Jazz clubs that showcase Toronto’s best musicians

Grab a pint, pull up a seat and get ready to have your mind blown. These seven Toronto jazz clubs bring sexy back, spanning all eras of the genre. They’re perfect whether you’re looking for a good introduction to jazz or a new place to hang out.

Old Mill Toronto

1
21 Old Mill Rd, Etobicoke, ON M8X 1G5

Tucked away inside the Old Mill in Etobicoke, this cozy space is all jazz every week, all year round with some of the city’s best musicians headlining the shows. The baby grand piano is the main feature, challenging Toronto’s premier artists to put their own spin on the jazz standards. The highlight is the Jazz Party, where a performer plays host to anyone who wants to sit in with the band.

Jazz Bistro

2
251 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5B 1T8

This is one of the newest players on the scene, having started in 2011 on Victoria Street. Right away, you’ll notice its quiet sophistication, from the red and black decor to the elegant chandeliers. But most noticeable of all is the red Steinway piano, nicknamed Red Pops. Plenty of talented musicians have tickled its ivories and the club extends an open invitation to all Toronto pianists to drop by and check it out.

The Rex Jazz & Blues Bar

3
194 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z1

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.

Orbit Room

4
580 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B3

Walk up a flight of stairs and enter another world, which changes depending on who’s playing. This place, started by Rush rock band member, Alex Lifeson, has live music every night of the week (except Thursday) so you can always check out something different. It can get a little crowded in here, but that’s only because the music is such a big draw. Check out the likes of LMT Connection and the Dave Murphy Band (the late Jeff Healey’s backing band).

Reservoir Lounge

5
44 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C7

There’s jazz, and then there’s jazz done right. At this Wellington East club, which is where Michael Bublé got his start, you can hear downright awesome jazz music five nights of the week. Styles span all eras of jazz but one thing’s for sure: there’ll always be a show worth hearing. You can sit back and groove or take to the floor and dance but no matter what night you come, dress in style to befit the swank mood.

Grossman's Tavern

6
377 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G3

They promise “never a cover” for live music and have always been true to their word for as long as they’ve been around. They’re open every day of the week with music starting as early as 4:30 p. m., giving you the chance to hear homegrown talent and seasoned veterans ply their trade. Plus, you can get on stage yourself during open jam nights and see how you stack up against the pros.

Pilot Tavern

7
22 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M4W 1J5

Since opening in 1944, the Pilot has been one of Toronto’s classic hangouts where you can relax on either the main floor or rooftop patio (weather permitting), with jazz taking main stage in the second floor lounge. Soak in the historic surroundings – Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan and Robbie Robertson have all hung out here – while you listen to jazz combos every Saturday afternoon. The music starts at 3:30 p. m. and takes you well into dinner.

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