The motto here is: “More Great Jazz than anywhere else, all the time!” and I couldn’t agree more. While I’ve only lived in Toronto since the late 90s, the Rex has been featuring great jazz and blues programming for over 30 years. Originally opened in 1951 as the Rex Hotel, the owners transitioned over to a live entertainment venue sometime in the late 1980s. Now featuring live music every night (18 bands per week, 100 shows per month, over 1000 performances per year!). Pretty much every local, regional and international jazz talent has played here at some point. Tuesday nights are sometimes reserved for something called “Jazz Jams” where any amateur and aspiring jazz musician can sign up to play with the house band.
Should you be hungry a full onsite restaurant is open all night until 00:00, but honestly the food, while serviceable, is hardly memorable. Drinks (i.e. beers) won’t bust the bank.
Forget to book a place to sleep? The Rex had a few years back renovated their rooms upstairs – putting the “hotel” back into the Rex Hotel. Rooms are basic (1 double bed, private bathroom, WiFi), but clean and perfect for a night or two. Non-jazz music lovers and light sleepers are wise to request a higher floor. Rates start at $110 per night.
Finally, for Jazz-lovers – should you be in town for the annual Toronto International Jazz Festival – the Rex is an especially active hub and in a good central location to all the festival venues.