MUSIC GALLERY Jazz gets an expansive forum through one of its concert programs, the Jazz Avant Series. Opened with the mission of encouraging innovation and experimentation in all forms of music, the Gallery has garnered a reputation for delivering envelope-pushing performances. Call for a complete schedule. Adults $15, students $5. 197 John St., 416-204-1080.
THE CENTRAL Off the Annex’s main drag, this relaxed but stylish bar has maintained the jazz-centric acts and audience of its predecessor, The Red Guitar, while building a new energy by including some rock acts. Two patios are great spots to enjoy the vibe. Cover: $5 to $10. 603 Markham St., 416-913-4586.
DOMINION ON QUEEN One of the oldest bars in Toronto and a Corktown cornerstone, Dominion has a stage and acoustics that create the perfect environment for audiences and musicians alike. Jazz acts—everything from soloists to trios to big bands—representing a variety of styles hit the stage four or five nights a week. Cover: $5 to $10. 500 Queen St. E., 416-368-6893.
LULA LOUNGE Beneath the glow of giant red lanterns, the sounds of Latin jazz set the ambience for dinner at this worldly venue. Check out the calendar for concert nights, or visit Lula on the weekend for dinner and a dance lesson. Cover: $10 to $25. 1585 Dundas St. W., 416-588-0307.
OLIVIA’S AT 53 Break up the week by visiting this Little Italy restaurant to listen to Cuban-born pianist David Virelles on Wednesday night or enjoy the gypsy jazz style of David Buchbinder on Thursday night. Saturday has a Cuban-jazz review to seduce late-night patrons. No cover. 53 Clinton St. (at College Street), 416-533-3989.
THE SILVER DOLLAR ROOM Visit the city’s premier blues destination to experience the sounds of both established musicians and new players honing their chops. The retro-designed interior features a well-stocked bar—pull up a stool and enjoy the show! Cover: $10 and up. 486 Spadina Ave., 416-763-9139.
THE OLD MILL Every Friday night, the Home Smith Bar inside the quaint Old Mill Inn eases 9-to-5ers into their weekend with live shows by jazz duos and trios. The cozy atmosphere is augmented by dark woods and high-beamed ceilings. Cover: $12. 21 Old Mill Rd., 416-236-2641.
RESERVOIR LOUNGE Sink into this intimate and enticing swing-jazz and blues bar. Pick a night to get to know one swing band or vary your visits to experience the eclectic range of acts. Cover: $5 to $10. 52 Wellington St. E., lower level, 416-955-0887.
TRANZAC An alternative spot for jazz enthusiasts, this Aussie/Kiwi community club plays host to an odd-ball mix of special events, folk music, comedy acts and an acting troop. In the heart of the Annex, its welcoming, open-door vibe attracts jazz musicians for improvised sets that any music-lover could appreciate. Call for jazz show schedule. Cover ranges from $5 to 20. 292 Brunswick Ave., 416-923-8137.
HUGH’S ROOM This intimate but well-spaced venue melds music and dining with ease. In addition to the jazz acts who enjoy the acoustics, this west-end hangout hosts a variety of musical talent with live shows throughout the week. Tickets $10 and up. 2261 Dundas St W., 416-531-6604.
See The Buzz on Jazz for more top-tier jazz venues.
Jazz descends upon the city this month at The Beaches International Jazz Festival.