Even though the Avenue Theatre has been in existence for 5 years already, I never ended up going to a show there until I saw Dustin Bentall and Lindi Ortega play there last weekend. Located in the heart of Alberta Avenue, it was a movie theatre for decades before being revamped as an indoor skate park and now a music venue.
The room and whole venue were a little more rough around the edges than I expected. It reminded me of being at a punk show in a hall when I was 15 than of being at an actual venue (not that that's a bad thing). Not comparable to the Starlite Room, etc. There's a lobby area and then the theatre room itself. The walls are basically exposed concrete and there are dark drapes hanging on the walls. It was pretty cold in there, too. The room is sort of in two parts - the main floor where the stage is and a raised up part where the balcony used to be. There were a bunch of round tables at the top and open floor on the bottom. There was one young guy bringing out some chairs for people to sit near the stage on the side. The bathroom was in pretty bad shape. One of the toilet seats was completely disconnected but still sitting on top. Good thing I noticed it before sitting down. Minimal toilet paper, fairly messy.
I have no idea what the capacity is here, but my guess is somewhere around 500? A nice size to have smaller shows.
I was sitting to the left of the stage and the sound was pretty good. There were times when I couldn't hear the backing vocals, but it was very minor. All of the instruments sounded great.
I was pleasantly surprised with the staff. The two guys at the door were smiling and funny, not surly at all. And the aforementioned guy bringing out the chairs was also nice, even though people were like vicious lions attacking him to get their hands on those chairs. Crazy.
So while the venue itself is not spectacular, I am so happy that when the original movie theatre closed down, it was able to be reborn as the skate park and now as an arts venue, rather than being torn down and having who knows what built there instead. Edmonton needs to hold on to it's old buildings and put them to good, creative use.
Dress Code: Casual, no dress code.
The Powerplant is the biggest nightclub on the University of Alberta campus. It's a good place to go to meet young people and there's lots of entertainment with live music on Saturdays, pool tables, good DJs.... Food is also pretty good.
Dress Code: Casual
Vinyl is my favorite dance club in the city, and is one of the newer clubs in town. They play mostly 80s music, with some 90s, a couple songs from the 70s, and a few new beats to mix it up. The DJ knows how to keep everyone dancing all night long. The club itself is a nice size, with 3 bars, floor to ceiling mirrors and disco balls everywhere, a TV wall and one wall covered in records. The staff are all ridiculously good looking, both the men and the women (which is nice for the ladies, because most of the other clubs in the city just have good looking women working there), and the clientele are equally gorgeous. The dance floor is medium sized, although I could stand for it to be a bit bigger. There are black booths along the edge of the club, and a counter with stools around the dance floor if you need a break from boogie-ing! There is an awesome vibe at this club. No bad attitudes, and everyone is always having such a blast! I believe Vinyl is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, and they are always absolutely packed. Get there early (they open at 9pm, you might want to get there sooner) if you don't want to wait in line! Trust me, there is ALWAYS a line. They have an option on their website to book ahead on the guest list, so if you have enough time in advance, give that a try. Bottle service is also available. If you don't have the time to do the website, go anyways! You will have an awesome time. I wouldn't suggest phoning, because I've never had any luck getting through on the phone.
Dress Code: There is no set dress code. There are basically two styles going on at Vinyl: the crew that comes dressed up in their 80s gear, or the classy, modern look. Either way, dress to impress!
The Iron Horse has been popular for as long as I can remember, and probably even longer. It is in the old train station just off of Whyte Ave, which makes it the perfect location for party seekers. It is huge on the inside, with two levels and at least 3 bars inside. They play different music on each floor. The main floor is dance music, rap, top 40, etc. Upstairs is a bit different, but I don't spend much time up there other than go to the bathroom. It is always packed on the weekends, and the crowd is mostly the 18-25 range. I have to admit, Iron Horse isn't generally my type of place, but I had a really good time dancing while I was here. It can get a little ridiculous, but just enjoy it!
Dress Code: There is a sign outside the door saying there is a dress code in effect, but they are somewhat selective about it (which can be annoying if they choose to single you out). It seems men can wear jeans as long as they are not super baggy and showing their underwear. Sometimes they let guys in with certain sneakers, sometimes not. I don't think they care too much about what the ladies wear. There seems to be a lot of club wear (short skirts, small tops, glittery, heels, etc.), but most of the ladies I was with (including myself) were wearing jeans and either t-shirts or tank tops.
The Ivory Club is a new piano bar on the far south side of the city. The place is actually quite large, and there are two pianos raised up in the middle of the room facing each other. There are 4 piano players that take turns throughout the night. Some of the songs they play are regulars, and they also take requests. You write you request on a small slip of paper, attach some money to it, and put it in a glass on top of the piano. The variety of music wasn't huge; they played a lot of slower songs like Elton John and some other country hits. They did switch it up by playing a Sean Paul and an Eminem song, which was interesting to watch, to say the least. It seemed like they were speeding up some songs just to make them go by faster, and the piano playing, at times, was a little more like piano pounding. It is quite loud. Highballs were about $5CDN. They also serve food, but I didn't try anything. The Ivory Club is a good place to go if you want to try something different.
Dress Code: No set dress code. I went in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. Everyone at my table was quite casual, but there were others that were dressed up a bit more.
B Street Bar is the nicest karaoke bar I have been to in Edmonton. The other ones I have been to have been a bit dingy with some questionable clientel, but not this place. As soon as you walk in the smell of wood fired pizza hits you and won't leave until you try some. I was a little disappointed that the pizza wasn't as good as I expected, but it was still ok. I wasn't drinking, but the people I was with said that the drinks seemed a bit watered down. The main reason for this place is karaoke! They have a massive selection of songs; the book to choose from is about 450 pages. The people ranged in age anywhere from early 20s to early 50s, and everyone was having a really good time. The room itself is quite large. There are a couple of pool tables, TVs all around the room, and a very big screen tv that displays the lyrics to the songs that are being sung (which is much nicer than those tiny screens some other bars have). I had wanted to go to B Street Bar for a long time, and I was not disappointed.
Dress Code: No dress code was indicated.
Jeans and t-shirts seemed to be the main attire, so I think anything goes here.
Red Star Pub is a fairly new, trendy pub in downtown Edmonton on Jasper Avenue.
It is on the small side, and quite dark. There are booths along the walls, and tables in the middle. No dance floor that I saw.
I have been here twice. The first time was nothing special. I thought the music was far too loud to be having a conversation with anyone. I walked away apathetic.
The second time I went here started out fine, but quickly went downhill. The waitress essentially wouldn't let us pay her and wouldn't let us pay in a different way when we politely asked her. Then she went and complained to the other waitress, right in front of us. She then proceeded to stop serving us completely and drink the drinks we ordered. We also saw them talking about us, again right in front of us. When the second waitress came over to our table, she got into an argument with us, and proceeded to tell us "I don't care if you don't come here anymore. We don't need your business.", and when I asked her about the customer always being right, she laughed in my face.
Also, the drinks were not very good.
Considering that this bar is still fairly young, small and not well-known, they should not be telling people they don't need their business. They seem very pretentious, and I will never go back here again.
And yes, I tried calling to complain multiple times, but nobody ever picked up the phone, and there's no answering machine.
Dress Code: Jeans and t-shirts are fine, but the people seemed to be trendy and pretentious.
The Strat is by no means a fancy club or bar. In fact, it is a seedy bar inside an old hotel located on Whyte Avenue. This is not a bad thing! I enjoy the Strat much more than some of the trendier bars where the people seem to think they are at a fashion show instead of having a good time!
The age of people that go here range from 16 (fake ID's!) to 75! I have never been during the week, but on the weekends it is full of young people of all kinds-punks, artists, skaters, preppy...everyone is welcome!
The booze is exceptionally cheap. The beer is not drank to be enjoyed, it is drank to get you drunk. Pitchers are something ridiculous like $8 (cheap!), shots are $4.25 and highballs are $4.05.
There is always a good time to be had at the Strat :)
Do not come here if you are looking for a fancy, or even remotely nice, bar! I will be the first to admit it is a dive! But it is the people you are with, and the other people that are there, that make it really fun:)
Dress Code: Anything goes!
A visit to Alberta wouldn't be complete without a visit to at least one country bar and if you're going to try it out, might as well try the real deal at Cook County Saloon! You'll see it all: people two-stepping (who'll only be too happy to show you how to do it), sexy waitresses, cowboy boots and hats all over the place - a pretty unique experience!
Dress Code: Time to put on your best country attire! But if you don't have one, just go for jeans
One of Whyte Ave's most popular spots! O'Byrne's is pretty much your typical Irish pub: good beer, good grub, good fun!! There's live music pretty much every night which makes it a good place to hang out all week long!
Dress Code: Casual
Located on Whyte Avenue in the old post office building, the Billiard Club is one of the city's nicest pubs. The second-story heated patio is a really cool place to hang out with friends. You can also play some pool (hence the name) and order some pretty good food.
Dress Code: Casual
If you feel like dancing but are not into the whole hip hop-house-techno music thing, I highly recommend Suite 69. They play today's favorite pop/rock songs as well as cool music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. AND, drinks are pretty cheap!!
Dress Code: Casual
Since Cowboys is so popular in Calgary, the owners started one up in Edmonton as well...its not quite as big or as busy, but it does resemble the one by the same name to their neighbors only 2.5 hours away.
I was only here once, and I may not have been that coherent (a little under the weather, if my mom asks), but it was a pretty fun time.
If you are comfortable with your sexuality or are gay/ lesbian you need to visit the Roost.
This bar has been a fixture in Edmonton since 1979.
If you like people watching, clubbing and cheap booze this a great club.Bring cash for the door, as there is a membership required (it was 15 bucks for a year) but it is well worth it!
No other club played the Euro style techno and trance in Edmonton at the time I was frequenting the club.Just a lot of fun!If you are straight, people dont make a big deal about it, if you don't.
Dress Code: Pretty much anything goes
Devided into two parts you can enjoy the comfortable bar New City upstairs with a nice bar, a pool table and some nice seats. Downstairs on the ground floor you'll find some concerts taking place and a nice dancefloor
Dress Code: go however you want to go.