This two-story watering hole above Murray Street is the first stop for live blues in this city. Live music is available seven ... More
This two-story watering hole above Murray Street is the first stop for live blues in this city. Live music is available seven nights a week, with many headline acts appearing throughout the year; consult the website for a complete schedule of upcoming events. The place can get pretty packed and the dance floor is rather small, but that all adds to the atmosphere. Call or see the website to know more.
The Rainbow is Ottawa's best known and longest operating jazz and blues bar. It is located in the Byward market, a lively part of town, and is easy to find. It offers great music by talented musicians who come from all over North America. The cover charges are reasonable and the drinks don't cost an arm and a leg. At the same time, the place has needed a good renovation for a decade. The seats are old and uncomfortable. Overall it is small, with lousy seating in terms of being able to see the bands that play (lots of pillars to block the view). Only fair acoustics and loud bands make it difficult to talk to someone sitting right next to you. The upstairs pool table should have been retired fifteen years ago. The worst part is the washrooms which are so tiny and dirty you would think you were in a third world country. So, go for the music, but don't expect much else!
The staff at the Bow are very friendly, and the music ranges from Reggae to Rock, from Blues to Jazz, depending on the night. Sundays there's always Bellyfull Sound spinning beats, which is one of Ottawa's most eclectic mixes. There's a pool table above if the boys get restless, and there's always room for the girls to dance. I have been to the rainbow many times, and they were always good.
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