In terms of entertainment, Toronto is perhaps best known for performing arts, being one of the places that have the most theater venues across the globe. Its music scene, however, is not to be sneered at. Various choices - ranging from large stadiums that serve as concert venues of international performers and hole in the wall bars that host up and coming artists - await travelers and locals alike. The sheer number of options also means that people can definitely find a place that plays their music of choice. Check out this list if you’re looking for good venues that play live music in Toronto.
1. The Reservoir Lounge
Jazz, blues, and R&B lovers should not miss out on catching a performance at The Reservoir Lounge, which is located right at the heart of downtown Toronto just across the Flatiron Building. The brick-walled interior helps add to the ambiance, making guests feel like they’ve traveled back in time to the Jazz Age. Live music, with either local or international artists performing, is played five times a week here. Fun fact: Michael Bublé used to perform at The Reservoir Lounge at the start of his career as a singer.
The Reservoir Lounge
Address: 52 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C8, Canada
Website: The Reservoir Loung
2. Horseshoe Tavern
Horseshoe Tavern is an institution in Toronto, literally and figuratively. Dating back to 1861 when it was used as a blacksmith’s shop, it has since become a favorite musical venue for musicians and music lovers. Since it was established, it has hosted huge names such as Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty, and Waylon Jennings, as well as bands such as the Rolling Stones, the Ramones, and the Police. Genres played here are usually rock, country, and indie.
Address: 370 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A2, Canada
Website: Horseshoe Tavern
3. The Cameron House
Featuring live music seven nights a week, The Cameron House is the place to be for those who want to catch up and coming acts that play their own songs. Rock, blues, country, folk, and jazz are the usual musical genres played here. You can even catch two acts here in one night, as The Cameron House has two rooms, both of which may host performers in the same night. Big names such as Blue Rodeo, Holly Cole, Ron Sexsmith, and The Barenaked Ladies have all graced the stage of this venue in the past.
The Cameron House
Address: 408 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A7, Canada
Website: The Cameron House
4. Drake Underground
Drake Underground is the bar of the Drake Hotel and a favorite nightlife spot of Toronto locals. Rated as having one of the best acoustics in the city, this venue is a hit among fans of rock, hip-hop, and EDM. Besides live music, Drake Underground also hosts comedians, dance parties, film showings, and other types of entertainment.
Address: 1150 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3, Canada
Website: Drake Underground
5. Lula Lounge
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
If your musical preference leans more toward salsa than rock, jazz, or hip-hop, Lula Lounge is the place for you. This venue does not just have a live band playing salsa music, it also has a dedicated area set every Friday and Saturday for those who want to dance along to the lively tunes. There are also dance instructors available for those who want to learn the rudiments of salsa dancing.
Address: 1585 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1T9, Canada
Website: Lula Lounge
6. Lee's Palace
Easily recognizable thanks too its colorful mural facade, Lee’s Palace has hosted several rock, country, and folk bands - both local and international - over the years. Bands such as Nirvana, Rolling Stones, Oasis, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have all performed on its stage in the past. Live music is played here practically every night.
Address: 529 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y5, Canada
Website: Lee’s Palace
7. The Phoenix Concert Theatre
The Phoenix, a club and a concert venue rolled into one, is one of the biggest of its kind in Toronto. Having hosted prominent performers such as Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Death Cab for Cutie, and Green Day, this is the usual go-to place for those who want to dance while listening to live music.
The Phoenix Concert Theatre
Address: 410 Sherbourne St, Toronto, ON M5X 1K2, Canada
Website: The Phoenix Concert Theatre
8. The Opera House
While the architecture of this venue can bring to mind classical music, you are more likely to catch head-bangers and punk rockers performing at The Opera House tan you are watching Viking ladies singing in falsetto. Good lighting and sound system help make this venue a favorite destination among music lovers.
The Opera House
Address: 735 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H1, Canada
Website: The Opera House
9. The Mod Club
You’ll be forgiven if you become confused that you traveled through time and space to Great Britain in the 1950s. The Mod Club, as the name suggests, takes its inspiration from the mod subculture. The mid-sized venue is often used as a concert venue for musical genres like rock, hip-hop, electronic music, and even pop. Video panels are installed here to make it easier for the audience to see the performers on stage.
The Mod Club
Address: 722 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1C4, Canada
Website: The Mod Club
10. Dakota Tavern
If the Mod Club brings its audiences to the UK in the 1950s, Dakota Tavern transports its guests to the Wild West. Besides country music, the venue also hosts folk and blues performers. Its decor, which includes cowboy memorabilia, only add to the vibe that you’ve entered an authentic saloon.
Address: 249 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 3A1, Canada
Website: Dakota Tavern
Toronto has built a reputation for itself as a culturally diverse city, so it only makes sense that the musical genres of artists here - and the venues where they play in - are also varied. Whatever type of music you like to listen to, or whatever place you want to enjoy live musical performances, you’ll surely find a place in this Canadian city that suits your tastes.
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