The Best Rock Bars in Toronto
The best rock bars in Toronto are a loud bunch. The great Canadian north adores its piercing guitar playing, hard drinking sound. While fans know there are a huge number of options for rocking and drinking in Toronto, sometimes you don't want to mess around with gig bands who can't play hard enough, or DJs and jukeboxes with tepid selections, or clubs that are only open for specific shows. You just want to rock.
Here are the best rock bars in Toronto.
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The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern features a narrow front bar and a more expansive space in the back for live bands. What it lacks in pizazz it makes up for with a gritty charm, and by consistently booking hot ticket small and midsize touring and local rock acts. Plus, The Rolling Stones played here.
Sneaky Dee's will double your fun. The graffitied, relaxed bar / cheap hangover eats spot on the main floor is damn pretty rock and roll (and ideal for tattoo spotting), but the real story is the unpretentious upstairs concert venue where local bands and touring acts can whip themselves into a frenzy.
Since the early '90s the Bovine Sex Club, better known to tourists and the uninitiated as "that weird place on Queen Street with all the bikes attached to it," has been home to rock, punk, and metal. The random-stuff-everywhere motif continues inside, where many a crazy night has graced the chaos.
Another Queen West spot, the Rivoli offers a patio, restaurant, pool hall, bar, and back-of-the-house concert venue. While rock ethos permeates its relaxed atmosphere, the 30 year old building hosts everything from charity concerts, karaoke, and open mics to comedy nights and spoken word performances.
Cherry Cola's Rock & Roll Cabaret Lounge is thick with the most profound type of nostalgia... nostalgia for that which never really was. Their take on rock and roll oozes vintage motifs and a cheeky rockabilly vibe. At Cola's, live bands and DJs mix with bottle service and live dancers.
Parts and Labour's restaurant is kinda fancy, but underground venue The Shop is pretty damn rock and roll, if leaning toward the punk and hardcore end of the spectrum. The basement venue features bleachers, and at the right kind of show it can feel like those highschool Converse-sneaker glory days.
If the words "urban saloon" could play into your ideal night on the town, The Underground Garage is waiting for you to come get blackout wasted, or just chill and down some rail drinks. No judgements here in this club district bar, just good live bands and a ceiling hanging with patrons' donated bras.
Silver Dollar is attached to Hotel Waverly and after hours club Comfort Zone, which both narrowly escaped demolition earlier this year. The bar has a blues focus but hosts a ton of local and touring rock acts, especially in recent years. Google "Hospitals vs Dan Burke" for a little Toronto history.
With west and east locations, the Rockpile has fans in Etobicoke and now Scarborough covered thanks to Big Bop's former owner. The fully licensed, all ages venue offers ear plugs on sale at the prison themed Etobicoke location. They play host to local acts, touring bands, tribute nights, and more.
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