When on the hunt for a place to catch a bit of live music around town, one thing’s for certain: there’s no shortage of venues. Vancouver boasts plenty of amazing spaces loaded with the perfect marriage of ambiance and energy that truly bring top-notch live performances to life. We’ve rounded up a few of our own top picks below…
Located on Granville Island, this venue has long been a hit for local and touring bands – and for good reason. We love it for recently renovated – casual vibe and waterfront location. Bands love it for the cozy, intimate setting and ample stage area. It doesn’t get more ‘Vancouver’ than this. Checkout our video that we did on the Backstage Lounge experience here.
Fox Cabaret This spot opened after much anticipation several years ago and hasn’t lost steam in terms of popularity since. Located off Main Street amidst a hub of activity and popular cafes and restaurants – its got its own creative vibe thanks to the collaborative efforts of some of Vancouver’s top artists – and perfect multi floor mix of style.
Open and featuring live music every day of the week, the Libra Room is a definite must when on the hunt for a great location to catch stellar tunes. You’ll find it located in the heart of Commercial Drive – boasting its own eclectic sense of style and an assorted mix of locally sourced décor (a new artist is featured every month). We got the chance to checkout what a night is like at the Libra Room in this video here.
Nestled in amongst the tony shops of South Granville – and just a few blocks up from the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre is this neighbourhood hot spot that doubles as a live venue for local musicians every Friday. With a large lounge area and ample, causal seating, Friday Nights have become a huge hit with smaller bands gracing the stage with a mix of pop, rock and blues.
One of our favorite spots to hit up for a mix of great food blended with entertainment; Calabash has been a hit amongst those craving Caribbean cuisine with a side of live music in Gastown. Self-described as “a vessel that supports food, drink, art, and music”, Calabash does just that to a tee: featuring a roster of amazing reggae-style musical acts on a weekly basis while also playing host to Foundation Radio an online radio station that plays roots, reggae, jazz, blues, Old School Hip Hop, R&B, Motown and funk music.
We’d be remiss not to note this classic venue for live music. The Commodore Ballroom (affectionately dubbed ‘The Commodore’ by most) has been around for more than 80 years and is pretty much synonymous with Vancouver’s live music scene. Many a famous name has graced the stage and it’s landed on Billboard Magazines list of Top 10 Most Influential Clubs in North America for a reason.
Another one of our favorite Gastown spots we head to when a live music craving hits is Guilt & Company (find it just below Chill Winston). Here you’ll score a mix of local musicians and bands playing everything from Afro-funk to chilled out Jazz to unique spoken word beats. Wednesday’s are packed with their popular ‘Sweet + Hot’ event that rolls out starting at 9:30PM weekly. Here is a video we did on one of their nights!
This is a classic old school spot to head to when on the hunt for a place that’s a bit off the beaten track. Federico’s is first and foremost an Italian restaurant serving up simple, authentic dishes –but it also happens to double as live music venue with space enough to get your groove on, should the tune fit. Head here if you’re looking to catch a throwback tribute or one of their monthly special guest performers. Checkout what the experience is like in this video.
This venue might not jump off the radar for you – but it should. Lobby Lounge at Fairmont Hotel’s Pacific Rim location is a must-do if you’re looking for a casual-classy spot to land for great live music coupled with top-notch cocktails. Whether it’s after a long day of shopping downtown or after a casual stroll along the seawall, it’s a great venue for kicking back and relaxing while taking in great tunes (not to mention a side order of people watching).