17 Live Music Venues in Calgary
Music venues and nightclubs to catch a concert of any genre.
Ironwood Stage and Grill in Inglewood.
Photograph by Jared Sych
If you’re not the kind of person who’s going to see Kelly Clarkson at the Saddledome, that doesn’t mean your live music options are up. Au contraire — there are numerous live music venues in Calgary that go beyond the iconic Stampede Park venue, the casinos and the Jubilee.
Here are 18 live music venues to check out whether you like jazz, world music, hip-hop or anything in between.
(This round-up doesn’t include restaurants and cafes with live music. And, there are plenty of those in Calgary.)
This multi-venue performing space has six theatres although most live music performances are in the Jack Singer Concert Hall, which is the largest theatre and sits 1,800. The venue has three music series each year: BD&P World Music, TD Jazz and PCL Blues. Whatever your taste in music, Arts Commons hosts live concerts throughout the year.
205 8 Ave. S.E., 403-294-9494, artscommons.ca
Calgary’s newest live music venue is located right in the heart of the Mount Royal University Conservatory. The space sits 773 and has the capacity to host a range of performances. The acoustics are ideal for everything from solo performances to large-scale concerts with the entire CPO.
Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate S.W., mtroyal.ca
Specializing in blues music concerts, this live music venue has concerts every day of the week. It’s an intimate venue, which means everyone attending has a good view of the performers. The venue hosts up-and-coming local performers as well as big name musicians from the blues world. Musicians such as Tim Leacock, local band Cowpuncher and American band Mississippi Heat have performed here.
1429 9 Ave. S.E., 403-262-2666, thebluescan.com
It makes sense that Broken City is a go-to live music venue. After all, it’s situated on what was previously Electric Avenue. The venue has been hosting live music since 2004. Musicians performing here come from all over North America as well as Europe and Asia. A few of the notable performers to grace this stage include The Strumbellas, Viet Cong and Chris Hayden from Florence and The Machine.
Broken City also hosts weekly comedy nights, DJ sets and trivia nights.
613 11 Ave. S.W., 403-262-9976, brokencity.ca
This venue can get rowdy. Commonwealth is a warehouse-turned-bar and has two floors as well as an impressive patio. The mid-sized nightclub hosts DJs, hip-hop artists and CD and event launches.
731 10 Ave. S.W., 403-247-4663, commonwealthbar.ca
Situated on the west end of downtown, this pub has a huge stage that hosts hip-hop, punk and rock shows. It also hosts comedy nights. Before the live music starts, play a game of pool or darts, or satisfy your craving for good pub food.
1000 9 Ave. S.W., 403-233-7550, dickenspub.ca
The Calgary Folk Festival team finally got its very own venue in January 2013. The space is located in Inglewood and has a modern European design, with an industrial-looking exterior. Its multi-purpose hall is used for concerts as well as art and private events. Big names have performed here in the last two years, including Tanya Tagaq and the Milk Carton Kids.
1215 10 Ave. S.E., festivalhallcalgary.ca
This venue is as intimate as they come — it’s in Jackie Bourgaize and Dale Sorensen’s home. With the help of Chris Gheran and other local artists, the couple hosts live music in their living room. It’s a not-for-profit endeavour and most of the ticket sales are given back to the performers. The venue isn’t licensed but attendees can bring what they want to drink as well as a plate of food to share. Concerts at this kid-friendly venue are relaxed and low-key.
119 Nottingham Rd. N.W., galleryhouseconcerts.com
Even though this venue is at SAIT, it’s not a students-only space. The Gateway hosts both small-scale events as well as large events. The venue is capable of housing more than 500. This fall, the venue will be hosting bands from across Canada, the USA and Australia.
1301 16 Ave. N.W., 403-284-8760, gatewaycalgary.ca
This venue opened in 2005 and has hosted some big international artists such as Steve Aoki, Frank Black of The Pixies and Joel Plaskett. The Hifi Club has become a Calgary music institution and is helping put Calgary on the map as a music destination. And there’s a dance floor.
219 10 Ave. S.W., 403-263-5222, hificlub.ca
Located in the historic Garry Theatre building, the Ironwood an all-ages venue that seats around 140 and hosts live music all year round. It’s a fun venue with an unmatchable ambience and an impressive menu; the cost of the concert is added to your bill. While a range of artists and genres perform, perhaps most well-known is Prime Time Big Band. The band has performed in the venue for thirteen seasons.
1229 9 Ave. S.E., 403-269-5581, ironwoodstage.ca
Better known as Mac Hall, this is another university venue. Located at the University of Calgary campus, this concert venue has hosted A-list international performers including The Pixies and The Decemberists. Its capacity is about 1,000.
2500 University Dr. N.W., 403-220-7968, su.ucalgary.ca
Mikey’s hosts concerts every day of the week and the concerts are mostly of the roots and blues variety. Expect to see locals perform, including Steve Pineo and Tim Williams. Mikey’s also has lunch, dinner and a weekend brunch, and its menu is mostly Tex-Mex.
1901 10 Ave. S.W., 403-245-8833, mikeysjukejoint.com
National Music Centre (opening in its new venue in 2016)
A new National Music Centre has been in the works since 2006. While there are concerts in the current venue, the new facility, scheduled to open next spring, will be bigger and offer more. It will provide Calgarians with entertainment all year round as well as opportunities for public interaction and music education programs.
The music performed here is diverse. There’s everything from punk to rock to roots. Palomino has two floors and most shows cost only $10. The space’s capacity is about 200. And it’s right on the train line, so it’s really easy to get home after a show.
109 7 Ave. S.W., 403-532-1911, thepalominoshowroom.ca
Come for the wine and casual atmosphere, stay for the music. Almost every night, there’s live music in The Cellar. Most of the musicians here are performing jazz and experimental music.
811 1 St. S.W., 403-263-1650, wine-ohs.com