10 Live Music Spots In Toronto

Live Music In Toronto

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 at Reservoir Lounge
Source: Photo by user Jennifer Morrow used under CC BY 2.0

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

Alcordo opening for JMSN @ Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto 2016
Source: Photo by user The Come Up Show used under CC BY-ND 2.0

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.

Horseshoe Tavern

Address: 370 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A2, Canada

Website: Horseshoe Tavern

3. The Cameron House

The Cameron House
Source: Photo by user Jeff Hitchcock used under CC BY 2.0

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

Joyner Lucas
Source: Photo by user The Come Up Show used under CC BY 2.0

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.

Drake Underground

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.

Lula Lounge

Address: 1585 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1T9, Canada

Website: Lula Lounge

6. Lee's Palace

Lee's Palace Toronto
Source: Photo by user Mykola Swarnyk used under CC BY-SA 3.0

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.

Lee's Palace

Address: 529 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y5, Canada

Website: Lee’s Palace

7. The Phoenix Concert Theatre

Jazz Cartier @ The Phoenix
Source: Photo by user The Come Up Show used under CC BY-ND 2.0

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

2011 with Anita Prime, All Star Rock Tour, Opera House, Toronto
Source: Photo by user HarleyMarcos used under CC BY-SA 3.0

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

Skull Fist live 2014 Toronto
Source: Photo by user Danielle Griscti used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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

live music in toronto | dakota tavern
Source: Photo by user Richard Borbridge used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Dakota Tavern

Address: 249 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 3A1, Canada

Website: Dakota Tavern

Musically diverse

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.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling.

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