Welcome to the vibrant world of Montreal’s music venues! We’ve all been there, scouring the city for a great music venue that ticks all the boxes – good music, lively atmosphere, and in the best company of music lovers. Well, look no further. In this article, we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide to Montreal’s music venues that’ll knock your socks off!
We understand that searching for the perfect music venue can be a daunting task. Sometimes you might end up in a place with mediocre music, or worse, zero atmosphere that’ll dampen your mood. That’s why we’re here to take the burden off your shoulders and provide you with the best places where you can enjoy live music and a fantastic time with your friends.
From the classic pubs to intimate jazz clubs, our guide will provide you with the ultimate music experience. We’ll show you where to go to get that unbeatable atmosphere, fantastic beats, and an unforgettable time. Don’t worry about missing out on the action since we’ve got all the details for you. With our guide, you’re sure to experience Montreal’s thriving music culture in style.
Top Montreal Music Venues to Visit
Montreal is a city that boasts a vibrant music scene with world-class music venues that host an eclectic mix of genres. Whether you are a fan of indie rock, jazz or electronic music, there is definitely something for everyone. Below are the top Montreal music venues to visit.
1. Place des Arts
Place des Arts or PDA is a major performing arts center situated in the heart of Montreal’s entertainment district. It is home to several concert halls, including the renowned Symphony Hall which can seat up to 2,000 people. PDA has a rich history, having been established in 1963 and has since hosted countless performances from local and international artists.
- Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier: This concert hall is the largest among the five halls at PDA and features state-of-the-art acoustics. It has hosted major concerts from renowned artists including Leonard Cohen and Celine Dion.
- Théâtre Maisonneuve: This theatre is known for its elegant design and is fitted with a parterre with swiveling seats that can accommodate up to 1,453 people. It has been the venue for several major shows including comedies, concerts, and musicals.
- Cinquième Salle: This is the most intimate of PDA’s halls and is often used for experimental performances and shows. It has a seating capacity of 300 and a versatile stage layout that can accommodate various types of performances.
PDA provides a platform for emerging artists and has several programs that promote the city’s music culture, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Jazz Montreal festival. The venue is ideal for music enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves in the city’s rich cultural history and experience unforgettable performances.
|Sophisticated halls with state-of-the-art acoustics||Ticket prices can be high for major performances||PDA offers a diverse range of shows for different genres and has some of the most advanced technology for audio, lighting, and stage design among Montreal’s music venues. It has a rich cultural history and has been the venue for several major shows by world-renowned artists.|
|Great location in the heart of Montreal’s entertainment district||Can be hard to get tickets for popular shows|
|Platform for emerging artists||Sometimes criticized for being too ‘commercial’|
|Several programs to promote Montreal’s music culture||Some performers may prefer more intimate venues|
|Audiences can enjoy a mix of genres at PDA|
Overall, Place des Arts is a must-visit music venue that perfectly captures the essence of Montreal’s vibrant music scene. Its sophisticated halls, diverse programs, and rich cultural history provide an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts.
2. Best Indie Music Venues in Montreal
One of the things that Montreal is renowned for is its vibrant indie music scene. From indie rock to indie pop and everything in between, the city has a wide variety of venues that cater to this scene. Here are some of the best indie music venues in Montreal.
2.1. Casa del Popolo
Casa del Popolo is one of the most popular indie music venues in Montreal. It’s a cozy venue with a bar and restaurant downstairs and a stage upstairs. The venue is known for its eclectic lineup of shows, ranging from indie rock to experimental and avant-garde music. Many emerging artists have performed here, and the venue is also a popular spot for local bands to host album release parties.
- Casa del Popolo is located in the Mile-End neighborhood, which is known for its artistic and creative vibe.
- The venue has a capacity of around 120 people, and its intimate setting allows for an up-close-and-personal experience with the performers.
- The venue has a policy of paying its musicians a fair wage, something that is unfortunately not common in the music industry.
Table: Pros and Cons of Casa del Popolo
|– Intimate setting||– Limited seating capacity|
|– Fair pay for musicians||– Can get crowded|
|– Eclectic lineup of shows||– Limited food and drink options|
2.2. La Sala Rossa
La Sala Rossa is a historical venue that has been around since the 1980s. The venue has a large stage and dance floor, with a capacity of up to 400 people. It’s known for hosting indie bands, but also has a diverse lineup of shows, including jazz, electronic, and experimental music. The venue also hosts cultural events such as film screenings and poetry readings.
- La Sala Rossa is a multi-use venue that also serves as a community center, art gallery, and meeting space for various organizations.
- The venue has a full bar and restaurant, offering both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.
- La Sala Rossa is located in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood, which is a hub for cultural and artistic activity in Montreal.
Table: Pros and Cons of La Sala Rossa
|– Large capacity||– Can be noisy|
|– Diverse lineup of shows||– Limited seating options|
|– Full bar and restaurant||– Noisy, chatty crowds|
2.3. Bar Le Ritz PDB
Bar Le Ritz PDB (short for “Pas Delà Biftek”) is a venue that caters to Montreal’s underground indie music scene. The venue is small and intimate, with a capacity of around 200 people. It’s known for hosting punk rock, garage, and experimental music shows, as well as comedy and spoken word events. The venue has a bar and serves snacks such as popcorn and chips.
- Bar Le Ritz PDB is located in the Mile-Ex neighborhood, which is an up-and-coming area for nightlife and art events.
- The venue has a cozy atmosphere, with dim lighting and a vintage decor.
- The venue is committed to promoting inclusivity and creating a safe space for all patrons.
Table: Pros and Cons of Bar Le Ritz PDB
|– Intimate setting||– Limited seating options|
|– Variety of shows and events||– Limited food and drink options|
|– Inclusive and safe atmosphere||– Can get crowded|
In conclusion, Montreal’s indie music scene is diverse and thriving, with many venues catering to various tastes and preferences. Whether you’re a fan of punk rock, experimental music, or indie pop, there’s a venue out there for you. Casa del Popolo, La Sala Rossa, and Bar Le Ritz PDB are just a few examples of the best indie music venues in Montreal, each with their own unique atmosphere and offerings. Take some time to explore the city’s music scene and discover new artists and sounds.
3. Jazz Venues in Montreal
Montreal may be famous for its indie rock and electronic music scene, but it also boasts a rich jazz history. From the legendary clubs of the 1940s and 1950s to the modern jazz lounges of today, Montreal is home to some of the best jazz venues in North America.
1. Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill
Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill is a must-visit for any jazz fan. This intimate venue has been showcasing local and international jazz artists since 1995. With its casual atmosphere and welcoming staff, Upstairs offers a rare opportunity to experience jazz up close and personal. The venue also offers a full dinner menu, making it a great spot for a night out with friends or a romantic date.
- Opened in 1995
- Hosts local and international jazz artists
- Intimate setting
- Located in Latin Quarter
- Offers full dinner menu
L’Astral, located in the heart of downtown Montreal, is a modern venue that hosts a variety of events, including jazz performances. This 320-seat concert hall has state-of-the-art acoustics and a sleek design that makes it a popular spot for jazz musicians from around the world. L’Astral is also a popular venue for festivals like the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
- Located in downtown Montreal
- 320-seat concert hall with state-of-the-art acoustics
- Popular spot for jazz musicians from around the world
- Frequent host of jazz festivals
3. Diese Onze
Diese Onze, located in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood, is a cozy and intimate jazz bar that offers live music every night of the week. The venue showcases both local and international jazz musicians and has a reputation for its friendly atmosphere and great sound. The menu at Diese Onze features a mix of classic French and Quebecois dishes, as well as a vast selection of beers, wines, and cocktails.
- Cozy and intimate jazz bar
- Live music every night of the week
- Features local and international jazz musicians
- Menu includes classic French and Quebecois dishes
- Offers a variety of beers, wines, and cocktails
|Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill||Latin Quarter||75||Intimate||Full dinner menu|
|L’Astral||Downtown Montreal||320||Sleek||Concessions available|
|Diese Onze||Plateau Mont-Royal||80||Cozy and intimate||Menu includes classic French and Quebecois dishes, as well as a variety of drinks|
With its rich jazz history and vibrant music scene, Montreal offers a unique experience for jazz lovers. Whether you’re looking for an intimate setting or a larger venue, there is something for everyone in this city. So why not grab a drink, sit back, and let the sounds of Montreal’s jazz scene transport you to another time and place?
The Benefits of Hidden Montreal Music Venues
Hidden music venues have their own unique charm and advantages that cannot be replicated in larger, more mainstream establishments. These benefits include a more intimate atmosphere, exclusive performances, and personalized interactions with artists and other patrons. In Montreal, there are numerous hidden music venues that showcase the city’s diverse range of musical talent.
One of the key benefits of hidden music venues in Montreal is the intimate atmosphere that they offer. These smaller venues typically have a maximum capacity of around 100 people, which allows for an up-close and personal experience with the performers. The closeness of the audience to the stage also creates a more immersive experience and adds to the overall energy of the show.
Real World Example: Casa Del Popolo, a popular hidden music venue in Montreal, has a capacity of 85 people and is known for its cozy, intimate atmosphere. The venue regularly hosts shows featuring local and international artists across a variety of genres, including indie, rock, and folk.
Another advantage of hidden music venues is the opportunity to catch unique and exclusive performances. Many up-and-coming artists and bands will often perform at these types of venues before they become more well-known, providing concert-goers with the chance to discover new and exciting music. Additionally, hidden music venues often attract a dedicated and passionate fan base, which can create a supportive and communal atmosphere that is rare in larger, more commercial venues.
Real World Example: Le Cagibi, a vegetarian café and entertainment space, is a popular hidden music venue in Montreal that hosts a range of events including open mic nights, poetry readings, and music shows. The venue is known for its eclectic programming and has featured a variety of local and international artists, including indie rockers Arcade Fire during one of their early shows.
Hidden music venues in Montreal also provide the opportunity for personalized interactions with artists and other patrons. Since these venues attract a smaller crowd, there is often more opportunity for conversation and interaction with both the performers and other concert-goers. Many hidden music venues also have a more laid-back and welcoming atmosphere, which can encourage socializing and making new connections.
Real World Example: Divan Orange, a popular music venue in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood, is known for its relaxed and inclusive vibe. The venue offers a range of programming, including music shows, comedy nights, and other cultural events, and has a reputation for being an artist-friendly space that encourages collaboration and community-building.
Table: Comparison of Hidden Music Venues vs. Mainstream Music Venues
|Hidden Music Venues||Mainstream Music Venues|
|Capacity||Small (under 100)||Large (over 100)|
Hidden music venues in Montreal offer a unique and rewarding experience for music lovers looking to discover new artists and connect with other like-minded individuals. The intimate atmosphere, exclusive performances, and personalized interactions that are characteristic of these venues provide an alternative to the commercial and impersonal experience of larger mainstream venues. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to the city, checking out some of Montreal’s hidden music venues is sure to be a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Experience the Vibrant Music Scene at These Montreal Venues
Montreal is renowned for its thriving music scene, with a wide range of venues catering to different tastes and audiences. From intimate clubs to large arenas, there is something for everyone to enjoy. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best spots to catch live music in Montreal, and what sets them apart.
1. Historic Venues that Defined Montreal’s Music Scene
Montreal has a rich musical heritage, with many of its historic venues still standing today. These are not just places to experience great music, but also witness the city’s cultural evolution over the years. Here are some of the most iconic historic music venues in Montreal:
Club Soda has been a fixture of Montreal’s music scene since the late 1970s. It started as a cult venue for punk rock shows, and has since hosted a diverse range of acts from all genres, including David Bowie, Nirvana, and Adele. Over the years, Club Soda has expanded and modernized, but has never lost its intimate, community feel.
Built in 1912, Théâtre Corona has seen many transformations over the years, from an opera house to a movie theatre to a live music venue. Today, it is one of the city’s most popular mid-size venues, known for its stunning architecture and acoustics. The likes of Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, and The Lumineers have graced its stage in recent years.
Place des Arts
Place des Arts is not just a music venue, but also a cultural complex that houses an array of theatres, galleries, and performance spaces. Its main concert hall, the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, is one of the largest in North America, with seating for up to 3000 people. It has hosted the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, among others.
2. Intimate Venues for an Up-Close and Personal Experience
While larger venues offer excitement and spectacle, smaller, more intimate venues can provide a closer connection between artists and their audience. Montreal has a range of such venues, with unique charms and atmospheres. Here are some of the top picks:
Casa Del Popolo
Casa Del Popolo is a cozy, rustic venue that has been a mainstay of the Montreal music scene since 2000. It puts on a mix of indie and alternative acts, as well as comedy and film screenings. With a capacity of only 100 people, it offers a personal and intimate experience that makes you feel like you’re part of the show.
Petit Campus is a student-run venue located in the heart of the McGill University campus. It has a capacity of 300 people, and hosts a variety of local and international acts, spanning different genres including rock, pop, and electronic music. The venue also serves as a testing ground for new talent, and has nurtured many up-and-coming artists over the years.
La Sala Rossa
La Sala Rossa is a historic venue in the Mile-End neighbourhood that has been transformed into a multi-disciplinary space for music, theatre, and art. Its red velvet curtains and vintage decor make for a cosy and inviting atmosphere, and its diverse program includes everything from jazz to spoken word poetry.
3. Venues that Cater to a More Alternative Taste
Montreal’s music scene is not limited to mainstream genres – it also caters to more alternative tastes, ranging from experimental to heavy metal. Here are some of the venues that offer a platform for this kind of music:
Bar Le Ritz PDB
Bar Le Ritz PDB is a small venue that packs a punch, showcasing everything from punk rock to experimental music. Its gritty, basement vibe and cheap drinks make it a popular spot for alternative music fans. It has played host to bands such as Metz, Uniform, and Chastity Belt.
Piranha Bar is a prime destination for metal and hardcore music fans, with a loud and boisterous atmosphere that matches the intensity of the music. It has a modest capacity of 150 people, but consistently features high-energy shows by local and international acts.
La Vitrola is another versatile venue that caters to more experimental and boundary-pushing music. Its low-key, laid-back atmosphere and eclectic programming have made it a favourite among avant-garde music fans. It has hosted acts such as Wolf Eyes, Xiu Xiu, and Tim Hecker.
4. Big Venues for Major Concerts and Festivals
Montreal has a number of large venues that can accommodate thousands of people, and provide an arena-like experience that can be truly transformative. These venues host major concerts, shows and festivals throughout the year. Here are the top ones to check out:
The Bell Centre is Montreal’s premier arena for major concerts, sporting events, and shows. It is the home of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, but also receives top-billing musical acts such as Elton John, Bon Jovi, and Justin Timberlake. With a seating capacity of over 21,000, it is one of the largest indoor venues in Canada.
Osheaga is Montreal’s biggest music festival, attracting over 135,000 people every year. It features a mix of local and international acts, spanning different genres from pop to hip-hop to electronic music. The festival takes place over three days in August and has seen performances from the likes of Florence and the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, and The Black Keys.
MTELUS is a major concert hall located in the Quartier des Spectacles, that caters to a range of music styles and special events. Formerly named Métropolis, it has a striking art deco facade and can hold up to 2300 people standing. Some of the acts that have played MTELUS include Lorde, alt-J, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
5. Venues of the Future
As the music industry evolves, so too do venues. Some of the newest and most forward-thinking venues in Montreal offer technology-driven experiences and innovative design. Here are some examples:
Bonus Track Music Hall
Bonus Track Music Hall is one of Montreal’s newest music venues, opened in 2020. It is a modern, multi-purpose space with high-tech sound and lighting, and an emphasis on immersive experiences. The venue boasts a striking wall of LED screens that can create a range of visual effects, and has hosted shows by artists such as Coeur de Pirate and Geoffroy.
L’Astral is a contemporary venue that can accommodate up to 300 people in a cabaret-style setting. It features state-of-the-art acoustics and lighting, and has gained a reputation for being one of the most versatile and technologically-advanced music spaces in Montreal. It also hosts a range of cultural events and performances, such as dance and theatre.
The Quartier des Spectacles
The Quartier des Spectacles is not a single venue, but a whole district of Montreal that has been transformed into an urban playground for arts and culture. It includes multiple venues such as the Place des Arts, Club Soda, and MTELUS, but also encompasses public spaces, interactive installations, and festivals. One of the most unique features of the Quartier des Spectacles is the projection of visual art and music onto the facades of buildings, creating a vivid and immersive experience.
In conclusion, Montreal’s music scene has a lot to offer, whether you are a fan of classic rock or experimental electronica. Each venue has its own unique character, history, and charm, and contributes to the diversity and richness of Montreal’s cultural landscape. Whether you’re attending a large festival, or catching an intimate live show, you’re sure to find something to inspire and delight your senses.
|Club Soda||Varied||800||Community feel, diverse programming|
|Théâtre Corona||Pop, rock, indie||1000||Stunning architecture, great acoustics|
|Place des Arts||Classical, jazz, opera, theatre||3000||Largest concert hall in North America|
|Casa Del Popolo||Indie, alternative||100||Cosy, rustic atmosphere|
|Petit Campus||Varied||300||Student-run, testing ground for new talent|
|La Sala Rossa||Jazz, folk, experimental||350||Historic, vintage decor|
|Bar Le Ritz PDB||Rock, punk, experimental||150||Intense, low-key atmosphere|
|Piranha Bar||Metal, hardcore||150||Loud, boisterous vibe|
|La Vitrola||Experimental, avant-garde||200||Laid-back, eclectic programming|
|Bell Centre||Varied||21000||Premier arena for major concerts, shows, and sports events|
|Osheaga||Varied||135000||Montreal’s biggest music festival|
|MTELUS||Varied||2300||Art deco facade, contemporary venue with state-of-the-art technology|
|Bonus Track Music Hall||Varied||400||High-tech sound and lighting, immersive experience|
|L’Astral||Varied||300||Contemporary venue with state-of-the-art acoustics and lighting|
|The Quartier des Spectacles||Varied||Varied||Multiple venues, interactive installations, visual projection|
FAQs about Montreal Music Venues
What are the popular music venues in Montreal?
Montreal has many popular music venues, including La Sala Rossa, The Rialto Theatre, Club Soda, and The Corona Theatre. These venues regularly host concerts by local and international artists.
What is the best time to visit Montreal for live music?
The best time to visit Montreal for live music is during the summer months, from June to August. This is when many outdoor music festivals take place, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Osheaga Music Festival.
What are some inexpensive music venues in Montreal?
Montreal has many inexpensive music venues, including Barfly, Le Divan Orange, and Quai des Brumes. These venues host live music performances by local artists and offer affordable drinks and cover charges.
Which music venues in Montreal have a dance floor?
Many music venues in Montreal have dance floors, including Club Unity, New City Gas, and Stereo. These venues host events that feature electronic dance music, hip-hop, and other genres that are popular for dancing.
Are there any all-ages music venues in Montreal?
Yes, there are all-ages music venues in Montreal, including Casa del Popolo and La Vitrola. These venues allow younger music fans to attend concerts and enjoy live music performances.
What is the capacity of the Bell Centre in Montreal?
The Bell Centre in Montreal has a capacity of approximately 21,000 spectators for concerts. This makes it one of the largest music venues in the city and a popular destination for international artists.
Which music venues in Montreal offer food and drink?
Many music venues in Montreal offer food and drink options, including Club Soda, Le Belmont, and Le National. These venues often feature a bar or restaurant where concert-goers can enjoy a meal or drink before or after the show.
What is the atmosphere like at Casa del Popolo?
Casa del Popolo has a cozy, intimate atmosphere that is beloved by many Montreal music fans. The venue hosts live music performances by local and international artists and has a bar that serves beer, wine, and cocktails.
What are some upcoming concerts at the Metropolis?
Upcoming concerts at the Metropolis in Montreal include performances by The Black Keys, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Tame Impala. This venue regularly hosts concerts by popular international artists.
What is the dress code at Montreal music venues?
There is no specific dress code for Montreal music venues, but it is important to dress appropriately for the type of venue and event you are attending. Some venues may have a more formal dress code, while others may be more casual.
Montreal is a vibrant and diverse city that offers many music venues for locals and visitors to enjoy. From large concert halls to cozy bars, there is a venue for every type of music fan. Summer is the best season to visit Montreal for live music, as many outdoor music festivals take place during this time. After reading this article, you may want to check out the upcoming concerts at your favorite music venue or explore a new one. Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the event and have a great time enjoying the music scene in Montreal.
Goodbye and happy music hunting. For more travel and music content, check out our other articles.