5 Things You Need to Know About FARSIDE: A Bar That’s Become Toronto’s Newest Video Rental Store!
By Josh Schafer
The world needs more video stores. For rewind-inclined minds and retroists of all kinds, I can’t think of a more veracious statement. Luckily, there’s a Tapehead named Mike Reynolds up in Toronto, Ontario that has found a way to mix taps and tapes under one rewind-radical roof. It’s just recently pressed play with over 5K VHS for rent, with an array of adult beverages to wash ‘em all down. Here are 5 things you absolutely need to know about Toronto’s newest video rental destination Farside.
Mike Reynolds with the Farside VHStash for rent!
- Video is in their veins.
Farside plays tapes all night and day when the bar is open. VHS is an inherent part of their DNA. Regulars and weekend warriors alike have come to expect a classic movie or weird video projected on the back wall while they imbibe. It’s a VHSignature part of their establishment, and now you can take a little slice of Farside to your living room.
- You can rent tapes, and a VCR if you don’t have one (and they have the adapter you might need).
All tapes are 5 bucks a night, 8 bucks for two nights. Farside also does a package deal for $40 that includes a VCR, HDMI adapter and 3 tapes for two nights, which is most popular. If you return the tape late (which hasn’t happened yet; people are bringing those slabs back in on time!), it’s an extra 5 bucks per day late fee.
- You can take home a heaping helping of beer along with your rentals.
Don't forget about the booze, dudes! In Ontario, the provincial government has FINALLY allowed bars and restaurants to legally sell alcohol to-go. So now you can leave Farside with a hockey bag full of craft beer, or a sixer of Bud. It's all the same to them. No VHSnobbery at Farside!
- A lot more people seem to be rewinding back and pressing that PLAY button.
Canada’s last Blockbuster closed in Parry Sound and the interest and love for tapes is constantly rising. Mike posits that nobody likes streaming services anymore and their selection is heinous. The only reason anyone has Netflix any more is for Star Trek. (However, Farside has every episode of TNG on tape available to rent!)
- They pretty much already had a video store in the bar, so it makes perfect VHSense.
Mike and crew came up with the idea because he’s a self-proclaimed freak and Farside already had 5000+ tapes at the bar. All they needed to do was buy a few more VCRs and a couple HDMI adapters and they were in business. Mike says, “People need to feel good right now. Anything that's just fun and rad and safe is important. That and streaming services suck… but we all know that.”
We know that’s right, Mike! What Mike and Farside are doing is some much needed rewind work and such a fantastic cultural space to have up in Canada, or anywhere for that matter. The whole concept reminds me a lot of Video Vortex (the video store I helped launch inside Alamo Drafthouse circa 2018), and let me tell you from experience: copious amounts of beer (on-site and to-go) coupled with seemingly endless VHS in one place… it’s truly a VHSweet slice of heaven on earth. And the fact that you can take it home with you? Check please.
And Mike isn’t done yet. He and his wife Rachel are planning to launch another spot in Hamilton, Ontario that we VHSeriously can’t wait to see materialize. Mike says, “It might be the stupidest thing we've ever done, but hopefully, STUPID LIKE A FOX. That's how that phrase works right? Wish us luck… and feed your VCR. We can help with that. REWIND OR DIE!”
Mike and the Farside crew, we here at Lunchmeat VHSalute you for keeping the tapes flowin’ and rollin’!
Follow Farside @farsidetoronto on Instagram, and tell ‘em Lunchmeat VHSent ya!