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Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill
Photograph: Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill

The best jazz bars in Montreal where music's hot and drinks are cool

Dine out and drink up at the best jazz bars in Montreal—one trip and it'll be music to your ears.

Isa Tousignant
Written by
Colin Rier
Isa Tousignant

UPDATE, spring 2023: While the doors of a few of Montreal's jazz clubs have shuttered, we are thrilled to add a few more venues to the list. And you can always count on the city's jazz staples—several of whom are recognized as some of the most important jazz bars in the world—to keep the music playing.

Make no mistake, the best jazz bars in Montreal are right up there with the bustling clubs may found in New Orleans, Paris or New York. This city has been home to some of the world’s jazz legends like Oscar Peterson, and the scene here is why events like the Internation Jazz Festival take place annually. While jazz today may not be as vivacious as it was in the early 1900s, there are still many venues around the island that keep this storied legacy going—and with dinner and drink menus closely rivalling that of the best cocktail bars and wine bars in Montreal. From chill sessions in garden venues to fast-paced performances and upstairs speakeasy vibes, Montreal always has something on offer.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Montreal

Where to find the best jazz bars in Montreal

You can’t talk about jazz venues in Montreal without talking about the House of Jazz, whose original downtown Montreal location enjoyed a 40 year stretch as the city’s jazz meccaThe Laval outpost continues brings in an ever-rotating list of local & international acts. Equipped with a full bar and full menu, this is a great place to visit for a romantic night of a delicious dinner accompanied by beautiful music.

Bistro à Jojo proudly proclaims to be serving up live music ‘7 on 7’. They live up to that claim with at least one act playing every night, and two acts back-to-back on most weekends. This is not a place for dinner & a show though, as it is much more of a traditional music bar with the only items listed on the menu being liquors, beers and house wines. Then again, you don’t need food when the music is this good.


Traipsing through the cobbled streets of Old Montreal, you may feel yourself taken over by the need to listen to music as charming as the street’s mosaic. Luckily for us, Modavie is supplying the more historic part of town with all of its music listening needs. Adding to the venue’s unique Montreal charm are the set-runners that fulfill the restaurant's emphasis on highlighting local acts. They take it a step further by partnering with the Université de Montréal’s jazz program to highlight up-and-coming stars in the program.

A modern classic of the Montreal Jazz scene, Diese Onze is located on Rue St. Denis, a street that used to be filled to the brim with jazz bars. Diese Onze is one of the few that remains and proudly carries the legacy of this city’s beautiful jazz culture.  Step down into the little basement theatre and you’ll be seduced by whatever talented musician they have up on stage. During the Montreal Jazz Festival, many of the acts playing the big stages will come here for a more intimate performance.


Wandering down the always-bustling Saint-Laurent Boulevard, you may find yourself wishing for a speakeasy away from the electro ‘unce-unce’ of all the college dance clubs that dot the Main. Your salvation will be found at Bootlegger L’Authentique. Modelled after a New Orleans style hideaway, Bootlegger offers creative cocktails paired with upbeat jazz, blues and swing performances to keep you dancing until late in the night—among many more entertainments.


We deserve an award for surviving the slush and slog that comes every winter in Montreal, so treat yourself come terrasse season in the city: A leisurely long dinner in the backyard garden at Jardin Nelson to the sweet soothing sounds of jazz. Alongside a reliable menu of burgers, seafood and fries, the venue keeps jazz running from midday until late at night. Not so much a venue to explore the new & upcoming musicians of the city, but to listen to their dependable house musicians.

If the slower-paced wail of jazz horns isn’t fulfilling your need of music to fuel your dance, check out Salsatheque. In a room filled with flashing lights, disco balls and a large dancefloor, the salsa rhythms spill out and implore all spectators to cut a rug. It has been operating since 1989 and has developed some fan favourite theme nights over the years. Check their website to see if there is a night that specifically caters to you.


Have you been longingly looking at the dance floor, but held back by the fear that you’re dancing may reveal your inexperience? Club 6/49 understands you, and it's there for you. In addition to offering their standard dance club nights, they also offer dance lesson nights such as their free beginner salsa lessons on Mondays.

This dive bar has a simple slogan that encompasses their purpose: “Live bands, cold beer, good company”. They don’t get too fancy with either the (non-existent) food, or the drinks (mostly pints and shows). They ensure there is always cheap pints available and an experienced band on stage ready to entertain spectators. If you’re looking to try your own hand at jazz, they offer an open mic night on Tuesdays, but the staged jazz nights on Wednesdays are what you want when you need a show.


In the Thunderdome that is the Saint Henri nightlife scene, there are few places that serve as a live music venue or a reliable corner café serving simple well-priced fare. Somehow La Luncheonette covers both of these needs with a short but strong menu of Guinness-chocolate cupcakes, pulled pork sandwiches and peanut energy balls. They bring the jazz in on weekends to pair with a wonderful brunch service.

12. Nestor

This American Prohibition-era style lounge in Plaza Saint-Hubert is a great spot for a fancy cocktail, with live music sometimes, including live blues on Monday nights, all within the spirit of Montréal’s roaring ‘20s. It was the high time for jazz in the city, and for drinking—Americans would flood Sin City North to soak up our whisky cocktails and saucy nightlife. Go old fashioned here with an Old Fashioned, Negroni or Paper Plane.

Vieux-Port Steakhouse
Photograph: Gray Collection / Vieux-Port Steakhouse

13. Vieux-Port Steakhouse

Get a real feel for the age of Old Montréal at this steakhouse, where the original stone walls, hardwood floors and cozy fireplaces set the tone for some stellar 30-day-aged steaks enjoyed with live music in the background. Dinner comes served with a side of hot jazz every Friday night, as well as every weekend morning, for their famous live jazz brunch. In the summer months you’ll hear the notes tinkle right out onto the beautiful garden terrasse.

The best of Montreal's nightlife

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