Today Sun Mon
It is forecast to be Chance of Rain at 11:00 PM EDT on August 23, 2014
Chance of Rain
It is forecast to be Partly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on August 24, 2014
Partly Cloudy
It is forecast to be Partly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on August 25, 2014
Partly Cloudy



Newmindspace Launches Speakeasy—and They Hope, a New Way to Throw Parties

A new mash-up between social media and party planning.

First there were giant pillow fights and neighbourhood-wide games of capture the flag. Now, the social-butterflies-slash-event-organizers of Newmindspace are launching what they describe as no less than “a vision for the future of partying.” Called Speakeasy, it’s a social network that hopes to match party-throwers with party-goers via a web app that allows people to plan events and make them available to people who register online.

The first set of Speakeasy events happens this weekend, in New York, San Francisco, and Toronto.

The events can be as simple as a house party, or as lavish as an all-night bash at a downtown venue. Hosts can make their events open, so anyone can show up, or they can set it up so those interested have to send a request via the website—important screening, especially if you’re inviting people into your home. Users, who set up profiles on the site, are also encouraged to get testimonials from their friends so party hosts know they’re cool.

Speakeasy founder (and former Torontoist contributor) Kevin Bracken says that Speakeasy is a natural extension of the kind of energy that went into offbeat events like communal lightsaber battles, and that the time is right for a new approach to partying. People are sick of the club scene, he thinks, but go for it anyway because there are few other options. “There is so much pent-up demand for these kinds of experiences,” says Bracken. “I have seen 500 people fill a warehouse in the middle of nowhere because it promised to be novel, memorable, and unique. I believe that in an era where people are feeling more adventurous and hungry for something special, experiences like the ones we’re curating with Speakeasy can change the way we have fun.”

There are currently nine events listed for Speakeasy’s inaugural weekend in Toronto—a mix of some events that seem to be specifically created for the network, and some more traditional events that are using Speakeasy as a new listings opportunity. For anyone who wants to check something out this weekend, Bracken recommends Speakeasy and GouletGourmet Present Trippin’ on Love. It’s a “taste tripping party” where guests are given miraculin, a sugar substitute that makes sour things taste sweet—so guests can chomp into a lemon and have it taste like candy. (They can also drink cheap wine and have it taste like fine reserve.)

A screengrab of Speakeasy's site, showing events in Toronto this weekend.

A screengrab of Speakeasy’s site, showing events in Toronto this weekend.

Another event Bracken highlights, and an interesting test of how this kind of network might fare, is It’s My Birthday and I’m Moving to South Korea! As its name would suggest, it’s a going away party for a Korea-bound traveller, held at the host’s apartment. It appears to be a standard house party—the difference in this case being that, since it’s on the Speakeasy network, total strangers could send a request to show up.

Giving the public the ability to create their own events allows for an unpredictable range of possibilities. As we talked over coffee, Bracken recalled the era of ’90s warehouse raves, which broke several laws but resulted in legendary parties. He hopes that Speakeasy will allow people to stage risky events in that vein, but without breaking the law outright.

“The best parties happen on the edge of legality,” says Bracken. “The best experiences don’t happen in the sterilized world of bars and clubs.”


  • torontothegreat
    • intheknow

      actually, I’m pretty sure they started throwing the raves after the success of the pillow fights.

      • torontothegreat

        Then you can show that somehow like I did, but you can’t cause what you’re saying isn’t true.

        • Mustachio

          …and I’m pretty sure you are bitter about something pertaining to the organizers of these events.

          • torontothegreat


          • plur,eh?

            could you please explain your mistaken belief that all ravers do drugs (and, further, that they are addicted to them)? is it the by-product of a drug addiction by any chance?

    • Tim Ellis

      Weird how a bunch of people going somewhere and doing something that doesn’t affect you can make some people so angry. I’ll never understand it. I assume they’re just angry all the time.

      Anyway, don’t mind me, I’ll just get back to my legal, safe, and highly enjoyable raves! You’re welcome to come some time if you like. I’ll admit, we do have some drug use – in fact, there’s alcohol at ALL of them. So do be careful. I hear that stuff is dangerous.

      • torontothegreat

        LOL. who’s angry? I’m just pointing out the correction. I was there before the pillow fights.

        • Tim Ellis

          The comment came across as angry; you had four sections to it, one was “No”, one was about “drugged out raves” and then one was about failure, and then finally a declarative lifted right from the article. Not the most positive comment, so please pardon if I misapprehended it as angry.

          I elected to respond because the fact that drugged out raves existed and exist is not the same as implying that all raves are drugged out, which is how the comment came across. I felt it was worth correcting an oft-perpetuated stereotype that wasn’t always 100% true and is less true than ever now. That’s all. :)

          But I appreciate your note that the scene is now in capable hands.

          • torontothegreat

            Are you Hip Hop Karaoke Tim Ellis?

          • torontothegreat

            “you had four sections to it”

            one was “No”

            Yes, making sure that I disagreed with the OPs quote (which is above that statement)

            one was about “drugged out raves”

            Duck test – passed.

            one was about failure

            So failure is a negative? Open your mind.

            I elected to respond because the fact that drugged out raves existed and exist is not the same as implying that all raves are drugged out

            God, do ravers still make this absurd claim?

            Also, if you’re looking for only PLURRY, happy-candy comments, than I’m afraid, not much has changed with this crowd. God I hope that your reaction isn’t representative of that…

  • Devon Frohne

    So down to use this!

  • Mandy

    That looks fun! I love the pillow fight. The city needs more unique gatherings. Specially in the winter.

  • Kevin Bracken

    Thank you everybody for making Speakeasy Weekend One a huge success!