Things to do in Vancouver

Discover the Best Live Music Bars in Vancouver

Live music bars in Vancouver feature jazz, rock, indie, and every other genre of music. Find your perfect live music venue today!

When composing a list of the best things to do in Vancouver, the nightlife category has a whole lot to offer. There are so many fantastic live music bars in the city that it’s difficult to know which ones to visit in the limited time you have.

After much soul-searching, we’ve narrowed the list to 14 of the best. Join us on our tour of the best live music in Vancouver.

Jazz and Blues Enthusiasts

Vancouver’s jazz and blues clubs are the home of smooth melodies and lyrics that tug at your heartstrings. We recommend adding at least one of these venues to your list of things to do in Vancouver. There's nothing like sipping on a craft cocktail while listening to a sultry jazz vocalist or tapping your feet to the rhythm of a blues guitar.

Photographer: Jens Thekkeveettil

1. Guilt & Company

At Guilt & Company, you can enjoy almost any genre of music, from bluegrass and folk to blues, Afrofunk, and grunge. This venue hosts two shows every day, seven days a week, so it’s easy to fit in a visit. Come for the first show and get home to bed at a sensible hour, or stay up late to tap your toes into the night.

The venue doesn’t take reservations. If you want a good seat, you need to turn up early, but honestly, that’s no hardship. Enjoy premium classic cocktails while you wait for the act to warm up or grab some grub from the kitchen. The menu at Guilt & Company includes everything from vegan tacos to pulled pork.

2. Frankie's Jazz Club

Frankie’s Jazz Club hosts live performances every week, Thursday through Sunday. Sometimes, you catch a local act making its debut. On other nights, internationally renowned musicians grace the stage. It’s the best of jazz and blues in Vancouver.

The club has about 100 seats, and you can book your table in advance. While Frankie's opens its doors at 6:30 p.m., the show doesn't start until 8 p.m., giving you plenty of time to order some house-made Italian cuisine before the music begins.

3. The Yale Saloon

If you love country music, you’ll adore The Yale Saloon. It offers line dancing every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so pull on your cowboy boots and come on down! There are even bull-riding contests some nights. Are you adventurous enough to give it a try? We'll cheer you on!

Some locals like incorporating The Yale Saloon into the famous Granville Pub Crawl. There are a lot of great bars in this area, so it would be a shame to limit yourself to just one. On the other hand, line dancing can be addictive, and once it starts, you won't want to leave. As collaborators with the Universal Music Group Nashville, we love a good hoedown, and The Yale Saloon definitely delivers.

The food here is inexpensive and hearty. We recommend the bucket of ribs, but if you're seriously hungry, order the full rack. Just don’t get so full that you can’t move on the dance floor later!

Rock and Indie Vibes

Vancouver’s rock and indie clubs are where the cool kids hang out. Explore the raw energy of punk rock and the dreamy pop vibes in these hot and happening live music bars. Get ready for head-banging guitar solos and ethereal vocals as we discover the latest indie acts and relive the glory days of rock 'n' roll.

Photographer: WikimediaImages

4. Commodore Ballroom

The Commodore Ballroom has been providing a stage to musicians for more than 90 years. Its elegant art deco design, sprung dance floor, and state-of-the-art sound system make it an ideal concert venue.

Over the years, it’s welcomed a wide range of stars, from the big bands of the early 20th century to David Bowie and Tina Turner. More recently, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have performed on the Commodore’s stage.

Today, the venue hosts more than 150 events each year. Book your tickets early, as they can sell out fast. If you choose premium seating, you’ll get access to the VIP appetizer menu, which will keep your taste buds as entertained as your ears.

Photographer: GoMobile Photography

5. Biltmore Cabaret

The Biltmore Cabaret has been a cornerstone of the community for more than 50 years. Some of the world’s biggest bands of all time have performed here, including The Beatles and Miles Davis. Despite its fame, the venue fell into obscurity for many years.

Following the revival of the historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood, the bar transformed in 2007. Today, the Biltmore Cabaret showcases talent from across Canada and beyond.

You won’t find restaurant meals here, but the bar sells popcorn and candy. Thankfully, Mount Pleasant is home to some of the best restaurants in Vancouver, so you have plenty of opportunities to get some dinner before settling in for a spectacular show.

6. Rickshaw Theatre

The Rickshaw Theatre boasts some of the best sight lines in the city, offering concert-goers an unparalleled experience. Since opening its doors in 2009, the venue has invested in upgrades to sound and lighting technology, so performances at the theatre today look sharp and sound exceptional.

Some of the hottest rock acts have performed on the venue's stage, including Dead Kennedys and Misfits. Check out the upcoming calendar, book your tickets, and get ready to rock.

For the size of the acts it pulls in, the Rickshaw Theatre is a surprisingly small venue. It has a maximum capacity of only around 1,000 people.

That means you get the thrill of being up close and intimate with some of your favorite stars. If you want to be right in the middle of the action, head for the pit standing area. For those who prefer to watch from a distance, balcony and ground-level seating are available.

7. The Roxy

The Roxy Vancouver features live music every night of the week. Each night has a genre or era theme. For example, Millennial Monday features hits from the mid-90s to the mid-2000s. The house band also takes requests, so you can dance the night away to your favorite tunes.

The band doesn't always take the stage on time, but some things are worth waiting for. Settle in and sip on some beverages as your anticipation builds. Once the band starts rocking, the venue's guests will dance until late into the night.

Drinks flow freely at The Roxy. The venue offers great deals on shots, and the Long Island iced teas are always doubles. Bring your friends, and make it a night to remember!

8. Fox Cabaret

The Fox Cabaret is a premier independent entertainment venue in Mount Pleasant. It regularly hosts dance music parties, drag nights, and rock concerts. The venue also features comedy nights that rival those of the best comedy clubs in Vancouver. Get yourself on the guest list and get ready to party until the early hours of the morning.

Electronic and DJ Sets

If pulsating nightclubs and underground dance parties are your thing, you’ll love the electronic music scene in Vancouver. Get ready to dance the night away, surrounded by state-of-the-art sound systems and world-class DJs spinning the hottest tracks in these venues. Let’s groove all night long!

Photographer: Antoine J.

9. Celebrities

Celebrities nightclub is on Davie Street at the west end of Downtown Vancouver. It's the hottest club in town, and it's open until 3 a.m. every Tuesday through Saturday.

Thursdays are devoted to K-pop, while Wednesdays are for Latin beats. In addition to the regular DJs, this spot also offers special live music events and drag shows.

10. Fortune Sound Club

The best DJs in Vancouver spin tracks at Fortune Sound Club on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Live musical performances take place on the other nights of the week. During the day, the club sometimes hosts art shows, pop-up shops, seminars, food fairs, and other community events.

Fortune Sound Club focuses on hip-hop, R&B, and electronic music. Sometimes, shows diversify into experimental sounds. It’s cool. It’s quirky. And it’s in the heart of Chinatown.

11. Astoria

The Astoria Hotel was built over 100 years ago, but it remains an important part of the Vancouver live music scene. The cozy on-site pub has a rustic feel, which makes it an ideal venue for live music acts. Order a drink, pull up a chair, and settle for great music.

Most of the music nights at the Astoria feature live bands, but it also hosts dance hall and dubstep events. Drinks are cheap, and entry is often free. Head on down to this iconic East Hastings Street venue to get your live music fix.

Unique and Eclectic

Some of the best live music in Vancouver can’t be categorized, and that’s how we like it! These venues host events that bring people together and build a real sense of solidarity—and they play some banging tunes, too.

12. The Cobalt

The Cobalt in Vancouver is the east side’s coolest music venue. Its exterior is unassuming, and its interior is no-frills, but the vibes are fantastic. This venue was founded in 1911, and its stage has seen everything from indie rock and punk to hip-hop and beyond. The club's layout lets you get up close and personal with the performers.

It regularly hosts a Battle of the Bands fundraiser to benefit the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Dance, sing, and cheer while doing some good to help those in need.

13. LanaLou's Rock n' Roll Eatery

LanaLou’s Rock n’ Roll Eatery is all about community. The owner-operator is passionate about live music and hospitality. Visit this venue for comfort food, served in a cozy environment that invites you to settle in for the evening. Musical performances range from blues to hard rock and cover everything in between.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet Lana, the music-loving patron herself. Every weekend, she invites local bands to perform in what is fast becoming one of the best small live music bars in Vancouver.

14. The Heatley

Happy Hour happens daily at The Heatley in East Vancouver from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. Food is served from 5 p.m. and includes healthy options alongside typical bar snacks and burgers.

The team strives to make everyone feel welcome. The bar also has a zero-tolerance policy toward any discrimination. Did you know The Heatley used to be a hardware store? The owner, Michael Brennan, worked hard to turn it into the cozy space it is today.

There’s a piano in the corner for musical performances, and an old jukebox fills in when live music isn’t available. Close your eyes and listen, or consider the fascinating mural by local artist Ola Volo.

Photographer: StillWorksImagery

Embracing Vancouver's Melodic Nights

Every performance eventually comes to an end. As the melodies fade away, it’s time to start planning your next live music experience.

Why not beat the post-gig blues by booking tickets to one of our shows in Vancouver? We combine music with jaw-dropping performances to create a show you’ll never forget. Our storytelling will have you on the edge of your seat as you watch our acrobats leap, soar, and dive across the stage. See you there.

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