Linsmore Tavern

Linsmore Tavern has a reputation that precedes it. Much as I would with a blind date, I do a quick Google search prior to heading over. There's a Chowhound post: a query by someone who was looking for real dives in the city. The responses have Linsmore Tavern described as "a historic hotel and a real dump," colourful but not "dangerous" enough, and famous for its $1 draft beer. Unlike some of the other places, there are zero mentions of murderers, whores, or junkies. An old photograph, circa 1945, paints the Linsmore as a rather sad, unsexy hotel. I approached my destination with trepidation--understandably, I thought.

Well, they lied. Not the part about the hotel, or its lack of luster, or the $1 draft beer, but the part about its bleakness. People had made it sound like a dive too lukewarm to be actually unsavoury, but I found the Linsmore to be a sweet kind of place. It's almost wholesome. Really.

Having been on the block for almost 80 years, the Linsmore is something of an institution amongst locals. It's across the street from a "model recruitment" agency that could feature in Taken 3 , and marked with an unimpressive sign that does far less in identifying the spot than its smoking regulars. The only sounds heard inside are the clinking of pint glasses and banter; no music, at least not at first. The bartender and owner, Ryan, is easily the youngest guy in the room.

I inquire about the dollar-draft (it's actually $1.15 for a seven-ounce glass of Labatt 50; not exactly the cheap thrill I was expecting, but cute nonetheless). The space is generous in size. The unremarkable wooden furniture, the decades-old couches in the back room, and a wooden deer's head anchored on the wall are by no means fashionable, but who cares on this end of the Danforth ?

Aesthetic shortcomings aside, there's very little to dislike about the Linsmore. You'd be hard-pressed finding a more agreeable bunch than the regulars on this Monday night. People here will remember your name, and pay for your drinks (just be sure to return the favour). Chairs and tables are pulled up to make more room, and unbelievable stories are exchanged.

I'm invited to play darts. I say I'm not very good and don't want to ruin their good time. "Don't be silly," they reply. I'm with two other girlfriends, so they deem our team Charlie after the eponymous television series. There's a banker, an Irishman, Hulk Hogan's twin brother in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and Axl Rose's red bandanna. A woman with a voice scratchier than Tom Waits ' teaches me the proper stance in dart throwing. In the face of my incompetence she jokes: "maybe we'd get you over there instead." She points towards the pool table at the back.

The Linsmore's a good place for those who like to romanticize; in fact, on the night I'm there, some guy claiming to be scouting locations for a movie shows up. Almost any idiosyncrasy can be justified--made charming, even--by its age, having served since 1934. I tell Ryan that I love the place. He frowns at me worriedly. "Really? I was thinking of fixing it up. Maybe a patio. A real menu. Or new furniture."

The only new thing acquired in the past decade--a giant, touchscreen jukebox that jars horribly with the Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Ray Vaughn it plays--glows in the corner, alien and anachronistic. It's the only genuinely ugly thing about the bar. "Don't change a thing," I reply.

Linsmore Tavern

Leaflet | © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap Improve this map

Join the conversation Load comments

Linsmore Tavern

Linsmore Tavern

19 Upcoming Events
About the Event
  • March 28

    Eli Martin and Frase will be playing an acoustic set of songs from their band Marinol Nation, as part of the Linsmore's Steam Whistle Indie night line-up. More info will be posted as other bands playing and so forth.

  • March 31 - April 1

    PBA brings you another night of punk rock madness at The Linsmore Tavern. We got a sick line up of some local bands so this one is gonna be a party. Bring your dancing shoes and lets turn up!

    Piffbreak Arcade

    Ruthless Ones

    Copper Crown


    The Linsmore Tavern

    1298 Danforth Ave

    Toronto, ON

    8pm 19 $10 at the door

  • April 1

    Saturday April 1st is April Fools Day and the band that will be performing on that evening at the Linsmore Tavern 1298 Danforth Ave is definitely Nobody's Fool! One of our personal favourites and a band that knows how to deliver a show, Riff Raff are making their return to Rock the Linsmore again! With so many requests and absolutely tearing down the house with their past shows, it's fantastic that we are able to bring them back for another show! Riff Raff is one of the best party band's you will ever see and hear live! With such a great set-list that will have you up dancing, Riff Raff delivers such a high energy show, that everyone in the room loves to be a part of! Riff Raff does not play many live shows anymore, so when you get a chance to see them, take advantage of it!

    The band that didn't sleep with your grandma, but would. These guys play covers think Zeppelin to Prince to Madonna to The White Stripes played by a band raised by wolves and they'll get to the gig in a truck that goes a rockin' 62 km/h. Considered one of the best live bands in all of Toronto, there has been many requests to bring these guys in and here they are again! Featuring charismatic frontman Pat LoRe who is an absolute wildman with a mic, he's the type of frontman that will have you entertained and dancing along with the amazing music that Riff Raff plays!

    If you are looking for a high energy night and a band that's going to put on an incredible live show that will have you up and dancing, then this is the night for you! The show starts at 9:30pm, so arrive early because the place will be packed and you will not want to miss one minute of this show, $5 at the door!

  • April 4

    Please join us for a Songwriter Showcase at the Linsmore Tavern featuring Tory Cassis, Murray Foster, and Matt Bentley. No cover.

    8pm - Matt Bentley w/ Trevor Owen

    9pm - Murray Foster

    10pm - Tory Cassis

    Tory Cassis is a Toronto based artist. Juno nominated for his debut recording Anywhere But Here, Tory has always been an eclectic writer and performer with influences that include folk, pop, classic soul, jazz and blues. As members of local trio The Lesters, longtime collaborators, Tory and Murray Foster along with pianist Jeff Ulster are preparing the release of their anticipated EP of all new material due this summer.

    Murray Foster is a musician, songwriter, director, teacher, and entrepreneur. Murray spent thirteen years as the bass player for the Newfoundland band Great Big Sea, and prior to that was a founding member of the Toronto group Moxy Fruvous. Murray is currently a songwriting professor at Seneca College. In 2015, a song he wrote for the band Fortunate Ones called Lay Me Down spent three weeks at #1 on the CBC Radio 2 Top 20. Murray also plays upright bass in the jazz trio The Lesters.

    Matt Bentley is a long time Toronto musician best known for performing with traditional singer-songwriter Daniel McLaughlin. Over the last 2 years Matt has turned his attention to songwriting and is looking forward to performing his original songs. Matt will is accompanied by Trevor Owen on guitar.

  • April 7

    Friday April 7th, the Linsmore Tavern1298 Danforth Ave is extremely excited to welcome back Toronto's Grooviest Band, Grvoria back for a night of Funky Fridays! Gruvoria played a sold-out show last year and with an overwhelming response, we had to bring them and their Funk back to the Linsmore Tavern, for a full night of Grvoria! Fans of Jambands, this is your type of band as they will definitely bring the groove to the Linsmore and have you up and dancing all night!

    Gruvoria is the brainchild of guitarist Blair Purdy, a karate Sensei and incredibly rangeful musician who is inspired by the primordial legends of jazz-funk.

    Covering songs written by James Brown, The Meters, Prince, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed, The Foo Fighters, John Scofield, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, along with inter stellar Original Compositions Gruvorias explosive performances showcase the bands deep musical chemistry through Purdys combustible sonic vision.

    Gruvorias festival and club resume includes the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, the Beaches Jazz Festival Toronto, the Festival of Friends Hamilton, Lula Lounge, the Trane Studio, Paintbox Bistro, Supermarket. They have shared the stage with the likes of Elizabeth Shepherd, Souljazz Orchestra, Kobo Town, Burnt Sugar, Four80East, and Freak Motif. Marathon late-night Gruvoria shows at Lorraines Cool Jazz Joint are the stuff of underground legend in Toronto.

    If you like Funk, you will definitely love Gruvoria so make sure you come out to see this show, as they will not disappoint! Arrive early because the house will be full! 9:30pm, $5 Cover at the door!

  • April 8

    It's been almost a year since the Linsmore Tavern has had an AC/DC Tribute band perform, so we think it's about time to be THUNDERSTRUCK again! Saturday April 8th, the Linsmore Tavern is so excited to welcome Hell N Back and their Tribute to AC/DC! Hell N Back has been around for a long time and they definitely know how to deliver a high-energy, precise Tribute to one of the most popular Hard Rock bands of all time whose career has lasted over 40 years, AC/DC! AC/DC fans get ready for a Hard-Rockin' party at the Linsmore Tavern!

    Formed in 2014 and calling the Greater Toronto area home, 'Hell N Back' have taken on the huge task of reproducing both eras of AC/DC. Embracing the musicians they respect and look up to, 'Hell N Back' deliver multiple sets of high energy rock and roll all while honouring the legendary Australian band.

    The enthusiasm and knowledge of the music is undeniable, not to mention it's always fun at the shows. Armed with a fierce dual guitar attack, strong rhythm section, and vocals that pay tribute to both eras, the inexhaustible vigor complements the music and presentation. With intensity and passion we respectfully reproduce a live AC/DC show.

    With a varied, ever growing setlist and enough power exuding from the Marshall amps to keep any sized venue rocking into the early morning hours, there is something for every AC/DC fan.

    This show is going to be a fast-seller, so get your tickets now! Tickets are only $5 in advance, $10 at the door! You can buy tickets at the bar or at

  • April 13

    Pre Easter Piss Up....

    A tradition... before you do whatever you do on the Easter long weekend, join us for Covers, originals and more. Great Can Con Tragically Hip, 54-40 and originals along with tonnes of other classic and new rock.

  • April 14

    Friday April 14th, the Linsmore Tavern is excited to welcome back one our most popular tribute nights featuring 3 Tributes all in one night, which everyone can't get enough off, 1977 Punk Rock Blitzorama 8! This is such a great night of music and these group of musicians have SOLD-OUT seven straight shows at the Linsmore! This time the Tributes for 1977 Punk Rock Blitzorama 8 include The Blanks Tribute to The Music of CBGBs, The Jammed Tribute to The Jam and Blondee and their Tribute to Blondie! Be apart of this special evening of music and check out the amazing atmosphere whenever these 3 bands play together!

    The Blanks - songs of CBGB will be performing part of this evening and will be playing music of punk rock during the late 1970's, whose bands would frequently play at New York's most famous club, CBGB's! You will hear the songs of such great CBGB era bands like Talking Heads, Misfits, Patti Smith, Devo, The Ramones, The Police, Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, The Cramps, B-52's, Television, The Dictators, Teenage Head, Dead Boys, Viletones and many more!! The band includes world class musicians - Cleave Anderson - Drums, Tim Jackson - Bass, Lucas Stagg - Vocals, Guitar.

    Formed in 2013, The Jammed is a tribute act to punk/mod-revival band THE JAM. Playing lightening-fast covers, this Toronto-based trio recreates the high-energy and style of The Jam in the late 1970's, wearing tailored suits rather than ripped clothes. The trio was known for their melodic pop songs, strong harmonies, distinctive English flavour and mod image. Their music is infused with beat music, soul, rhythm and blues, psychedelic rock, as well as 1970's punk and new wave. THE JAMMED are: Cleave Anderson formerly of Blue Rodeo, drums; Lucas Stagg Lucas Stagg Band on bass and vocals, and Richard McCarthy aka Filthy Rich, vocals and guitar.

    Formed in 2014, Blondee - Blondie Tribute is a tribute act to American rock band Blondie, founded by Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. Blondie was a pioneer in the early American new wave and punk scenes of the mid 1970s. BLONDEE is a four piece act that scales down the hits and earlier punk songs of Blondie to their bare bones, working with only vocal, one guitar, bass and drums. Sara Dishart captures the power and sultriness of Harry's voice, in addition to being inspired by Blondie's style and dress on stage. BLONDEE are: Sara Dishart, vocals; Cleave Anderson, drums, Lucas Stagg, bass and vocals; Richard McCarthy aka Filthy Rich, guitar and vocals.

    Get you tickets now because, this show is definitely in demand!! 3 unbelievable Tribute Bands in one night and the Tickets are only $5 in advance and $10 at the door! You can buy your tickets at Linsmore Tavern or at

  • April 15

    Not a day goes by without the Linsmore Tavern receiving requests to bring back Idioteque and their incredible tribute to Radiohead! Well we are excited to announce that for the first time in 2017, Idioteque: Canada's finest Radiohead tribute band is making their triumphed return to the Linsmore Tavern on Saturday April 15! idioteque is an incredible show and their previous 3 shows at the Linsmore Tavern were absolute gems! You have to see this band in an intimate setting to get the feel of what they deliver and the atmosphere that they create! Idioteque does not play many shows, but when they do you better make sure you make it out to see them, especially if you are a Radiohead fan! Canada's finest Radiohead Tribute Band, accurately recreates recorded versions from all 8 studio albums a few B-sides.

    Founded in 2010, Torontos best and busiest musicians dare to take on Radioheads most challenging material and all the classic hits, accurately recreating true-to-recorded versions, spanning ALL of Radioheads studio albums, plus some B-sides and rarities.

    Having gained a huge following in a very short time, and selling out the majority of shows they play including their last show at the Linsmore Tavern in December of 2015, Idioteque blows audiences away with their high-energy performances, attention to detail, and passion for the music.

    Don Scott - lead vocals, guitar;

    Jessica Stuart - guitar, vocals;

    Charles Tilden - guitar;

    Teri Parker - keyboards;

    Liam Smith - bass;

    Ernesto Cervini - drums, vocals

    There is always a ton of buzz around Idioteque's shows, so make sure you buy your tickets now because this will sell out! Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. You can buy tickets at the bar or at

  • April 22

    Saturday April 22 is going to be a real special night for all of you Led Zeppelin fans out there, as the Linsmore Tavern is excited to welcome for the very first time, Zepology and their tribute to Led Zeppelin's live masterpiece, "A Song Remains The Same"! Led Zeppelin fans, this is absolutely a MUST-SEE show as Zepology will take you through note for note precision and a musical tribute to Rock n' Roll's BEST Live Performance: "The Song Remains the Same"! Zepology will also perform a second set of the hits of Led Zeppelin!

    The band features:

    Nello Virdo - Vocals

    Garry McDougall - Lead Guitar

    Tim Haynes - Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Back-Up Vocals

    Chris Henry - Drums

    So Led Zeppelin fans, classic rock fans you do not wan to miss A musical tribute to Led Zeppelin's historical movie soundtrack. The 1973's tour album "The Song Remains The Same" and many more from Zeppelin's catalogue!! Tickets are only $8 in advance, $10 at the door! You can buy tickets at the bar or at

  • April 27

    We're thrilled to be heading back to The Linsmore Tavern and bringing our special brand of rock n' roll nostalgia ... singing songs about life, love, happiness and heartbreak!

    The Linsmore Tavern is a great live music venue conveniently located next to Greenwood subway station on Danfort Ave. in Toronto's East End!

    We've got a fine crew for this one including:

    Eric Brombacher on vocals and guitar

    Ken Yoshioka on guitar and harmnoica

    Craig Robertson on bass guitar and harmony vocals

    Dino Naccarato on drums

    We look forward to seeing you there!

  • April 28

    Friday April 28, the Linsmore Tavern is very excited to welcome back Robbie Rox and his Power Quintet for another their yearly live show at the Linsmore Tavern! Robbie Rox and The Power Quintet has played some amazing shows in the past at the Linsmore Tavern and his reputation as a top notch performer is definitely deserved! It is always a real special show when Robbie Rox performs at the Linsmore Tavern, as he does not play many shows in Toronto, so when he does make sure you come out!

    The in-yer-face satirical and often scatological music and over-the-top stage persona of Robbie Rox may not be to everyones taste, but it sure seems to strike a chord with his fellow Toronto artists.

    While by todays standards his stuff may seem somewhat tame, back in the early seventies Roxs proto-Punk nothing-sacred satire was considered by many to be a dire threat to the morals of the younger generation.

    When Rox began his musical odyssey to become, as hes been described, Canadas answer to Frank Zappa before he was even familiar with Zappas outrageous compositions 40 years ago, he shocked and awed many with his daring and delightful humour and impressed many others with the deft musicianship that he also brings to his work.

    Shows with his multi-piece Monster Horn Band were notable as much for their musical prowess as for his provocative lyrics. And his ability to span several vocal octaves, combined with an uncanny knack for capturing voices of various characters, helped make Rox more than just a novelty act in the minds of other performers and fans alike. -Gary 17

    Get your tickets now for $5 or you can buy tickets at the door for $10! You can buy your tickets at the Linsmore Tavern or at

  • April 29

    Saturday April 29th, the Linsmore Tavern is full of anticipation to welcome back CoveredinCash: Johnny Cash Tribute! We had heard so many amazing things about this band and all or their legendary shows at the An Sibin, and we were finally able to bring them in for a show in January and they definitely did not disappoint! They absolutely captivated the capacity crowd that evening and because of their phenomenal performance, we are bringing them back for a quick turnaround show! After seeing them perform at their last she at the Linsmore, we can confidently say that they are not just any Johnny Cash Tribute Band, they are the Best Johnny Cash Cover Band in Canada!

    Featuring Rick Aulier as Johnny Cash who happened to own the very popular Irish Bar on Queen Street - An Sibin, where CoveredinCash played many capacity filled and memorable shows over the years at this popular bar! Rick Aulier doesn't try to be an impersonator of Johnny Cash, but if you closed your eyes and started the set by saying, "Hello I'm Johnny Cash", for one fitting moment you would fee you just heard the voice of the man in black. His contagious banter on stage draws you in and every now and then, when it gets more rockabily than country, Rick Aulier tones it down with heartfelt ballads like the swan song of Cash, "Hurt".

    CoveredinCash has a great line-up of musicians, on lead guitar sending out Allman-esque solos is James Quinn. On bass guitar seasoned, Richard Bunnyboils holds the fort with a solid beat and great background oohs and ahhs. On acoustic guitar is Tom Price, almost looking too young to know the tunes, but obviously embraces them with great gusto and has a magnetic stage presence partnered with solid rhythms. Price also has background vocals that blend well with Aulier. On drums, the only Irish part of the band is Conor Garrity, who keeps a solid hold on the backbeat of the show. Well respected keyboardist Herve Basset who has played with everyone in Toronto's music scene rounds out this impressive group of musicians!

    Covered in Cash is a great tribute to a great artist! This show is definitely going to be a SELL-OUT, so get your tickets now! Tickets are only $7 in advance, $10 at the door! You can buy tickets at the bar or at

  • May 6

    Saturday May 6th, the Linsmore Tavern is excited welcome back the Gunslingers who pay Tribute to one of the best bands ever, Guns N' Roses! Everyone love Guns 'N' Roses and The Gunslingers are one of our most requested bands, as they have played so many phenomenal shows over the years! The Gunslingers absolutely rock and they will always deliver the goods! They have played a lot of shows over the years at the Linsmore Tavern and it's always a full house! If you are a GN'R fan, you will not be disappointed, as they will play the songs you all know and love!

    The Gunslingers are not a clone band or impersonators as most Guns N' Roses tributes are, instead of wearing wigs and copying moves they put all of their effort and focus in representing Guns N' Roses music at its best and playing their songs with great accuracy, passion and dedication. They are huge fans, and we will make sure you get the best GN'R experience.

    Their repertoire includes songs from Guns N' Roses four main albums:

    Appetite for Destruction, GN'R Lies and Use your illusions I & II.

    This is a hot ticket and is going to be one amazing party! Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door! You can purchase you tickets at the Linsmore Tavern or right here at

  • May 20

    A nine piece tribute to the career of Van Morrison. Taking the audience deep into the Mystic.

  • May 26

    Friday May 26th, The Linsmore Tavern can't wait to welcome back for their first show of 2017, our favourite Neil Young Tribute Band, The Neil Young'uns! The Neil Young'uns are without a doubt the biggest drawing band in the 83 year history of the Linsmore Tavern! They have played 19 straight, consecutive Sell-Out show at the Linsmore Tavern and this show is going to be number 20! There is a reason why they have had such great success at the Linsmore, as well as every other venue that they play at! They are an amazing band and will play Neil Young better then Neil Young himself! Note for note perfection and they strive to put on a perfect show every time they play! They even take requests! If you are a fan of Neil Young, they are a MUST-SEE and the atmosphere at their live shows is an experience in itself!

    The Neil Younguns is a small but mighty collective of five friends, brought together by the animation/ film and art business, all artists and musicians in their own right, who share a love of roots, rock and jazz music and a great respect for the songwriting and vast musical catalogue of Canuck rock icon Neil Young.

    What began in Torontos Cadillac Lounge as a long term residency, as much performance art as bar band has now expanded to the most musically discerning stages in Ontario such as the famed Sound Academy, Oakvilles Moonshine Cafe and The London Music Club.

    The bands performances are propelled by lead singer Larry Cariou, whose resemblance both musically and physically has been termed by first time audience members as spooky, and by the searing guitar improvisations of Steve Whitehouse, who pays keen respect towards Neil Youngs ferocious stage ramblings and takes them in new improvisational directions nightly

    Backing them up, Denis Gonzalez switches fluidly between bass, keys, guitar and banjo, from rhythm ace to newgrass plucker to lyrical conductor on Man Needs a MaidA musicologist in every sense

    Following suit, Trudy Binder is as at ease with keys or the bass as she is with her legendarily powerful vocals on such classic anthems as Motorcycle Mama

    Drummer Geordie Millar mines Neil Youngs broad stable of recorded drummers to build, and expand on, established pockets and parts with his background in roots, rock and blues drumming.

    As a group the band strive to recreate musical gold from across Youngs varied recording and performing career while opening up fresh avenues for interpretation, always looking for something new in the music with each performance, within each venue and with each unique new audience.

    This Toronto-based Tribute is f#cking note perfect.

    Richard Trapunski

    The absolute best Neil Young tribute band of all time

    Looks and sounds just like Neil Young and his band!

    London Music Club

    Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased for $10 in advance and $15 at the door! Don't wait, get your tickets now because this show sells out every time!!! You can buy your tickets at the bar or right here:

  • March 30

    Come rock out with diehipster at the Linsmore Tavern for a Thursday night of fun!

  • March 27

    Monday February 27th, the Linsmore Tavern (1298 Danforth Ave) is welcoming back the incredible Tom Waits Appreciation Congregation who have absolutely been tearing it up lately! Playing once a month for more than 2 years, the TWAC has been the most popular monthly residency at the Linsmore Tavern and I dare you to find a better live show in Toronto on a Monday night! Featuring Marty Morin,The Tom Waits Appreciation Congregation (TWAC) comprise of some of the best musicians in all of Toronto coming together for their love of Tom Waits and paying Tribute to him and his music! Be a part of this Monday Monthly Tradition that is really special night of music with a cool atmosphere! Arrive early for a good seat, because their last show was at capacity and there are not many seats! The show starts at 9pm, there is no cover so come out and list to some amazing Tom Waits!

Latest Reviews

Only Cafe

Clinton's Tavern

Horseshoe Tavern

Chez Nous Wine Bar

Whiff Waff

The Gift Shop