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Toronto's Top 10 : Bars & Clubs - Top Ten Places to See Live Music

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Most live music venues are licensed bars and entrance is limited to those 19 years and older, unless an event is specifically all-ages


  1. Crush

    Just as diners are ordering dessert, the lights are dimmed and the music turned up, officially ushering in the night to this restaurant and wine bar. A terrific selection of wines, many by the glass and fairly priced. The splendid loft space has a large adjoining patio .

  2. The Roof Lounge

    A haunt of creative types, this bar atop the Park Hyatt Hotel offers refuge from daily stresses. In winter, a fireplace and huge leather chairs beckon; in summer, spectacular views from the terrace .

    The Roof Lounge
  3. Guvernment

    Rave gear isn’t mandatory for joining the 3,000 clubbers who, animated by lasers pulsing to the house, progressive, and trance beating from a deafening sound system, party into the wee hours. Five lounges offer a brief respite from the cavernous split-level dance floor. Concerts are held at adjoining Kool Haus.

    Guvernment
  4. Avenue

    It’s all about style at this busy see-and-be-seen bar on the ground floor of the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel in fashionable Yorkville. At your table, adept servers prepare the perfect cocktail in a miniature shaker; nary a drop is spilled. At the bar, business tycoons talk takeovers while scoping out the room.

    Avenue
  5. Cameron House

    Giant “ants” on the front of this former flophouse signal a different bar experience. Unspoiled by the acts that played here before making it big, this low-key bar is dedicated to up-and-coming musicians. Join foot-stomping regulars on weekend evenings for pay-what-you-can country music .

    Cameron House ant sculpture
  6. Circa

    Nightlife luminary Peter Gatien’s 55,000-sq-ft (5,200-sq-m) facility hosts art, music, and fashion events during the week. World class DJs and artists liven up the weekends .

  7. Irish Embassy Pub & Grill

    Pub lovers will feel at home with the mahogany bar and stool and booth seating set among the marble columns of this historic bank building. Good choice of beers on tap, and tasty pub food, including bison burgers.

    • 49 Yonge St

    • 416 866 8282

    Irish Embassy Pub & Grill
  8. Easy & The Fifth

    The high-ceilinged dance club of this restaurant/bar venue  caters to the 25-plus crowd. Bouncers ignore the jeans-clad in favor of those casual-smart; once inside, grab a drink at the long bar, then dance to R&B and top-40 music or play pool under the watchful gaze of cigar smokers in the sideroom .

  9. Lula Lounge

    Lively bands and hot DJs play everything Latin, from salsa to merengue. Enjoy dinner before the show, arrive later for drinks, or go all out with a dance lesson-dinner-show package .

  10. Bar at Canoe

    On the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower , this sophisticated spot caters to corporate wheelers and dealers (reduced to size against the magnificent view of Lake Ontario), as well as locals and visitors out for a special night. Excellent wines, cocktails, and beer selection .

Top Ten Places to See Live Music

  1. Opera House

    An eclectic range of bands plays beneath the ornate proscenium arch. All-ages shows and blues nights pack the place.

    • 735 Queen St E

  2. Rivoli

    Booking top alternative rock bands has made this spot a Toronto landmark.

    • 334 Queen St W

  3. El Mocambo

    Revived by a recent facelift, this national landmark presents rock, folk, funk, and more on its two floors.

    • 464 Spadina Ave

  4. Horseshoe Tavern

    The Rolling Stones kicked off their 1997 world tour at this venerable watering hole.

    • 370 Queen St W

  5. The Trane Studio

    Jazz and all its manifestations in African, Latin, and world music styles are celebrated here.

    • 964 Bathurst St

  6. The Rex Hotel

    The hotel’s jazz and blues bar attracts Canada’s finest musicians.

    • 194 Queen St W

  7. Hugh’s Room

    Enjoy popular folk musicians in an intimate space.

    • 2261 Dundas St W

  8. Lee’s Palace

    This gritty joint hosts edgy rock bands.

    • 529 Bloor St W

  9. Reservoir Lounge

    Jazz, boogie-woogie, and jump blues; southern fusion cuisine.

    • 52 Wellington St E

    • Closed Sun

  10. Phoenix

    Rock bands, and dancing on DJ’d theme nights.

    • 410 Sherbourne St

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