“Live music is the most primal form of energy release you can share with other people besides having sex or taking drugs.” ~ Kurt Cobain
Do not get me wrong, Montreal has tons of great DJs, but sometimes you need to hear the real thing. That’s right, actual musicians playing their songs live and who are touching or holding on to real instruments. Montreal is home to some rather large concert Venues like the Bell Centre, Place Des Arts, and Club Soda, to name a few, but Montreal is also home to many smaller venues that can equally rock your socks off.
These smaller venues do not solely serve as a concert hall or auditorium but rather stay afloat working as a café, bar, and restaurant, making them available and open throughout the week. Smaller venues also provide an excellent opportunity to catch some local bands or future stars in the making.
Watching your favorite band at the Bell Centre sitting high up in the stands can be satisfying, but when you visit one of these spots, you will be so close and personal that you can practically smell the sweat from their body. Montreal’s music scene is as diverse as its citizens, and you can always find a venue that plays your favorite genre.
We listed some of Montreal’s favorite Live music bars where the music takes center stage. If you would like to make reservations or plan a wild night in Montreal, please get in touch with Montrealnightlife.com, and you will be in good hands.
Location: 87 Rue Sainte-Catherine Est Montreal, QC, Canada H2X 1K5
Foufones Electriques is a stalwart on St. Catherine Boulevard, and since 1983 patrons have been leaving this institution stumbling and their ears buzzing. Foufs, as we call it, has hosted some incredible bands in its history despite the smaller venue size. Lucky music lovers in the past have seen Nirvana, Green Day, Queens of the Stone Age, and many more international artists. Cheap beer, low lighting, and fantastic music make it the place to be if you want to listen to metal, rock, and punk music all night long.
House of Jazz Laval
Location: 1639, Boul. de l’Avenir, Laval, QC, Canada, H7S 2N5
An excellent idea for a date night, the House of Jazz Laval offers up some tasty dishes and fantastic music to enjoy throughout the evening. Beautifully decorated, you will feel like you have been transported to New Orleans, and once the music hits your ears, it will sound like it too. There used to be two locations, but unfortunately the Pandemic lockdowns, their downtown location could not survive the hardships that befell it. It is worth the drive to Laval if you want to listen to live music played by real musicians who love their craft.
Casa del Popolo
Location: 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC, Canada, H2T 1R6
I remember watching Montreal’s ever popular The Damn Truth at Casa Del Popolo, and the sheer intimacy you can share with the live band was incredible. You can feel every note played through your soul, and you can have some sweet cocktails or have a bite to eat, too. Casa del Popolo has brought many bands to St. Laurent Boulevard in Mile End. They also host their Alternative Music Festival, “Suoni per il Popolo” (Sounds for the People).
Location:2040 rue Saint-Denis Montreal, QC, Canada H2X 1E7
Sergio Da Silva loves music, and after his time being a member of the band Trigger Effect, he opened up his own little concert venue. Turbo Haus has many personalities, including concert venues, restaurants, café, and bars. This versatile joint is perfect for getting up close and personal with the bands and simultaneously satisfying all your other needs. Live bands generally perform from Thursday to Saturday, and you can expect plenty of rock, punk, alternative, and other auditory delights, and remember, no moshing!
Hurleys Irish Pub
Location: 1225 Crescent Street, Montreal, QC, Canada, H3G 2B1
For thirty years, Hurley’s has become one of the city’s most iconic Irish Pubs and visiting them on Saint Patrick’s Day is an experience all unto itself. Hurley’s Irish Pub is home to over fifteen beers on tap, a half-century’s worth of scotches, and plenty of whiskey you can enjoy listening to a live act every night on Peel Street. Food is also on the menu. If you had too many beers and need a quick pick me up too. You never know. You might catch Bob Dern and Alan Doyle picking up a guitar and turning your night into a magical one. Hurleys also host open mic and stand-up comedy nights if you are looking for some laughter.
Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill
Location: 1254 Mackay Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 2H4
Our great city attracts thousands of jazz music lovers every year when the Montreal International Jazz Festival happens every summer but that does not mean the music has to stop when it is done. Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill keeps the funky friths in full flow all year-round hosting bands and artists from Wednesday to Saturday. You can enjoy some of their tasty grilled seafood and meat options to go along with your jazz music. Not all performances are free and require tickets or a surcharge on your bill, with varying prices depending on the artist performing. Whether you are looking to set the mood with a hot date or want to lose yourself in the music, this is a great option.
Bistro a JoJo
Location: 1627, rue Saint-Denis Montreal, QC, Canada H2X3K3
For fifty years Bistro a JoJo has hosted musical artists from all around the province and nation wide. Quebecois stars like Eric Lapointe have performed and used the Bistro a JoJo to launch their new albums. Live acts perform every night; you might catch an upcoming band before anyone has heard of them there. Get the best in rock, blues, and folk music in an intimate setting you can appreciate every time you catch a show. There are plenty of drinking options but do not expect any food so grab a bite or two before heading there.