The Best Places for Live Jazz Music in Montreal

Jardin Nelson hosts seasonal live jazz performances
Jardin Nelson hosts seasonal live jazz performances | © ColsTravel / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emily Paskevics
30 September 2020

Montreal famously has a rich music scene, in particular a wide range of jazz venues. The annual Montreal International Jazz Fest draws 2m visitors to the city every year, closing the downtown core for 10 days. But you can catch live jazz all year round – here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best.

Diese Onze

Bar, Bistro, Hole in the Wall, Contemporary
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With an unassuming storefront on Rue Saint-Denis, a low cover cost and a murky basement setting, Diese Onze comes to life every night of the week, offering some of the best live jazz performances in Montreal. Monday Latin nights are particularly popular, and it’s well worth arriving early to get in ahead of the crowd. Choose from a variety of wines and a cosmopolitan menu.

Café Résonance

Bar, Restaurant, Vegan, Vegetarian, Coffee
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Seamlessly blending the atmosphere of a café, vegan restaurant and live-music venue, Café Résonance is known for its creative and eclectic approach to local food and music, making it a popular gathering place at just about any time of day. Since its establishment in 2012, it has hosted jazz, classical and experimental music events, in addition to book launches and poetry readings, every night of the week.

House of Jazz

Nightclub, Steakhouse, $$$
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Although the storied downtown venue has unfortunately shut down due to the pandemic, the nearby Laval location of House of Jazz remains open (with the added benefit of free parking). Since 1981, the House of Jazz has been a landmark of live entertainment in Montreal, bringing in big national and international names. Dig into its extensive wine list and steakhouse menu as you enjoy a lively night just off the island of Montreal.

Modavie

Bar, Restaurant, French, $$$
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Modavie, in Old Montreal, offers up a French bistro menu alongside live music, which highlights local talent seven nights a week – even during happy hour. Music ranges from jazz and blues to R&B and diverse combinations of all three. It also partners with the jazz program at the nearby University of Montréal, highlighting up-and-coming stars in the scene.

Bistro à JoJo

Bar, Bistro, Pub Grub, Canadian, $$$
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Featuring live acts 7/7, Bistro à JoJo has been a mainstay of the Montreal jazz scene since 1975. In the buzzing Latin Quarter, it’s a popular place to have a drink and linger around for a wild mix of blues, rock, soul and more – depending on your preference and the night of the week.

Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill

Bistro, French, $$$
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With its cave-like setting and casual fare, Upstairs features memorable live jazz and jam sessions in downtown Montreal. The intimate atmosphere makes it a great place to grab a bite to eat and a drink with friends just about any night of the week.

Jardin Nelson

Bistro, Restaurant, Canadian, $$$
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The leafy courtyard at Jardin Nelson, in the heart of Montreal, offers lively jazz performances from early May to the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (the first weekend of October). Enjoy signature cocktails in this unique garden-like atmosphere, accompanied by some of the best live entertainment the city has to offer.
These recommendations were updated on September 30, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.