5 small venues for live music in Toronto

1) The Gladstone Hotel

The Gladstone is a historic building in Toronto. The venue has a small pub and stage on the main floor. This is the place to find great cover bands and enjoy a quality meal. There’s also karaoke on Saturday nights. Upstairs you’ll find hotel rooms you can book for the night. It’s a popular place so book well in advance.

the Fool Hearts playing at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto

2) C'est What

It’s easy to miss this bar. The signage is small, and you need to head down a large flight of stairs to the basement. It opens up to a dining area on one side, and a pub on the other. Live bands take over on Friday and Saturday nights.

interior of the C'est What bar

67 Front Street East

+1 416 867 9499


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3) Bovine Sex Club

The Bovine Sex Club is a must if you are into alternative music. It has been a staple in Toronto for years. This edgy dive bar is not the place to spend a quiet, relaxed evening. It’s gritty, yet vibrant. The Tiki patio bar is amazing.

woman playing guitar at the Bovine Sex Club

4) The Dakota Tavern

The Dakota Tavern has a unique Sunday brunch. For a 5 dollar cover at the door, you can enjoy bluegrass bands and purchase a tasty brunch meal. They serve a delicious cocktail called the Breakfast Mule: it’s a combo of vodka, ginger beer and grapefruit juice.

a band performing at the Dakota Tavern

5) The Garrison

The Garrison is small, dark and gritty. There’s a small stage, and table space is limited, but they feature an impressive line-up of up-and-coming bands. They play the music loud, so if you’re sensitive bring earplugs or purchase a pair from the bar.

a concert at the Garrison

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