It's a free-for-all at these live music venues in Calgary

A surprising number of Calgary restaurants, bars and coffee houses present free live musical performances. Featuring everything from jazz, blues and folk to indie rock, at these musically inclined spots, you’ll enjoy performances by local acts as well as big-deal touring performers. All venues on this list also feature food menus from better-than-average pub fare to French-bistro-inspired meals.

Ironwood Stage & Grill (2006) Ltd

1229 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0S9

One of Western Canada’s top folk and roots music venues, Ironwood Stage & Grill in Inglewood's historic Garry Theatre presents a free Wednesday night open stage. A ever-changing cast of local singer-songwriters perform all evening starting at 8 pm.

Ship & Anchor Pub

534 17th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B1

If shaking a tail feather on a Monday night to DJs spinning doo wop, soul and R&B is your bag, The Ship is where you want to be. Come for the pub’s happy hour tacos, stay for its well-attended and surprisingly sweet Acoustic Punk Rock Singalong. No cover, ever.

The Blues Can

1429 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0T4

With a calendar packed to the brim with both big-name and local performers, The Blues Can is a solid choice for musical entertainment. Friday and Saturday nights are always cover-charge free, while weekly performances vary. With its creole and Cajun-inspired menu and dark, intimate atmosphere, you won’t find a bluesier venue this side of N’awlins.

The Palomino Smokehouse

109 7 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0W5

The lower level of Palomino Smokehouse is one of the city's top live indie music venues. However, the restaurant and bar's main floor features live alt country and roots music performers during Friday happy hour from 5 pm until 9 pm.

Kawa Espresso Bar Ltd

101-1333 8 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1M6

Serving coffee, wine and a musical good time, Kawa Espresso Bar presents jazz performances on Thursday nights, folk on Fridays, DJs on Saturdays and special guest performers on Wednesday nights such as zither player Vi An Diep.

Vendome Cafe

940 2 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 0E6

This little cafe in Sunnyside isn’t your average coffee shop. Serving a full coffee menu, alcoholic beverages, breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, you can get it all here. Vendome presents musical acts each and every Thursday evening with a suggested donation going to the night’s performer.

4th Spot Kitchen & Bar

2620 4 St NW, Calgary, AB T2M 3A1

Eat, drink and soak up the soothing sounds of 4th Spot restaurant’s Soul Sessions every Tuesday. Seasoned singer-songwriters perform in the upper-level lounge free of charge. Serving Canadian comfort food, the eatery also features two pizza menus: its signature thin-crust style as well as a thick-crust selection created using recipes perfected by its locally loved pizza parlour predecessor, Karouzo’s.

Cafe Koi

100-1011 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J2

Nightly musical presentations at this cozy Asian-fusion restaurant and lounge are typically free. However, a blanket voluntary cover charge involves the passing of a jar each evening. Regular weekly gigs include the well-attended Tuesday-evening, singer-songwriter open mic, Thursday jazz open mic as well as monthly chamber music and hip-hop open-mic performances.

No need to rush off after dinner to make it to the theatre on time! Enjoy a meal with friends and family and take in a live performance at these venues.
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There’s no evening like one spent with cocktails in the company of some seriously talented music makers. Calgary has a hot little jazz scene, you just need to know where to look for it. Step into one of these intimate venues and take in some of the best in jazz music that Calgary has to offer.
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