The Best Live Music in Vancouver

The Best Live Music in Vancouver
A Saturday night on Vancouver’s neon-flashing Granville strip might resemble any other city’s rowdy, booze-filled main drag, but Vancouver’s local music scene constitutes one of the city’s most outstanding cultural offerings. With dozens of shows happening most nights of the week at venues both large and small, historic and modern, Vancouver caters to the music-lover. Here are some of the best spots to check out your next show.

The Fox Cabaret

Formerly North America’s last-standing 35 mm porn movie theater, The Fox Cabaret on Main Street has since been restored as a hip, unique club and modern live music venue. Bringing independent music, art, performance, and entertainment together in one place, The Fox Cabaret is a beautiful cultural space. Upstairs in the former cinema’s projection booth, there’s also a cocktail and snack bar. Prepare yourself for leopard print walls, a sparkle inlaid bar, pink mirror tables, and moody pendant lights.

Pendulum at The Commodore Ballroom @Jeremy Lim/Flickr

Commodore Ballroom

A renowned music venue, Commodore Ballroom is known for its greatdance floor and lengthy list of iconic performers, such as Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis Jr., U2, KISS and Weezer. The ballroom opened its doors in 1929 and has since been synonymous with Vancouver entertainment and nightlife. Spacious yet intimate, Commodore also boasts two floors and multiple bars, which helps speed up lines while waiting to order a drink.

The Strumbellas perform at The Railway Club. @Steven Luscher/Flickr

The Railway Club

With pub grub, craft beers and a bohemian vibe, The Railway Club is one of Vancouver’s longest continually operating stand-alone music venues, occupying the same space uninterrupted since 1931. The venue has distinguished itself among others by hosting some of the world’s most innovative touring acts as well as local bands, and it has an unmistakable club feel from a bygone area. Honest and a little rowdy with lots of character, this venue is a must-see when in Vancouver.

Ducktails at Electric Owl @Steve Louie/Flickr

Electric Owl

A modern hipster style live music venue, nightclub and lounge, Electric Owl offers a fine selection of cocktails and local craft beers to enjoy while watching artists like Tycho, Purity Ring, Flume, and King Khan & the BBQ. Neon lights, hanging disco balls, and karaoke lights make up the funky space, and it is the best of both worlds – mellow some nights, a non-stop dance party the next. If you’re an indie music fan, don’t miss Electric Owl.

The Vogue Theatre @Oriol Salvador/Flickr

Vogue Theatre

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the Vogue Theatre is one of the few venues left standing from Vancouver’s historic “Theatre Row” – a celebrated street of high-class theatres from the mid-1900s. A defining architectural achievement of the city, the Vogue brings a vintage feel to modern music performances. While it still hosts theatrical plays, it also caters to dancing in a hyped-up crowd while listening to modern electronic music.

Julianna Roche is resides in Boston, Mass., where she is pursuing her master’s degree in Communication Studies from Boston University. She has a bachelor’s in Journalism and Italian Studies, and is a dual-citizen in the U.S. and Italy. She enjoys cooking, traveling, running and spending time with her dog.