Best venues to catch a live show in Vancouver

Vancouver’s performance venue scene has seen a revitalization of late, with the closing of some (RIP The Electric Owl), reimagining of others (hello to Fox Cabaret), and revitalization of more (drag shows in town at the Cobalt – who would have thought?). At a few, one can be sure to catch a live and local show nearly every night of the week. If you’re up for an adventure, give these venues for a spin, and enjoy the show!

Lido

1
518 Broadway E, Vancouver, BC V5T 1X5

Get retro at this newly opened live music staple in Mount Pleasant. This neighbourhood hotspot regularly showcases free local acts, often combined with trippy visuals. Jazz, psych, garage rock and more are the typical fare at this cash-only joint. Pop in and be surprised!

The Railway Club

2
579 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1Y4

Nestled upstairs away from the hustle and bustle of Dunsmuir Street downtown, the Railway Club is a locals-only joint that features live music of some sort virtually every night of the week. Genres span from punk to indie to classic rock and beyond, so check the calendar before heading down.

Rickshaw Theatre

3
254 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1P1

Located on Hastings Street just a hop-and-a-skip away from the restaurants and boutiques of Gastown and Strathcona lies the Rickshaw. This former kung-fu movie house has been converted into a live-music venue and now hosts local acts and touring bands alike. The music here skews heavy and loud, so if getting sweaty in a mosh pit is your idea of a good time, head on down.

Biltmore Cabaret

4
2755 Prince Edward St, Vancouver, BC V5T 0A9

The Biltmore Cabaret has a long and storied past, being many things to many people over the years (including a strip club and a sailor bar). Today, the plush red velvet booths and darkened dance floor host a variety of acts, from burlesque performances to bumping DJ nights. The venue is a favourite for local bands to host album release parties, fundraisers and showcases.

Cobalt Hotel

5
917 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2V8

This punk haven has gone through a number of changes in recent years, opening a brand new sidebar (a beer-lovers paradise known as the Boxcar) and becoming East Van’s main LGBTQ event space. Weekly events include karaoke and a live art raffle, with local and touring indie, punk, rock, pop and psych acts rolling through regularly.

The Hindenburg

6
23 Cordova St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1C8

This basement venue is a former fetish club that now caters to the underground music scene of East Vancouver (although the occasional sex-positive party can still be found on the roster). The bar is certainly a hidden gem, with pool tables and ample seating in the back, and great sight-lines to a small stage. Expect punk, rock, metal, indie, pop and more on stage throughout the week.

Guilt & Co.

7
1 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1B2

This darkened cavern of a bar/venue is a hidden gem in Gastown. Located directly beneath the ever-bustling Chill Winston, Guilt & Co. has quietly been featuring local talent seven nights a week on it’s small stage. This is a perfect date-night spot; the acts ranging from jazzy singer-songwriters to burlesque and go-go dancers, the drinks are expertly poured, and the bar snacks are delicious. Visit tonight - you won’t be disappointed.

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