Too often music lovers think of Calgary (aka Cowtown) as home to Canada’s country and western music scene.  Perhaps that was true in the past, but today the city’s everyday live music scene is incredibly varied of genres with literally hundreds of performances each month in churches, community centers, concert halls, arenas and a dedicated group of local live music venues.  Here are few hot spots in and around the downtown that offer live music 7-days a week.

Ironwood Stage & Grill
1229 - 9th Ave SE 

The Ironwood Stage & Grill was built in 1936 as a small-scale community theatre, as opposed to the lavish downtown palaces of the 1920s. Over time, it has had several “lives” including an art house cinema, live theatre venue, impro theatre space, furniture store and now a live music venue.  It boasts an eclectic music program that is definitely worth checking out. If you are into Big Bands (and even if you aren’t), the 20-piece Prime Time Big Band is a “must see.” It happens only twice a month on Saturday afternoons and sells out quickly, so plan ahead. 

The HiFi Club
219 - 10th Ave SW

The HiFi Club

World class DJs and hometown favourites have been spinning at The HiFi Club since 2005, making it the heart of Calgary’s EDM scene. Home to the longest running house night on the planet and a wall of fame that includes Diplo, Chromeo, A-Trak, Kid Cudi, and Steve Aoki, The HiFi Club is a good bet to discover the next big thing in music.

Palomino Smokehouse
109 - 7th Ave SW

The Palomino is a no-frills venue (not much to look at) but has good food and good music. Located along Calgary’s 7th Avenue transit corridor on perhaps the downtown’s grittiest street - it doesn’t get more authentic than this.  The Palomino offers arguably the most eclectic music program in the city - from punk rock to roots, with both a downstairs and upstairs venues.   With no regular evening performers or program, you have to check the website to find out what is happening on any given night.

Mikey's Juke Joint
1901 - 10th Ave SW

Mikey’s would fit right into the Mississippi Delta’s blues culture with its wooden floors covered with a patina of beer and sweat.  Tucked away next to the CPR railway tracks, under Calgary’s West LRT sky train, near the Crowchild/Bow Trail spaghetti interchange, Mikey’s Juke Joint looks like a house in a forgotten industrial district on edge of the City Centre.  A perfect spot for a blues bar!  Check out Steve Pineo’s Blue Mondays and Tim Williams (winner of the 2014 International Blues Challenge). On Saturday afternoons at 3pm, Mike Clarke brings out his sax and hosts a lively blues jam that is always packed so get there early.

Blues Can
1429 - 9th Ave SE

As the name would suggest, The Blues Can is another a blues music venue, also located near the railway tracks and in a character building; this time a converted warehouse with a quonset-like circular roof that makes it look like a bit like a “beer can.” It attracts a younger crowd than Mikey’s, helped by the fact is located along Calgary’s trendy Inglewood’s Main Street (aka 9th Ave SE or Atlantic Ave depending on how far back you want to go) which was crowned Canada’s greatest neighbourhood by Canadian Institute of Planners in 2014.

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