Toronto punk venues

The top 10 punk and hardcore venues in Toronto

Toronto venues for punk and hardcore music are for those who love to mosh, stand right next to the speakers, and head bang all night long. If you like live shows loud and sweaty, these are the places to go to see the most hardcore local and touring acts.

Here are my picks for where to go to see punk and hardcore shows in Toronto.

Bovine Sex Club

The racy name, underwear hanging from the ceiling, and tight space make this Queen West bar one of Toronto’s most intimate rock venues. A smaller stage lets the audience stand close enough to bands to feel the spit flying, and performers have left souvenirs from their time at the Bovine pasted all over the walls, making every show here feel personal.

Hard Luck

Multiple shows a week are guaranteed to be devoted to hardcore bands at this Dundas West venue.

Sneaky Dee's

With scrawling designs covering nearly every inch of this venue at College and Bathurst, lovers of punk and hardcore music appreciate the shows in the upstairs space as much as they do the late-night nachos downstairs.

Opera House

This large Riverside venue is a great place to see any show, but they regularly book hardcore acts which is great news for punk fans living in Toronto’s more easterly neighbourhoods. A grandiose stage and professional technical setup don’t hurt either.

Lee's Palace

This colourful Annex spot has been throwing some of Toronto’s best ragers since 1985, a large space with an upstairs late night dance club. They do regular metal and hardcore shows to this day, and the mosh pit here is the stuff of legend.

Baby G

Plenty of shows at this Brockton Village venue are big and loud, though expect more droning, looping and heavy bass than Ramones cover bands. A stage raised high above the audience makes it easy to see performers from all angles.

Velvet Underground

Though lots of people can be packed into the long, narrow space at this Queen West venue, a low stage means bands still feel close. With a history as a goth club that was almost lost forever, let’s hope this hardcore venue is still around for a while to come.

Cherry Cola's

Bands that pay tribute to the likes of Lou Reed, David Bowie and Motorhead mingle with burlesque and boylesque on the events calendar of this venue on Bathurst near Queen. All the fringed lampshades and sexy velvet you can handle in one venue.

Garrison

Opened previous to Baby G by the same owner, this Dundas West venue is big enough to hold a large audience but still books as many local acts as touring ones. This place has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the hardcore scene.

Monarch Tavern

This pub in Little Italy has a stage on its lower level only a few inches off the floor so performers are right in your face, many of them fresh new local bands ready to melt your face.

Lead photo by

Clint Tham at Velvet Underground


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