Where to catch live music in Calgary during the pandemic

Whether it's behind plexiglass, or on a patio, live music is back.

Photo courtesy of Michael Grondin

If you're anything like us, you've been seriously itching to see some great live music in person. Clearly, the current live music experience is not the same as it was pre-pandemic, but several Calgary venues are leading the charge to provide us with the performances we know and love, while offering local musicians a chance to go back to work. 

Plexiglass has been added (in the form of panels or full rooms) to separate the singer from the crowd, and Calgary restaurants and bars with live music have taken all the precautions they can to ensure that Calgarians can enjoy live music yet again while staying safe. 

Cafe Koi


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Cafe Koi is a hub for budding artists working hard to get a slice of the action, as well as those looking for delicious Asian fusion cuisine. This live music restaurant and bar located in downtown Calgary is fitted with a huge plexiglass sheet that covers the whole stage, allowing fans to get a full view of the performer and vice-versa, while remaining safe.

With events of all kinds scattered throughout the week, Cafe Koi’s open-mic Tuesdays are a definite stand out. Here, you can experience local underground talent from a wide variety of genres. With tons of COVID-19 protocols in place, what better place to find some underrated Calgary talent.

Deane House


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Most live music events start at night and are accompanied by a few late-night drinks, but what if you're an early-bird? The Deane House, one of Calgary's top restaurants, provides folks who prefer to go out on the town earlier in the day, with live music.

Weather permitting, the Deane House is offering Sunday Jazz in their famous garden. Every Sunday from 1–4 p.m., you can enjoy a wide variety of jazz tunes while basking in the beautiful garden and eating a luxurious brunch. What makes this live music venue so special is that it seems as though life is almost back to normal.

Due to the performances being held outside, where tables are spaced out, there's no plexiglass or barriers; just you, your brunch, and the music. Reservations are suggested if you want the perfect spot.

The Blues Can


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Located in Inglewood, The Blues Can does exactly what the name suggests, provides a home for blues performers and blues lovers alike. With live performances almost every day of the week, COVID-19 clearly couldn’t stop this intimate bar from providing an outlet for some of the best blues that Calgary has to offer

This dark and moody haunt is perfect for enjoying simple drinks to the soundtrack of your night. The Blues Can is one of two places in this list that you can watch live music on the patio free of plexiglass dividers. The lineup changes frequently, so you can either check their event calendar, or go in blind and have an evening full of surprises. Either way, we can promise that you won't be disappointed.

Mikey's on 12th


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Mikey's on 12th, the newest home of the Blue Jay Sessions, is a hub for live performances and great food. Mikey's provides a live music experience almost every night of the week with a variety of musicians. From September 2 to September 4, you can catch 18 seriously talented local artists doing a one-of-a-kind songwriter's circle.

Mikey's doesn't want your stomach to growl while listening to live music all night, so they have partnered with Empire Provisions to provide fried bologna sandwiches and brisket tacos, a lineup of refreshing Forty Creek whisky cocktails, and Russell Brewing craft beer for this event. Grab your tickets for The Blue Jay Sessions, or enjoy live music almost any day of the week.

The Ironwood Stage and Grill


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The Ironwood Stage and Grill is used to putting on over 400 live performances a year, and they didn't want to let COVID-19 ruin that. Starting with live streams of musical performances, The Ironwood slowly transitioned back into live shows and were the first in the city to offer live music using plexiglass dividers, which soon became a norm in the industry.

Additionally, this Inglewood live music hotspot is holding the BAND-ing Together 2 fundraiser to help raise funds for the bar itself. This event, held on September 18th to 20th, will feature 15 musicians and a live auction.

The King Eddy


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Located in the historic King Edward Hotel, The King Eddy is an iconic Calgary landmark with a legacy of good food, great music, and eclectic culture.

The King Eddy has been back in business and providing Calgarians with socially distanced live music since July 1st.

Visit their "What's On" page to see who's performing. And with a gourmet menu that can satiate even the fanciest appetite, this is a one-stop-shop for Calgary's coolest date night.

Off Cut Bar at The Nash


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Nestled inside of the cozy, intimate atmosphere of Inglewood’s The Nash, The Off Cut Bar is serving up great live music alongside a variety of small plates and curated cocktails. Mainly sticking to folk sounds, the Off Cut Bar welcomes a variety of singers into their establishment. With dates that change frequently, it is best to check with the restaurant to see who is playing when.