The 10 Best Jazz Bars in Toronto : Where Music and Drinks Meet

Best Jazz Bars in Toronto

Are you searching for a soulful atmosphere where the smooth sounds of jazz can transport you to another time, place and state of mind? Look no further than Toronto’s vibrant jazz scene! From intimate basement venues to grand concert halls, this city boasts a range of jazz bars that cater to every taste. Whether you’re in the mood for classic standards or experimental improvisations, we’ve got your guide to the best jazz bars in Toronto. So please sit back, relax and let us take you on a musical journey through our favourite haunts.

Introduction to Jazz Music

Best Jazz Bars in Toronto
Best Jazz Bars in Toronto

Jazz music is a genre of music that originated in African-American communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Syncopated rhythms, polyphonic textures, and improvisation characterize jazz.

The earliest jazz bands comprised brass instruments, drums, and pianos. The guitar, bass, and saxophone later joined these instruments. The most common jazz ensemble today consists of a horn section (trumpet, trombone, and saxophone), a rhythm section (piano, bass, and drums), and one or more soloists (guitar, trumpet, or saxophone)

One of the defining features of jazz is improvisation. Improvisation is when a musician spontaneously creates melodies or solos during a performance. Jazz musicians often use chord progressions as a starting point for their improvisations. Chord progressions are sequences of chords that are commonly used in songs.

Another defining feature of jazz is swing. Swing is a musical style in which the notes are played on evenly spaced beats. This gives the music a bouncy feel that is perfect for dancing.

Plenty of great resources are available online and in libraries if you’re interested in learning more about jazz music. You can also check out some of the best jazz bars in Toronto to hear this type of music live!

Best Jazz Bars in Toronto

 1. The Reservoir Lounge

The Reservoir Lounge
The Reservoir Lounge

There’s no shortage of great jazz bars in Toronto, but the Reservoir Lounge is one of the best. This intimate spot is perfect for grabbing a drink and listening to some of the city’s best jazz musicians. The acoustics are top-notch, and the house has no bad seats. Whether you’re a jazz fan or just looking for a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a drink, the Reservoir Lounge is worth checking out.

 2. Poetry Jazz Café

Poetry Jazz Café
Poetry Jazz Café

If you want a more intimate jazz experience, head to the Poetry Jazz Café. This small but mighty venue always has great live music, and the cozy atmosphere is perfect for sipping on a glass of wine and enjoying some soulful tunes.

 3. The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar

The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar
The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar

The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar is one of the best jazz bars in Toronto. It is located in the city’s heart and offers a great selection of music and food. The bar has a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, making it the perfect place to enjoy a night out with friends. The staff are knowledgeable and passionate about music, making it the ideal place to learn more about jazz. The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar is an essential part of any visit to Toronto.

 4. Library Bar

Library Bar toronto
Library Bar Toronto

If you’re a fan of jazz music, then you’ll want to check out one of Toronto’s many Library Bars. These bars are named after. They are usually located in libraries and offer a great selection of jazz records to listen to while enjoying a drink.

There are several Library Bars throughout Toronto, so you’re sure to find one that’s convenient for you. Each bar has its unique atmosphere, so be sure to check out a few different ones before deciding on your favourite.

If you’re looking for a relaxed and laid-back vibe, then the Library Bar at the Royal Ontario Museum is worth checking out. This bar has an extensive collection of jazz records, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a drink while listening to some great tunes.

If you’re looking for a more upbeat and lively atmosphere, head to the Library Bar at the Art Gallery of Ontario. This bar features live jazz music on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can get your groove on while enjoying some delicious cocktails.

No matter your taste in jazz music, you’re sure to find a Library Bar in Toronto that’s perfect for you. So be sure to check out one (or all) of these great bars the next time you’re in town!

5. The Emmet Ray

Emmet Ray was born in Toronto in 1923 and began playing the violin at age four. When he was thirteen, he gave up the instrument to play the guitar, which he taught himself. He became a professional musician in his early twenties, playing in nightclubs and dance bands. In the early 1950s, he moved to New York City, where he played with some of the most famous jazz musicians, including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk. He recorded several albums as a leader and sideman during his career. Emmet Ray died in Toronto in 2004.

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6. Jazz Bistro

Jazz Bistro is one of the best jazz bars in Toronto. It is located on Cumberland Street in the heart of the city. The bar has a great atmosphere, with a live band playing every night. The music is always top-notch, and the bartenders are knowledgeable and passionate about their craft. If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy live jazz, Jazz Bistro is the perfect spot.

7. BarChef

BarChef is one of the best jazz bars in Toronto. It’s a great place to listen to live music, enjoy delicious cocktails and meet new people. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, and the staff are always happy to chat and help you find the perfect drink. If you’re looking for a fun night out, BarChef is the place to be.8. Reposado Bar & Lounge

Reposado Bar & Lounge is one of the best jazz bars in Toronto. Situated on the second floor of an old Victorian house on Ossington Avenue, Reposado has a cozy and intimate feel, with dark wood floors, exposed brick walls, and low lighting. The music at Reposado is primarily Latin jazz, and the bar features live bands every night. The cocktails are creative and well-made, and the food menu features small plates and tapas.

9. Spice Lounge & Tapas

If you’re looking for a relaxed and intimate setting to enjoy jazz, then the Spice Lounge & Tapas is the perfect spot. This cozy little lounge is located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, featuring live jazz music every night. The menu features a variety of small plates and tapas and an impressive selection of wines and cocktails. The perfect place to unwind after a long day at work or exploring the city.

10. Grossman’s Tavern

Grossman’s Tavern is one of the most famous jazz bars in Toronto. Located in the city’s heart, it attracts locals and tourists alike. The Tavern has a long history, dating back to the early 1900s, when it was a popular hangout for musicians and artists. Today, it continues to be a hotspot for live music, with nightly performances by some of the best jazz musicians in the city. Grossman’s Tavern is the perfect spot if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy some great tunes.

Overview of the Best Jazz Bars in Toronto

Best Jazz Bars in Toronto
Best Jazz Bars in Toronto

There’s nothing quite like a good jazz bar. The best ones offer a perfect mix of atmosphere, good music, and great drinks. You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for the best jazz bars in Toronto. Here’s an overview of some of the city’s best:

The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar: This iconic Toronto jazz bar has been around for decades and is still going strong. It’s the perfect place to catch a live show, enjoy a drink, and soak up the atmosphere.

The Reservoir Lounge: This trendy spot is one of Toronto’s newer jazz bars, but it’s already made a name for itself as a great place to hear live music and enjoy a craft cocktail.

Burdock: This unique space combines a brewery with a music venue, making it the perfect place to relax with a pint and listen to some good tunes. They often host jazz nights, so keep an eye on their calendar.

The Drake Hotel: The Drake is one of Toronto’s most famous hotels, and its basement bar is an excellent spot for live music. They sometimes have jazz nights, so be sure to check their schedule.

These are just some of the great jazz bars that Toronto has to offer. So whether you’re looking for a classic spot or something new, you will find somewhere that suits your taste.

Tips for Choosing a Jazz Bar

When it comes to choosing a jazz bar, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, consider the atmosphere of the bar. Is it laid-back and relaxed, or is it more upbeat and lively? Second, think about the music selection. Does the bar focus on classic jazz standards or feature more contemporary artists? Lastly, don’t forget to factor in location. After all, you’ll want to be sure you can get to and from the bar quickly.

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With these tips in mind, finding the perfect jazz bar for your evening out should be a breeze. So grab a friend and head to one of Toronto’s best jazz bars tonight!


Toronto is a city filled with great jazz bars that offer great music, delicious drinks and an unforgettable atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a place to chill out on a warm summer night or somewhere to get your groove on with friends, there’s something for everyone in Toronto. From classic spots like The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar to more modern venues such as Al Green Theatre, these are our picks for the best jazz bars in Toronto – the perfect places to get your fix on this timeless genre.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Jazz Bars in Toronto

 What kind of food and drinks are served at jazz bars in Toronto? 

Many jazz bars in Toronto offer a range of food and drinks, from bar snacks and appetizers to full meals. Some venues may specialize in cocktails, while others may have an extensive wine list. Be sure to check each establishment’s menu before you go.

 Are there any outdoor jazz bars in Toronto? 

Yes, some jazz bars in Toronto have outdoor seating or rooftop patios. This can be a great option when the weather is excellent in the summer.

 Can I host a private event or party at a jazz bar in Toronto? 

Many jazz bars in Toronto offer private event spaces for parties, corporate events, and other gatherings. Check with each venue to see what options are available.

 Are there any jazz bars in Toronto that feature live music every night? 

Yes, some jazz bars in Toronto have live music performances every night of the week. These venues are a great option to catch some great jazz music regularly.

What is the atmosphere like at Toronto’s jazz bars? 

The atmosphere at jazz bars in Toronto is generally relaxed and intimate, with low lighting and comfortable seating. Many venues have a cozy, speakeasy-style feel to them.

Are there any famous jazz musicians who have played at Toronto’s jazz bars? 

Many famous jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and John Coltrane, have performed at Toronto’s jazz bars. Today, Toronto continues to attract top-tier jazz talent from around the world.

 Do I need to make reservations for jazz bars in Toronto? 

Making reservations is always a good idea if you plan to go to a famous jazz bar during peak hours. Some venues may require reservations for specific events or performances.

 Are children allowed in jazz bars in Toronto? 

Again, this varies by the establishment. Some jazz bars in Toronto may have age restrictions, while others may be family-friendly. Check with each venue before bringing children.

 What kind of music can I hear at Toronto’s jazz bars? 

Toronto’s jazz bars feature a variety of styles, from traditional jazz to modern interpretations. You may hear swing, bebop, Latin jazz, funk, and more.

 How much does it cost to see a show at a jazz bar in Toronto? 

Prices vary depending on the venue and the performer. Some shows may be free, while others may charge a cover fee. Expect to pay anywhere from $10-$50 per person, depending on the venue and the event.

 Can I bring my instruments to jam at Toronto’s jazz bars? 

Some jazz bars in Toronto offer open jam sessions where musicians can join in and play with the house band. Check with each venue to see if they allow outside musicians to participate.

Lisa Mario
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