats and F**ked Up.



Like any landmark, Sneaky Dee's has made appearances in a number of books.

Cover image of Experimental film

Experimental Film by Gemma Files

Cover image of Girls fall down

Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig

48 Best Canadian Books We Love images | Canadian books, Books, Book worth  reading

Holding Still for as Long as Possible by Zoe Whittall

Cover image of Lost between the edges

Lost Between Edges by Eldon Garnet

Cover image of People one knows : Toronto stories

The People One Knows: Toronto Stories by Daniel Jones


Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Sneaky Dee's is a hangout for Scott and his friends so it makes a couple of appearances. In Volume 5, Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe, Scott’s band Sex Bob-omb is booked to appear at Sneaky Dee’s. Unfortunately, the performance is interrupted when Scott is attacked by a robot. 

Cover image of Scott Pilgrim. Vol. 5, Vs. the universe

Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe, volume 5 by Bryan Lee O'Malley


Scott Pilgrim VS the World Movie

You can also see Sneaky Dee's in the background in the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World movie, which was filmed locally. 

Two of our branches, Wychwood Branch and Toronto Reference Library, also feature in the books. Only Wychwood Branch (pre-renovation!) can be seen in the movie, though.


Non Fiction

Barenaked Ladies: The Authorized Biography | Walmart Canada

Barenaked Ladies: Public Stunts, Private Stories by Paul Myers


Cover image of I hear she's a real bitch

I Hear She's a Real Bitch by Jen Agg

The renowned restaurateur describes her love of Sneaky Dee's nachos in her memoir.


Cover image of This book is broken : the Broken Social Scene story

This Book is Broken: The Broken Social Scene Story by Stuart Berman


Bathurst and College in 1937
The intersection of Bathurst and College Streets, 1937. Toronto Star Photograph Archive.


Well before Sneaky Dee's opened at Bathurst and College Streets, it was still a pretty busy area!

The condo development may not necessarily mean the end of Sneaky Dee's. The current location is actually its second home as it was located at Bloor and Bathurst until 1990.