Let’s Hear It: Ottawa’s Best Live Music Venues

Let’s Hear It: Ottawa’s Best Live Music Venues

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Ottawa knows how to rock and groove at these top local music venues.

9 Places
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    Located in the heart of the Ottawa’s ByWard Market, Zaphod Beeblebrox—simply known as Zaphod’s to locals—is a prime stop for touring musicians and is probably the most well-known in Ottawa. The Rolling Stones shot their 2005 video for “Streets of Love” here!
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    Known to throw some wild events, Ritual is the natural home for electronic, hip hop and DJ sets. With big sound and a long bar, this venue is a favourite amongst experienced partygoers. It is also conveniently located adjacent to the Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa.
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    This quiet gourmet sandwich bar on Gladstone is bursting with all kinds of events. There is an aura of creativity that resonates from this place—and is showcased by the variety of acts that perform, from poets to live bands.
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    This beautiful, multi-purpose arts facility sits along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa’s downtown core. With several stages of varying size, this arts venue is capable of holding larger crowds with rowed seating in Southam Hall, or more intimate concerts at the Theatre, Studio or Fourth Stage.
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    The lounge-style ambiance here makes for a more mature, relaxed vibe. Dim lighting and smooth live music make this Ottawa venue an ideal hangout for adults of all ages. Mercury Lounge is in the middle of the ByWard Market, close to other fine restaurants and nightlife spots. 
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    This venue is a staple in Ottawa’s music scene, providing a good mix of smaller, local acts and more well-known ones. Located just down the street from the Rideau Centre, it is accessible and provides a little more space for patrons than other places around the city.
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    If you like intimate surroundings, then this is your place. Being the smallest venue on this list, one might not think much goes on there. However, depending on the evening, there can be anyone from a peaceful singer-songwriter to a hard-rock band that has filled the café to capacity.
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    As one of Ottawa’s few mid-sized venues, the Bronson’s unlikely conversion from a community centre into a music hall actually makes a lot of sense. Although there is seating and and it features a dated layout, the size of the venue attracts many notable musicians. While shows are not as frequent here as they are at dedicated music venues, the Bronson Centre books wisely and normally attracts a strong crowd. 
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    This Ottawa music venue in the city’s Centretown neighbourhood is home to artists of all kinds, showcasing hip hop groups one night and indie rockers the next. There’s plenty of room for dancing, but also lots of comfy seating for those who enjoy catching up with friends.
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