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10 bars to discover up-and-coming bands in Toronto

Toronto bars that accommodate up-and-coming bands is what you'll be seeking if you're looking to discover the freshest talent beyond the mainstream acts playing at the larger venues in the city.

Here are some bars in Toronto that regularly host up-and-coming bands.


A staple venue near Queen and Spadina, the backroom at the Rivoli is one of the best spaces for new bands to play in the city. It has not only been the launchpad for great comedy acts like Kids in the Hall and Nirvana The Band, but has hosted the likes of Drake and Adele.

BSMT 254

A relatively new addition to the music scene, the venue near College and Lansdowne has programmed monthly series of reggae, underground hip hop, contemporary jazz and singer-songwriters.

Lee's Palace

This iconic music venue near Bloor and Bathurst has not only featured iconic Canadian acts like Blue Rodeo and Handsome Ned, but also international acts like Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Verve, Blur, the Magnetic Fields and Nirvana.


This bar near College and Ossington has a regular band night on Wednesdays and DJs from Thursday through Saturday. They also have a rehearsal space for bands in their basement and a smaller concert space for those looking to book a cheap show.

3030 Dundas West

With a large stage and great atmosphere in the heart of the Junction, 3030 Dundas West hosts bands and DJs Wednesday through Saturday. It's also the layover home for Hugh's Room before they open their new venue.


With a healthy roaster of DJs and bands, this Kensington Market bar has been a huge supporter of Toronto musicians since 2012. They've recently partnered with The Coost to showcase some of the city's finest up-and-coming artists in the YouTube series "Handlebar Sessions."

Grossman's Tavern

Part of the music scene in Toronto for decades, Grossman's is one of the city's longest running music venues, opening up all the way back in 1943. This stage in Chinatown has been graced by such names as Amanda Marshall, Blue Rodeo, Alannah Myles, Jeff Healey, Rough Trade's Carole Pope and the Downchild Blues Band.

Axis Club

The Mod Club upgraded the old bar, expanded the dance floor and got a new name in the process. The venue is still great for bands, and has also kept the epic themed dance parties they're known for. The stage under its former name has been graced by the likes of the Weeknd, Drake, Amy Winehouse and Post Malone.

Monarch Tavern

This venue on Clinton is one of the oldest licensed venues in the city and has hosted some of Canada’s top up-and-coming talent. While the upstairs is a cozy hang out, the main floor is home to an eclectic mix of live music, DJ's, and cabaret-style entertainment.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at The Axis Club

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10 bars to discover up-and-coming bands in Toronto

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