Home Smith Jazz Bar
may 12 at the Home Smith Jazz Bar May 5, 2016 in News I’m so looking forward to returning to the Home Smith Jazz Bar with two of my favorite musicians: bassist Ross MacIntyre and drummer Mark Kelso. It’s been a while since I’ve played a jazz gig in Toronto and I can’t wait to introduce some new tunes and revisit my repertoire. It’s always to refreshing to come back to tunes I haven’t played in a while. I let the tune gnomes play in my imagination and what emerges always surprises me. We’d love to see you! This photo is from the Home Smith a couple of years ago. Gosh, my hair was short! Should I cut it again? no cover, 20 food/drink minimum
Home Smith Jazz Bar
To lovers of jazz and blues, Toronto is particularly rich terrain. It’s even possible to visit one or more jazz clubs in Toronto every single day of the week. There are several rooms that feature live jazz every evening, along with top-notch bars known for showcasing local talent and at least two dinner-jazz hotspots—think the legendary Ronnie Scott’s in London—that focus on international acts. From a local lover of live music, Where.ca offers this list of Toronto’s best jazz and blues destinations.
Home Smith Jazz Bar
Where Great Jazz Lives! Toronto is home to some of the most talented jazz musicians in the world. The charming Home Smith Bar, just off the lobby at the Old Mill Hotel entrance, is widely respected as a live showcase for the leading singers and instrumentalists on the international jazz landscape, consistently praised by performers and patrons alike.
I’m so looking forward to returning to the Home Smith Jazz Bar with two of my favorite musicians: bassist Ross MacIntyre and drummer Mark Kelso. It’s been a while since I’ve played a jazz gig in Toronto and I can’t wait to introduce some new tunes and revisit my repertoire. It’s always to refreshing to come back to tunes I haven’t played in a while. I let the tune gnomes play in my imagination and what emerges always surprises me. We’d love to see you! This photo is from the Home Smith a couple of years ago. Gosh, my hair was short! Should I cut it again? no cover, 20 food/drink minimum
1. JAZZ BISTRO As the newest addition to the Toronto jazz scene, Jazz Bistro is at the high end of the club spectrum. Here, New York elegance meets Toronto understatement: a huge chandelier hangs over gold-webbed table settings and a shiny red Steinway piano. Spread over three floors, the open-concept design ensures that diners in the balcony also get a view of the stage. Fabulous food accompanies a great line-up of local and international performers. Appropriately sophisticated attire is a must. See who’s performing this month by clicking here. • Jazz Bistro, 251 Victoria St., 416-363-5299, jazzbistro.ca • Map and reviews
7. HOME SMITH BAR This performance space at The Old Mill is so intimate, it’s like watching a live band in your living room. The room is cozy, with all the refinement of a private gentleman’s club, and has a respectably sized bar and a small performance area dominated by a grand piano. Solo and group acts take the stage regularly on Fridays and Saturdays. The house speciality is the Jazz Party, hosted by a specific performer with others simply turning up and joining in. To see what’s playing this month, click here. • Home Smith Bar, The Old Mill, 21 Old Mill Rd., 416-236-2641, oldmilltoronto.com • Map and reviews
6. MONARCH’S PUB Downtown’s Delta Chelsea Hotel is an unusual spot in Toronto for a jazz club, but it is home to a haven of excellent live jazz and blues performances called the Monarch’s Pub. Venture past the huge TV screens and the bar populated by hotel guests, and head towards the stage in the pastel-coloured lounge area. Be prepared for an evening (from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.) of great music with an eclectic crowd of jazz and blues groupies who come to support the regular acts and practice their dance moves. See what’s on this month by clicking here. • Monarch’s Pub, Delta Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerard St. W., 416-585-4352, monarchspub.ca • Map and reviews
3. THE REX HOTEL The Rex has dominated Toronto’s jazz landscape for over 40 years. With more than 15 bands per week, it definitely earns its slogan “More Great Jazz than anywhere else, all the time.” The casual atmosphere, wide beer selection and solid pub fare (the nachos are some of the best in town) make it the perfect place to just walk in off the street and hang out anytime of the week. The jazz on offer is always an exciting mix of acts—Harry Connick Jr., Kurt Elling and Wynton Marsalis have all played The Rex. Cost usually involves a donation to the tip jar and a drink, though some performances do require a cover charge. See what’s playing this month by clicking here. • The Rex Hotel, 194 Queen St. W., 416-598-2475, therex.ca • Map and reviews
5. RESERVOIR LOUNGE Tucked away in the cellar of a stone building in the Old Town Toronto area, Reservoir Lounge is a mix of Paris jazz cavern and supper club, hosting a different genre of jazz five nights a week. Casual dress is permitted, but the cocktail-lounge atmosphere should inspire some dressing up. The best nights for jazz performances are Tuesday and Saturday, when the lounge hosts pianist Tyler Yarema and his cohorts—almost permanent fixtures on stage here for the last five years. Reservoir’s claim to fame: it launched the career of Michael Bublé. See what’s on this month by clicking here. • Reservoir Lounge, 52 Wellington St. E., 416-955-0887, reservoirlounge.com • Map and reviews
4. GATE 403 BAR AND GRILL Located just outside of downtown, Gate 403 Bar and Grill on Roncesvalles is a natty blend of upmarket pub and shabby-chic piano bar. The venue is known for its daily schedule of live jazz and blues acts. There is the pub end, where patrons can just walk in from the street, and the more intimate, candlelit cavern section for customers with reservations. The actual performance space is quirkily placed in the centre of these two areas. See what’s on this month by clicking here. • Gate 403 Bar and Grill, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-588-2930, gate403.com • Map and reviews
2. HUGH’S ROOM The concept of this dinner-and-music venue—where diners enjoy performances in a concert-hall setting of candlelit tables—was the brainchild of brothers Hugh and Richard Carson in the late 1990s. Sadly, Hugh passed away in 1999 and never got to see the realization of their dream. Yet his name and reputation as a music lover and bon vivant live on through his brother’s Toronto jazz club, which he named after Hugh when it opened in 2001. A diverse group of performers have passed through the stage, including Ron Sexmith, Judy Collins, Bruce McCulloch and Alan Doyle. Dinner and ticket reservations must be purchased online in advance. Click here to make reservations and here to see who’s performing this month. • Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., 416-531-6604, hughsroom.com • Map and reviews
Wen-Hao Lue: Easily the best Jazz club in Toronto. Only warning is the volume (try not to sit too close to the front), and the ketchup (it tastes a bit off). Otherwise, their $2.75 plate of fries is killer.
A beautiful place to listen to jazz. They have a great policy which limits patrons talking during performances, which would be welcome at many other places. The food is good, the… read more