Best of OttawaBEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Live Music Venues

BEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Live Music Venues

BEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Live Music Venues

After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this weekly series, we’ll share our picks with you - 
our top hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more. Check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every week!

By: Kat Walcott and Andre Gagne

Photo credit: Kat Walcott

Queen St. Fare - 170 Queen St.

Queen St. Fare is Ottawa’s newest music venue, having only been open for about a month, but its already hosted popular Ottawa bands like The Peptides and The Tackies, as well as various DJs and jazz artists on its gorgeous, intimate stage. Since Queen St. Fare is both a food hall and music venue, you can basically spend all day there!

Photo credit: Clint Butler via Google Maps

House of Targ - 1077 Bank St.

It’s classic arcade games, pinball machines and perogies so good you’d think you were in Ukraine itself. When you add live music to the joint, House of Targ is a near one-stop shop for all things awesome. It’s not every day you get to the hear the sweet sounds of punk mingling with the familiar 80s lament of a dying Pac-Man.

Photo credit: National Arts Centre

National Arts Centre - 1 Elgin St.

The NAC is definitely the city’s, and arguably one of the country’s, most prestigious venues. However, over the last couple of years, it has proven to be very inclusive to artists of all genres and levels of fame. The Centre’s gorgeous theatres and rooms have hosted concerts by popular local acts like The Peptides to legendary superstars like Diana Ross. It’s also a prime spot to take in plays, musicals and orchestra performances.

Photo credit: Bronson Centre

Bronson Centre - 211 Bronson Ave.

The Bronson Centre is one of Ottawa’s most popular community centres, but did you know it also houses an awesome theatre? The theatre can seat almost 900 people, but still has that intimate, communal feel perfect for small and mid-size shows. Upcoming concerts include Shaun Majumder, Wintersleep and popular Canadian rockers Tokyo Police Club, so don’t miss a chance to drop by.

Photo credit: Chris G. via Trip Advisor

Pressed - 750 Gladstone Ave.

Pressed is a gourmet sandwich bar that also doubles as a beautifully intimate music space! Pressed hosts live music on a regular basis like local bands, Bluegrass Mondays, open mic nights and much more. A signature Pressed sammie, a good beer and some boppin’ music – does it get any better than that?

Photo credit: Dave Di Ubaldo via Live! On Elgin

Live! On Elgin - 220 Elgin St.

This place really did their research. No, really. LIVE! On Elgin opened after two years of chitty chat, debates, polls and questionnaires focusing on how to better live theatre and music in Ottawa. The result is a spot that has different music nearly every night. They also bringing in films and other arts. All affordable good times plus they get their grub from the Dunn’s underneath the venue.

Photo credit:

GigSpace - 953 Gladstone Ave.

It’s not just a venue, it’s a performance studio. Located on Gladstone inside the “vibrant teaching community at Alcorn Music Studios”, the space has dedicated itself to giving performers an intimate place to play. There are only 46 often coveted seats. Some have said that the acoustic paired with the geometry make for the perfect sound combo.

Photo credit: Bob Acton via Irene's Pub

Irene’s Pub - 885 Bank St.

This is a staple of the Ottawa music scene. If you’re a musician in this town you know about Irene’s. Originally opened in 1985, this place has been the “spiritual home to artists and musicians for a quarter of a century. With near nightly new acts coming in it doesn’t look like they have any plans of slowing down.

Photo credit: Bar Robo

Bar Robo - 692 Somerset St. W.

Bar Robo opened up shop in Chinatown back in 2016 after the beloved Raw Sugar closed its doors. That was a mighty big space to fill but Robo has come into its own as a premium coffee house in the day and a bar and performance space by night. Spotlighting multiple genres and events, this bot is a welcome addition to live music in O-town.

Photo credit: Rob Miyashiro via Google Maps

Café Dekcuf - 221 Rideau St.

A hop or two away from the ByWard Market, this spot has provided a perfect space for local musicians to jam. Some have called it “underground”, our own little CBGB’s with shows mainly being of the punk or harder rock variety. Say the name backwards. You know you wanna!

Comments (1)

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Ellen Howard December 23, 2018 9:48 am

How could you miss Greenfields? One of the biggest supporters of live bands in the city...