The Rex Jazz & Blues Bar

Location
Information
Reviews
Details

Atmosphere

  • Casual,

Products and Services

  • Hotel Room,
  • Beverage,
  • Live Music Performance,

Languages Spoken

  • English,
Location
194 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z1
Useful Information

Opening Hours *Holiday hours

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
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Rates:

  • $11 To $25,

Methods of Payment:

Meet the owner

It’s hard to imagine The Rex as something other than one of Toronto’s best-known jazz clubs, but its reputation today came as a bit of an accident. It started in 1950, when Avi Ross’ grandfather Jack bought a building housing pool tables, shuffleboards, dart boards and two of the first nine inch televisions, which often attracted fans of Hockey Night in Canada. Jack converted the ground floor into a bar and called it The Rex, a hotel and bar. Its portion of Queen West was a blue-collar neighbourhood, and while it sometimes got a little rough around the edges, it quickly became a beloved haunt. But unlike The Rex of today, which is practically synonymous with jazz and blues, the bar had no stage and no live music.

Luckily for the jazz lovers of Toronto, Avi’s dad, Bob, who started working at The Rex in 1965, had an idea in the 1980s. He decided to hire an act, just for fun, for one night only. DT Thompson played a makeshift stage, and the crowd loved it.

“At the end of the show my dad asked DT, ‘What do you want to get paid?’ DT said, ‘I’ll have a bottle of beer,’” recounts Avi. “And that’s how it started. From that single night, it developed into something big.”

“Something big” means more than 80 live shows a month for more than 30 years. Jazz and blues fans from across the city converge on The Rex to relax with a pint, a glass of wine and maybe some chicken wings or a homemade burger. “Toronto is incredibly rich in world-class jazz talent,” says Bob, “and we are so proud that these brilliant musicians feel at home on our stage.”

Read the story of The Rex Jazz & Blues Bar

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Appears in 4 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
Hip haunts to visit during the Toronto Jazz Festival

Hip haunts to visit during the Toronto Jazz Festival

This Queen West legend has been attracting musicians from around the world since the late ’80s. The bar hosts over 30 performances throughout the festival so you’ll have to plan ahead to if you want to catch your favourite artists. On June 20, check out Brooklyn-based ensemble Huntertones, whose performances blend jazz, funk, soul, hip hop, rock and gospel. And if you’re looking for that big band sound, visit on June 26 to hear eclectic bassist icon Chris Tarry.

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Sip a glass of wine in Toronto's Financial District

Sip a glass of wine in Toronto's Financial District

The iconic Rex Jazz and Blues Bar is a two-minute walk from city hall. Every week, you'll find up to 18 cutting-edge live acts performing on the little corner stage. Regular patrons can attest – there are few ways to spend an evening that are better than sipping on great wine to the sounds of mellow music. The list is short but sweet, focusing on New World wines. Be sure to check out the surprise sommelier’s choice, too.

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Jazz clubs that showcase Toronto’s best musicians

Jazz clubs that showcase Toronto’s best musicians

This Queen West jazz club has managed to hold both critical and commercial appeal, with tourists and locals alike wandering in to catch a great show. There’s music here every night of the week plus weekend matinees. Along with local jazz bands, you might happen upon CD releases, university ensembles and international bands. And if you plan your visit right, you may just catch some world-class A-list talent.

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