Four Places To See A Show For $5

by Elena Gritzan

Turning 19 is probably one of the most exciting moments for a dedicated music fan. Your whole world opens up; you can finally go and see any band, at any time, in any venue. But we’re students after all, and that is practically synonymous with being on a budget. As much of a spectacle attending a show at the Air Canada Centre or even the Mod Club may be, most of us cannot afford to spend upwards of $50 on a single night of fun.

For those interested in seeing as much music as possible, the smaller-scale venue becomes a more viable option. Besides saving you enough money to buy a coffee in the morning, seeing a show at any of the below venues is almost always guaranteed to expand your taste, introduce you to exciting new bands, or at least give you a story to talk about.

Handlebar (159 Augusta Ave.)

Located at the bottom end of Kensington Market, this cozy bar features a long room, some fantastic couches, and music-loving staff.  Much of the week is filled with a variety of DJs, and you can stuff yourself with an eclectic mix of bands on the weekends.

Holy Oak (1241 Bloor St. West)

Located next to Lansdowne Station, this homely haunt is well worth the trek on the subway. Each table is lit by candlelight, and payment for shows often happens by passing around a jar. They also have some pretty incredible food to entice you back the next day.

The Tranzac (292 Brunswick Ave.)

Just south of Bloor on Brunswick Avenue, the Tranzac has three different rooms and a whole lot of heart. The home of many folk, jazz, and experimental scenes, you’re sure to have a relaxing night at this local treasure.

Hart House (7 Hart House Circle)

Did you know that you can see a wide variety of music right here on campus? The Hart House Music committee puts on a range of shows, including independent rock, jazz, classical, open mic nights, and singing competitions. These events are all free, so use that extra $5 to buy a snack at Sammy’s Student Exchange.

This article appeared in Demo‘s January 2014 print issue.

Elena Gritzan is a fourth-year double major in Chemistry and Psychology, but she’s hoping to go into journalism. She is used to responding to confused stares with an explanation that writing is what she loves, and that they always need more people to write about science. She once spent a summer seeing 100 different bands across the city and is adept at dressing up as obscure musicians for Halloween.


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