Best Live Music Venues

Biltmore Cabaret

 This old-time beer parlour turned “hipster hangout”—empty cans of $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon are often scattered atop cushioned booths, even though the bar offers an impressive variety of beer on tap—hosts Miss Pac Man by the back bar, taxidermied animal heads on the walls, and plenty of room to dance. Past Performers  Everyone from Julie Doiron to D.O.A. to Vivian Girls to Destroyer to comedian Neil Hamburger. Weekly DJ nights on Saturdays, and monthly comedy and burlesque shows. 395 Kingsway, 604-676-0541.

Rickshaw Theatre

Originally built in the 1970s to cater to kung-fu films, this Downtown Eastside 700-capacity theatre is one of
Vancouver’s largest live venues. It sat empty for almost two decades until local patron of the arts David Duprey tracked down the original owners in Hong Kong and swung a deal that allowed him to transform the hollow auditorium into a promising rock ‘n’ roll club. Past Performers Deerhunter, Matt & Kim, Ladyhawk, Japandroids, and basically every act the Biltmore was too small to hold. 254 E. Hastings St., 604-681-8915.

Venue Nightclub

Formally the Plaza, this Granville Street spot has been transformed from a sleazy club to a respectable live music locale. They host DJ nights on Fridays and Saturdays, but the off days are packed with touring acts. Plus, the old Plaza layout was tossed in favour of a more concert-friendly design, which means the layout, blasting sound system, and bar service are actually useful now. Past Performers Liz Phair, Robyn, Die Antwoord, The Ravonettes, Little Boots, Brooke Fraser, Front Line Assembly, One Eskimo. 881 Granville St., 604-646-0064.