Toronto has a pretty incredible music scene, so if you'd rather spend your paycheck on shows and merchandise than food and shelter, you've come to the right place. We've compiled a voted list of top Toronto Live Music Venues to make sure you get the best experience when heading out to a gig.
The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall presents programming ranging from emerging artists to the biggest names in the arts and entertainment — from classical and jazz to world music, rock and comedy. Presentations are held not only at Massey Hall and Roy Thomson hall but also at the 341 seat Glenn Gould Studio (CBC Broadcasting Centre) and the brand new 1140 seat Koerner Hall (at The Royal Conservatory of Music).
Located in downtown Toronto, Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall are two of Canada's most renowned concert halls. Both halls are managed by the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, a not for profit charitable organization.
The Music Hall is a performance art venue in Toronto. Constructed in 1919 by architects Hynes, Feldman and Watson, the hall was originally part of the National Theatre chain, named Allen's Danforth Theatre after chain ownes. After years of operation hosting, it was revisioned as a second-run movie theater called the century. In 2005, it underwent renovations under new management to return it to its theater roots.
The décor is genuine retro chic with an emphasis on vintage cars, pin-up girls and enshrined music legends, most notably Springsteen, Elvis and Johnny Cash. Known for its top-quality live bands, (everything from alt-country and swinging rockabilly to southern rock and blues) the Cadillac regularly features legendary performers such as Robert Gordon and Wanda Jackson along with local favourites, Ancient Chinese Secret and Atomic 7.
A jaunt through the solid, dimly-lit bar rewards patrons with an impossibly private 4000 sq ft (all seasons) patio, where guests can unwind over cocktails or feast on selections from the Caddy’s reputable menu.
Unlike other similarly defined establishments, there is no identity crisis here. The Cadillac Lounge is long on style, yet completely authentic - the epitome of cool without the hipster posturing.
Sneaky Dee’s started as a family business in 1987 and not much has really changed. Sure, the raging city of Toronto has claimed Sneaky Dee’s as its own — everyone from Arcade Fire to Fucked Up has graced the darkly lit upstairs stage, and it has made a mark as a cultural institution. Through the hard times and the good, Sneaky Dee’s (known to locals as “Dee’s”, “Sneak’s”, or “Sneaky’s”) has opened their arms and wrapped them tight around our bustling metropolis. This big bear hug has touched Toronto civilians and tourists alike and it’s born a vibrant community.
A home away from home, Sneaky Dee’s is a good family to have. They feed you when you’re hungry and send you home only when you’re stuffed to the brim! The kitchen is always open late and the night is always young. Sneaky Dee’s is a bomb of energy and dazzling with nostalgia. A place to sit and to dance, and home to the most reasonably priced menu in the city’s grid. Always a hip tune on rotation in the dining room, Sneaky Dee’s is a remedy of laughter and good people. Famous for its Tex-Mex and pub-style favourites, if the familiar faces don’t keep you coming back, the King’s Crown nachos certainly will!
Originally located on Bloor Street and a stone’s throw away from Honest Ed’s, Sneaky Dee’s had a true, authentic, punk rock inception in the 80s. Still an integral part of the music scene, today Sneaky Dee’s concert venue is home to a number of the city’s best parties. From What’s Poppin’ on Wednesday nights to Shake A Tail on Saturdays, upstairs at Sneak’s is always raving with the underground and independent culture of Toronto.
The 200+ capacity concert venue has seen some great talent grace its stage. From Broken Social Scene to Feist, Sneaky Dee’s has hosted local and touring musicians since it began (sort of serendipitously) in the basement of the restaurant’s first location. From punk to hip hop and every indie darling in between, catching a band at Sneaky Dee’s is always a memorable night out! Whether you’re surrounded by rabble-rousing scenesters out celebrating a independent vinyl release or your favourite west coast buzz band makes a stop in town, it’s likely happening on the Sneaky Dee’s stage.
Tourists and artists often fill the downstairs booths, but if music and great food aren’t your thing in Toronto – having a seat at the bar, taking in the atmosphere over a pint, and watching the Jays or the Leafs is also an option. Now one of Toronto’s busiest independent restuarants, Sneaky Dee’s will continue to prove itself as a staple and go-to hub of culture in Toronto.
So really much has changed, but at the heart of it all is a community who likes their nachos slathered in cheese, their bar booths etched with inside jokes, and their friends just a King’s Crown away. Welcome home.
SONY CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, Toronto’s first performing arts centre, has played a defining role in the cultural life of Toronto for more than 50 years. Today, the newly renovated Sony Centre’s mission is to unite the global citizens of Toronto through great artistic experiences.
The Great Hall was built in 1889 by the founder of the Moore Corporation, Samuel J. Moore, Architects Gordon & Helliwell were chosen to design this four storey building. is approximately 30,000 sq ft. with a full basement. It housed the first west end YMCA in Toronto. The "Y" offered athletic facilities that included a gymnasium with a raised running track, and a basement swimming pool. Canadian native marathon star Tom Longboat worked out here when he won the Boston Marathon in 1907, as did chocolate magnate and accomplished amateur wrestler, Morden Neilson, it was also home to some of the earliest basketball games ever played in history.
In 1912 the property was sold to the Royal Templars of Temperance, who conducted business in the building until 1940's when there was a major shift in the buildings use. It was acquired by the Polish National Union, and soon, presses on the ground floor were rolling out copies of The Polish Voice newspaper. On the top floor, rooms were pressed into service as temporary shelter for Polish refugees fleeing the war in Europe.
In the mid 1980's the rumble of the presses were replaced by the sound of experimental music and avante-garde art. The Toronto School of Art eventually helped to establish 1087 Queen St. West as an important address for Toronto's arts community.
At any given night there are tonnes of bands touring around the city, hitting up whatever stage they can fit on to soothe or shock the minds of their weary audience. We know what it means to have the benefits of good sound systems and sightlines, that's why we mic-check our own lists as carefully as possible to make sure you only see your favourite bands at the most popular live music venues the city has to offer.
This isn't a dress rehearsal and there are no dry runs. All of our listings are user-voted and compiled so you can find out the band, check out the venue and rock out to music with no hassle.
In a city this big, it's hard to keep track of all the bars, pubs, dives and dancehalls hosting great music talent. Sometimes you need a bit of method to your musical madness. Be sure to check out our events section to discover the latest news on Toronto Live Music Events and our photos section to see the best galleries from past shows and events.
The Recognized Badge is like a medal of distinction. It means they've got a certain attribute that makes them stand out. Hover over the badge to see how a place made its mark.
The hallowed doors to Clinton's Tavern opened on a fateful snow-free November of 1937 as freshly minted George VI nickles, dimes and quarters were filling the pockets of the bar keeps. The main floor was your typical watering hole, but the upstairs help an exclusive "members only" club; a known favorite of Old Blue Eyes - yes, Frank Sinatra.
Always one step of the herd, Clintons opened up the bar to women in 1955. Imagine that, men would finally enjoy their brew with a classy dame by their side.
By 1985, the back was opened for live shows. A young Jeff Healy lived out a rock star hopeful's dream as Bob Dyan caught his show and took a shine to him. Their meeting at Clinton's sparked a long-term friendship with ultimately helped propel Healy's career to the next level.
The concert space has since become well known as a launch pad for a wide range of Canadian acts including Drake, Barenaked Ladies, Die Mannequin, Three Days Grace, Cowboy Junkies, The Cliks, Crystal castles and many more abroad and alike. And aside from the constant live music shows, weekly dj nights and special events, there's always something happening at 693 Bloor St. W.
Clintons has been delivering the best live music, trivia and poetry nights, weekly dance parties, drinks and home cookin' to Toronto for 74 years and isn't slowing down! We are a hidden gem tucked in the heart of the Christie Pitts so join us for beers with buds on our patio or front pub or dance the night away on one of the craziest dance floors in the city!
The Molson Amphitheatre, which is located in Toronto, Canada, is an excellent venue with top notch facilities. It is located where the Ontario Place Forum was located formerly. The Amphitheatre is has been host to some of the most exclusive concerts and events in the past. One of the most noticeable of these includes the concert in which Bryan Adams performed in 1995, which gave The Amphitheatre a memorable opening. Some of the most popular singers and bands have performed at the Molson Amphitheatre since that grand opening of the venue.
C'est What Brew/Vin Pub Restaurant, Toronto’s true local flavour in craft beer and comfort food since 1988. Located in the cellar of a historic century old building in the St. Lawrence Market area, C’est What has an Old Town charm that appeals to Bohemians and Bay St. bankers alike.
Other diversions include board games, pool tables, and fireplaces. C'est What is also the home of an Internet radio station, whatsnext.ca, which streams indie-centric recorded music and all shows from the performance space.
BY Olivia Weir
This isn’t enough, you say? Surely there must be more places to get a musical fix than this! Well, there are plenty more, my musical friend. This list was just a snippet, a chorus of the highlights, a single before the album drop. Check out our full Toronto Live Music Venues to see our complete list of what Toronto has to offer.SEE FULL LISTING