Live Music Venues in Vancouver

Vancouver plays host to a music scene that's as diverse as its culture.

The Cellar

Nestled in the West Side's eclectic Kitsilano neighborhood, The Cellar Restaurant/Jazz Club offers an intimate, 70-person setting perfect for a sultry evening. Whether casual appreciator or aficionado, a night here promises to deliver much more than simply a fantastic martini list and a lusty dessert menu.

Once upon a Dream at the Cellar Nightclub by Raj TanejaOnce upon a Dream at the Cellar Nightclub by Raj Taneja

Backstage Lounge

From there, it's a short cab-ride past the twinkling facades of Broadway's restaurant-laden Greek quarter to Granville Island's Backstage Lounge. Located in the Granville Island Theatre, Backstage's patio buzzes with clusters of art students from the nearby Emily Carr College as they nest over tray-loads of microbrew beers. A proud patron of home-grown music, this gorgeous False Creek bar showcases a dilettantish mix of local talent against the breathtaking backdrop of the city and mountains.

False Creek Aquabus

Of course, if the allure of the urban lights proves irresistible, savour the view from aboard the False Creek Aquabus – a passenger ferry that shuttles to the city, providing an unforgettable panorama of Vancouver's magnificent, glimmering skyline. This transit service is wheelchair-accessible, runs daily from 9 am to 7pm and deposits passengers at several docks along the downtown Seawall every twenty minutes.

Granville Street 2009 by Gord McKennaGranville Street 2009 by Gord McKenna

The Yale Hotel

Disembarking, a north turn on popular Granville Street will find you in uber-trendy Yaletown. The Yale Hotel, a century-old area landmark, stands proud and ancient as the city's redbrick blues house. Over the years, it has played home to such legends as Long John Baldry, Koko Taylor and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The entrance, a portrait-collage of R&B royalty who have graced its smoky stage, lends a sense of reverence to this legendary tavern.

The Roxy & Commodore Ballroom Venues

Strolling further past Granville's bars, tattoo parlours and rock shops, you'll encounter two of Vancouver's most recognizable venues. The Roxy with its lipstick-red awning plies college rock, garage or even country, depending on the night in question. In contrast, a block away, the Commodore Ballroom, legendary Art Deco brainchild of Vancouver entrepreneur Drew Burns, has seen some of the greatest acts that the West Coast has ever hosted including David Bowie, Kiss, U2 and The Clash.

Torquil Campbell at Commodore Ballroom by hansonTorquil Campbell at Commodore Ballroom by hanson

The Blarney Stone

If you're cutting across town, it's worth traversing the eight blocks to discover the railyard-chic of Gastown. This cobble-stoned, gas-lit neighborhood is the heartbeat of Old Town Vancouver – A heartbeat whose cadence is kept by its world-famous whistling steamclock and its many pubs and bars. Weekend nights, The Blarney Stone pulses with Irish gaiety as Celtic house-bands accompany jovial patrons through pints of stout and drams of Single Malt.

The Blarney Stone by sugarcomaThe Blarney Stone by sugarcoma

Richards on Richards

Doubling back, a southbound stroll takes you past Richards on Richards. One of the city's largest venues in both size and reputation, it has featured some of the Pacific Coast's biggest acts for twenty years including Prince and Branford Marsalis. With 2 floors and a 1,200-person capacity, this legendary bar makes high-decibel memories with state-of-the-art light and audio, Sunday through Thursday.

Richards on Richards  by asbestoshazardRichards on Richards by asbestoshazard

Nietzsche said, "Without music, life would be a mistake."

Make no mistake, Vancouver's got life.

If you liked this introduction, be sure to read Soundcheck Vancouver, our complete guide to live music venues in the city!

4 Responses to “Live Music Venues in Vancouver”

  1. Black Bear Realty

    Hey Jay,
    Thanks for the nice words you left on our blog. Looked over both of your sites, and yes, Vancouver just might be the Asheville of BC. Only kidding of course, but both places do a good job of supporting live music from what we have heard.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Colin Grieve

    Dear Music Director(s),

    My name is Colin Grieve. I am a local Rock vancouver artist, I am launching my first CD called LIVE TO DIE FAMOUS,

    march 28th, at the Juno’s street party on grandville st. And I’d love to play any of your venues! If you’d like to physically veiw my CD I’d be more than happy to drop off a

    copy to your office, or you can check out 5 of the tunes on my myspace. If you’d like to hear the

    other 7 songs off of my album I can send them over or as I said drop off a CD. If you’d be interested in having us, and like what you

    hear, we’d love to open for one of your house bands, or play any night you’d have us. WE WILL PLAY FOR FREE, AND ANY COVERS REQUESTED BEFOREHAND, JUST TRYING TO MAKE A NAME FOR MYSELF.Please call me back at 604-

    374-1797, or e-mail at

    Thank you for your time,

    Colin Grieve

  3. conan

    Hello there,

    We are a new band looking to play some shows. We are currently recording at a very nice studio called Habitat and will have material to present in January.

    Not sure if you have bands playing at your venue, but we were wondering if you would maybe like us to play at your Venue anytime between now and December 12th? Or possibly in the near future, perhaps after the New Year.

    Our name is Little India and we are a Indie Rock/Indie Pop/alternative rock group who would love to play.

    We have nothing to show you right now, but I promise were not terrible. If you need us to make a video or something I’m sure we could.

    We would even like to open for bands if you have a band coming that needs an opener.

    Let me know what you think.

    Conan K
    of Little India

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