Horseshoe Tavern

370 Queen St. W.


Pic of the Horseshoe Tavern


The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern is closing in on its 52nd anniversary as a live music venue. Originally known as a Country Roots n’ Rockabilly Music Tavern, The ‘Shoe welcomed Blues and Folk in the ‘60s, Reggae, Mod Rock, and Punk in the ‘70s, New Wave and Alt Pop in the ‘80s, and everything from Ska, Surf, Swing, Celtic, No Depression Folk, Insurgent Country, Cow-Punk, and Alternative Modern Rock in the ‘90s.

Historically speaking, the ‘Shoe is mythologized as the venue that gave birth to legendary Canadian artists like Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, The Watchmen, Big Sugar, Amanda Marshall, Wide Mouth Mason, Great Big Sea, Stompin’ Tom Connors, The Band, Prairie Oyster, and played host to the Toronto debuts of International mega-stars, The Police, Hootie & The Blowfish, and emerging superstars, Wilco, Ben Harper, Son Volt, Johnny Lang, Cornershop, Everclear, Tracey Bonham, Goldfinger, Paula Cole, Sneaker Pimps, Leahy, not to mention ground breaking shows by the likes of The Ramones, Cramps, Dick Dale, Link Wray, Golden Smog, Los Lobos, RL Burnside, Super Furry Animals, Gomez, and Neutral Milk Hotel.

It was the venue featured on Live on MTV in September of 1997, when the Rolling Stones began their No Security Tour with a thundering 75 minute show.

So it’s a nightly occurrence for international artists, managers, agents, producers, DJ's, and local industry movers and shakers to be hanging in the audience, and every now and then, artists play unannounced. In the last three years alone, this 375 seat venue has hosted the likes of Bryan Adams, The ‘Hip, Melissa Ethridge, The Blues Brothers, Live, Sloan, Billy Bragg, Crowded House, Big Sugar, Prairie Oyster, Bruce Cockburn, Teenie Hodges with Otis Clay, and Sammy Hagar!

Ordinarily, the Shoe features just the very best in Canadian national touring acts, and International, Surf, Rockabilly, Blues, No Depression Insurgent Country, Swing, Alt Modern Rock, and weekly community-indie artist development programs, like Shoeless Monday’s, and the internationally acclaimed Tuesday Nu Music Nites!

With a solid reputation of being, first and foremost, artist and industry friendly, with pitch-perfect sound, and a prime location in the heart of downtown Toronto – in the Queen Street West musical district, the ‘Shoe remains one of the quintessential live music venues, if not THEE artist development venue, in the country.

Artists who have played the ‘Shoe recently include The Jayhawks, 10,000 Maniacs, Old 97’s, Whiskeytown, Jason & The Scorchers, Sparklehorse, Bare Jr, Jim Cuddy, Slobberbone, Blue Mountain, Jonathan Richman, Vic Chesnutt, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Townes Van Zant, Spirit of The West, Skydiggers, Mahones, Saw Doctors, Rheostatics, Paperboys, 54:40, Rambling Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Gatemouth Brown, Koko Taylor, James Cotton, Holmes Brothers, John Hammond, Fab T-Birds, NRBQ, Buckwheat Zydeco, Steve Cropper, Ronnie Earl, Southern Culture, Elvez!, Sleepy Labeef, Big Rude Jake, Marshall Crenshaw, Neko Case, The Sadies, Los Straightjackets, Chixdiggit!, Huevous Rancheros, Fleshtones, Dash Rip Rock, Mojo Nixon, Thee Heacoats, The Makers, The Oblivians, Reel Big Fish, Olivia Tremor Control, Sam Prekop, Jesus Lizard, Promise Ring, Bloodhound Gang, Barney Bentall, Sass Jordan, 7 Mary 3, Eels, Therapy, Refreshments, Holly Mcnarland, Barstool Prophets, Ash, Weeping Tile, Pluto, Killjoys, Soul Coughing, Nada Surf, Citizen King, Foutains of Wayne, Manic Street Preachers, Imani Coppola, Meredith Brooks, Tanya Donnely, and Throwing Muses.

In the future, the ‘Shoe will remain ‘Against The Grain’, and continue to deliver the best in cutting-edge Roots, Modern Alt Rock, and straight ahead heartfelt Rock N Roll!


Craig Laskey
Contact Craig from 1 – 9 pm
 phone: 416-598-0720
 fax: 416-598-2230

JC (Jeff Cohen)

Theresa Stanley
Contact Theresa from noon – 8 pm
phone: 416-598-0720
 fax: 416-598-2230

Upcoming Toronto Bands Playing At The Horseshoe Tavern: