The blues are alive and well in the Great White North. And the proof is in the venues listed below, the 35 best blues clubs in Canada.
We picked these amazing venues because they excel in one key area. The only area that really counts when it comes to the blues: passion.
All the venues in our rundown have a passion for live blues music.
It doesn’t matter if the club is dedicated to the blues or occasionally schedules blues acts.
What matters is the quality of their blues bookings.
We only included venues that steadfastly believe the blues is an important and necessary art form. The following clubs don’t book blues musicians to appease their bottom line, they book blues musicians to appease their soul.
Besides a passion for the blues, which was most important, we also used online sentiment, reviews, social media, types of bookings, ambiance, and reputation as criteria too.
Included in every entry is a list of blues artists. These lists are a small representation of the kinds of dedicated musicians each venue has welcomed to its stage in the past.
229 5 Avenue West
Bow Island, AB
You'll know that you've reached the Bow Theatre, home of Blues at the Bow, by the neon bow and arrow erected over the entrance. Here, you'll encounter a blues joint that combines the pristine acoustics of a performance venue with the atmosphere of a neighborhood bar. One more thing, when you visit Blues at the Bow, make sure you bring your dancing shoes.
1429 9th Avenue Southeast
Blues fans in Calgary are lucky. They live near one of Canada’s best live music venues, The Blues Can. Every night, there’s at least one gig at TBC. Their acoustics and sight lines will please even the most demanding of live music fans. Also pleasing is their dark and intimate atmosphere. It’s perfect for enjoying the blues.
The Blues Can. Image courtesy of blues club’s Facebook page.
8793 River Road South
Don’t be confused if blues fans refrain from using the name Historic Dewdney Pub. Patrons usually refer to this place as the “Church of the Blues.” HDP earned the honorific because their building was originally a church (opened in 1912) and they organize the epic Sunday Blues Jam. This rural venue also serves the coldest beer and the most scrumptious dishes.
10329 82 Avenue
Blues on Whyte is situated in the same building as the Commercial Hotel. So, you can indulge in live blues, and over indulge on other things, without worrying about driving home. BOW welcomes national and local talent. Their Saturday afternoon blues jam is a favorite among hardcore supporters of the blues.
1 Blue Goose Street
Every Sunday, from 4pm to 7:30pm, fly to The Blue Goose Tavern and enjoy “Blues at The Goose.” After the set, enjoy a game of pool or shuffleboard. You can also watch the broadcast of the Blue Jays and/or Argonauts game. You’ve probably seen this "Hidden Gem in Mimico" before. It's been used as a backdrop in nearly two dozen movies and television shows.
830 Muskoka Road South
Who’s played at Peter’s Players? It’s almost easier to list blues legends who haven’t played there. Nonetheless, Jimmie Vaughn, Johnny Winter, Taj Mahal, and Cameo Blues Band have all jammed at Peter’s. The venue’s namesake is the extradentary impresario Peter Swanek. He opened his blues mecca in 2000.
1269 Barrington Street
As their name implies, Bearly's House of Blues and Ribs is home to great live blues and super-delicious ribs. Of course, Bearly’s is so much more than that. It’s an accepting community haunt where people of all persuasions enjoy live music and yummy victuals. On Wednesdays, BHBR hosts a comedy hour and karaoke.
1685 Argyle Street
The Carleton Music Bar & Grill is the brain child of Mike Campbell and Mike Rhodes. Their passion and expertise have created one of Canada’s top performance spaces. This is the premiere destination if you’re into the blues, or just appreciate amazing live music. Founded in 2008, Carleton has already filled its proverbial mantle with “venue of the year” awards.
635 King Street East
Connie Rouble, the Mississippi Queen, is an actual Mississippi native. She founded Mississippi Queen Foods to bring a bit of the American South, especially “Southern Cooking,” to The Golden Horseshoe. When she’s not making Canadians’ mouths water, she’s booking musicians skilled in making the blues.
574 Lancaster Street West
The Lancaster Smokehouse cooks up scrumptious southern style barbeque and sensational blues. Their meats (as well as their beer and wine) are locally sourced. All their ingredients are super fresh, and their meals are made from scratch. You’ll leave TLS with a full stomach and indelible blues licks ringing in your ears.
190 Wortley Road
If you’re looking for a blues club to take the entire family to, you’ve found it. The Wortley Roadhouse is a friendly, neighborhood establishment that serves terrific food and books gifted musicians, most of whom are proficient in the art of blues. At WR, you can dance to live tunes, watch the big game, or unwind under the sun on their inviting patio.
23840 River Road
Maple Ridge, BC
About 45 minutes east of Vancouver, you’ll find Kingfishers Waterfront Bar & Grill. Billed as Maple Ridge’s first gastropub, this lake-adjacent pub and restaurant consistently attracts top talent to the area. That’s especially true during their legendary Maple Ridge Friday Night Blues. Stay the weekend because Saturday they host Date Night, a showcase that focuses on original music.
105 Lakeshore Road East
Roc'n Doc's Live Music Grill serenades the soul with dynamic live music—a lot of it blues or blues related—and satisfies the appetite with memorable morsels and libations. Whether you come for some 12-bar blues, or some other kind of music, you’ll enjoy Roc’n Doc’s laidback atmosphere and affable servers.
212 St. George Street
Moncton, New Brunswick
Okay… Plan b Lounge is not dedicated to the blues, and yes, blues concerts are few and far between. It’s on our list because it’s such a wonderful live music venue. Plan b books top local, regional, and national acts. Founded in 2009, this “little room with a big heart” has already won the coveted MNB "Venue of the Year" award multiple times.
1627, rue Saint-Denis
Early shows, those before 9pm, are free. All they ask is that you tip the performers. Once 9pm strikes, there’s a cover charge, but Bistro à Jojo is worth the cost. The world-famous Bistro à Jojo was established in 1975 and welcomes live musicians seven days a week. Their cozy venue comfortably seats 100.
885 Bank Street
Irene’s Pub was founded in 1985 under the leadership of Irene Corey. Today, IP is owned and operated by Kara-Lee and Alex Golota. Since its inception, Irene’s Pub has been passionate about live music and dedicated to their community. Lofty words frequently used to describe Irene’s Pub include “special,” “soulful,” and “spiritual.
76 Murray Street
You don’t often hear blues venues described this way: Rainbow Bistro has a “chalet” atmosphere. In other words, there’s a lot of exposed brick, plenty of timber, a fire place, and two stories. In Ottawa, The Rainbow Bistro is the home of the blues. They schedule free matinees five days a week.
67 Colourful Front Street
The Dream Café Penticton is more than a live music venue. It’s a community. When you visit this colorful Colorful Front Street establishment, you’ll be surrounded by music lovers and cordial revelers. Their marque is frequently graced by blues practitioners as well as artists proficient in rock, folk, jazz, world, and spoken word. Founder Pierre Couture has created an unforgettable place to hang out and take it easy.
1087, rue St-Jean
How best to describe Saint Alexandre Pub? How about an “authentic English pub.” As for live music, SAP has it going on, and by that we mean they book live music Monday through Sunday. Blues artists are frequently on their calendar as well as those skilled in jazz, folk, and pop. Their dishes and pours will definitely enhance your listening enjoyment.
817 Broadway Avenue
The legendary Buds on Broadway might as well change their name, every Saturday from 3pm to 8pm, to “Blues on Broadway.” That’s when they host Saturday Jam Session. This weekly event is a staple in Saskatoon’s blues community. Come to hear mind-blowing music, or bring your axe and trade licks with mind-blowing musicians. BOB also serves great food and drink.
2409 Yonge Street
Alleycatz Restaurant Lounge welcomes a variety of artists to Yonge Street and that includes bona fide blues men and women. Every Wednesday at 7pm, Andrew "VooDoo" Walters hosts Midtown Blues Jam. Alleycatz is a handsome venue with superb lighting, exciting accents, and elegant stone work. Their menu is the cat’s meow.
1296 Queen Street West
Cadillac Lounge is a lot of things. It’s a blues venue, bar, restaurant, and community member. What’s it like at the Cadillac Lounge? Paraphrasing what owner Sam Grosso wrote on his establishment’s website, it’s a place where you might hear Hank Williams on the jukebox while Dean Martin and Johnny Cash tip back a few at the bar.
403 Roncesvalles Avenue
Every night, Gate 403 Bar & Grill brings outstanding live music to the Roncesvalles Village. Most of the acts they book play blues or jazz. Gate 403 is a classy establishment; it has the feel of a piano bar. While you’re there, enjoy a selection from their incredible menu as well as a refreshing cocktail or two.
379 Spadina Avenue
You can’t have a list of the top blues clubs in Canada and not include Grossman’s Tavern. It was founded in 1943 and is often referred to as the “Home of the Blues.” Grossman’s also books folks, jazz, rock, and roots acts. The best part about GT is there’s never a cover charge.
2261 Dundas Street West
Hugh’s Room Live is all about diversity. They book an array of distinguished musicians including renowned blues masters. Meanwhile, their kitchen serves a diverse range of savory dishes. HRL is the perfect size, artists have ample room to perform, but it’s small enough to still feel intimate.
Performance at Hugh’s Room Live. Image courtesy of blues club’s Facebook page.
1298 Danforth Avenue E
The Linsmore Hotel books bands on Friday and Saturday nights. At the time of comprising this list, Blues Sunday was being held down by Jermone Tucker Band. Besides great live music, The Linsmore also offers dart boards, several large-screen televisions, and a pool table. The hotel opened in 1934.
299 King Street West
N'Awlins Jazz Bar & Grill is a quaint and cozy music venue that’s also a fantastic place to grab a bite to eat. Their menu leans towards Cajun, Creole, and Italian fare. Despite having “jazz” in their name, N’Awlins frequently schedules talented men and women who perform the blues.
580A College Street
The Oribit Room is just plain cool. Not only can you catch amazing blues acts, you can also catch acts specializing in jazz, funk, and rock. Situated in T.O.’s “Little Italy” neighborhood, The Orbit Room was founded in 1994 by Tim Notter and Alex Lifeson. Yes, that Alex Lifeson, the guy from the rock band Rush.
194 Queen Street West
Yes, The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar is known more for the former than the latter, but it attracts enough blues artists to make our list. The Rex opened in 1951 and has been a premiere live music venue since the late 1980s. Listen to music, dine on remarkable food, and imbibe liberally. You can always sleep it off in your own hotel room.
4470 Main Street
Come to Cottage Bistro to relax, enjoy a beverage, and experience ear-pleasing live music. On Saturday night, CB hosts a can’t-miss Blues & Root Jam. Although this list is about blues clubs, we should probably mention that they dedicate Mondays to jazz. CB is proud of having Vancouver’s best selection of single malt Scotch.
Performance at Cottage Bistro. Image courtesy of blues club’s Facebook page.
898 West Broadway
The Fairview Pub is a good-looking venue that consistently plots a robust lineup of live entertainment. They made our rundown because blues artists regularly grace their venerated stage. In between sets, enjoy quality libations or shoot some stick on one of their pool tables.
162 Water Street
This Vancouver institution is amazing. Pourhouse Vancouver Restaurant’s food is to die for and their beverages are divine. They serve wine, beer, and coffee—try all three. Musically, their marquee is devoted to an eclectic mix of artists, but they generally focus on blues, jazz, and folk. The Pourhouse resides in a building that’s north of a century and contains a 38-foot bar.
238 Abbott Street
Thanks to Revel Restaurant & Lounge, the blues are alive and well in Vancouver’s Gastown district. Also thriving are the genres of jazz, roots, and rockabilly. Tuesday through Saturday, from 4pm to 6pm, Revel hosts a set of boogie piano. Enjoy the music while sipping on a selection from their Bourbon-rich cocktail menu.
1300 Granville Street
The used to be THE place in for blues in Vancouver but they have unfortunately stopped their blues shows and jams. But we thought they deserved a mention. The Yale Saloon is a "country blues BBQ." At the heart of what they do is their penchant for “Southern comfort cookin’.” Yale also boasts a mechanical bull, an attentive staff, and plenty of room to host your event or party.
234 Main Street
Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club is known as “Winnipeg’s finest honk tonk.” That means you can catch solid bluesmen as well as rock, country, and roots artists. Times Change(d) has a dive bar feel but it wears that description like a badge of honor. While you’re there, make sure you sample their menu. You won’t be disappointed.
Performance at Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club. Image courtesy of blues club’s Facebook page.