Haligonians (as the locals call themselves) are spoiled for choice when it comes to watching bands. On any night of the week here you’ll find live music, and there are some incredible music festivals here (such as the Halifax Pop Explosion, Halifax Jazz Festival, and the In the Dead of Winter festival) that brings the cream of Canadian and International musicians to the city. The beauty of the music scene here is also that seeing live music is affordable – here you can often see three live bands for ten bucks, which is pretty rare in a major city these days. Here are some of the best venues to watch live music in Halifax:

The Seahorse Tavern

The Seahorse has been a live music venue for more than 60 years, and still has a great underground club vibe. There are bands playing here every night, with a focus on metal and indie music, as well as local legends The Mellowtones (ska-rock-indie to make you dance your socks off) playing a regular Thursday night show. Admission is rarely over $10, the drinks are reasonably priced and the small dance floor gets packed out with people raring to have a good time. The Seahorse is a gem of a venue, the like of which seems to be dying out in other major cities. The Seahorse Tavern, 1665 Argyle Street, Halifax, 902-423-7200.

Bearly’s House of Blues

Almost every night of the week you can listen to the blues at Bearly’s (there are no shows on Mondays and Weds is devoted to the hottest karaoke night in town). This friendly venue is a great place to spend an evening listening to talented local artists or the many visiting blues performances that pass though Halifax. Don’t eat before you come, because the ribs and wings here are great. Bearly’s House of Blues, 1269 Barrington Street, Halifax 902-423-2526.

 The Lower Deck

There’s live music every night of the week at the Lower Deck, and this place is an essential spot to spend an evening when you’re visiting Halifax. The bands here play mostly cover versions of much loved rock classics, but often with a Celtic twist, and the whole bar sings along. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, all ages come here to party and the place gets absolutely rammed past 11pm. Your entrance fee also gets you into the Tap Room upstairs, which is a dance club/ meat market that is an absolute blast for people watchers. The Lower Deck, 1869 Upper Water Street, Halifax 902.422.5200.

The Celtic Corner

Across the Harbour in Dartmouth, The Celtic Corner is a great, and massive, pub that serves good Irish inspired rib-sticking food, has a great selection of beers on tap and has live music most nights of the week. You’ll hear music inspired by the traditional sounds of Scotland and Ireland, but also the Maritimes style Celtic music of Nova Scotia, PEI and Cape Breton. The line-up is a mix of cover bands and those that play their own songs. The Celtic Corner, 69 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth 902-464-0764. 

The Company House

The Company House is a great little bar that showcases singer songwriters and attracts a mellower crowd than some of the other venues in town. Some top performers play intimate shows here, and it attracts an artistic crowd (many local writers hold their book launches here). It is also a GLBT friendly venue (but welcomes everyone equally). As great as the bar is, the location can be a bit sketchy and there isn’t much else around, so you might want to take a cab there and back. The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street, Halifax, 902-404-3050.

The Carleton

Probably Halifax’s classiest music venue, The Carleton is a pub and restaurant that attracts high caliber singer songwriters (think Joel Plaskett and Ron Sexsmith). This venue is pretty tiny, so if you want a guaranteed seat (there are only 100) you need to make a dinner reservation for a table in the bar. The Carleton, 1685 Argyle Street, Halifax, 902-422-6335.