Horseshoe Tavern



You’re Invited to Our 71st Birthday Party with the 54-40!

The Horseshoe Tavern will be celebrating our 71st birthday this year with 3 very special nights of 54-40! The party’s happening December 6th, 7th and 8th. Tickets are on sale now!

December 6:

December 7:

December 8:


Read More


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – September 11

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released their debut album Hope Downs on June 14th. They play the Horseshoe September 11! Get your tickets now!

Read More



Collective Concerts Presents 

LIVER record release with special guests!

Thursday May 3rd 2018 

$8 at the door 

Read More




Tickets available at Rotate This, Soundscapes, front bar of Horseshoe Tavern & Ticketfly.

Read More


The Horseshoe Tavern Presents: Speedy Oritz

Tickets on sale Friday, February 23, 2018 at 10AM

Read More



Wing Night: The Band are taking over the Horseshoe Tavern once a month until May! Specializing exclusively in 90’s R&B and Hip Hop, Wing Night has been burning down dance floors since 2013 with your favourite tracks from the kings and queens of the 90’s urban music scene. R. Kelly to TLC. Biggie to 2Pac. Mariah to Aaliyah… Wing Night delivers a nonstop party each and every time.

Catch the first show of their residency on January 20!

Read More



It’s our 70th birthday & we’ve already been celebrating for months! Check out our facebook page this week for some special birthday shoutouts from some of our famous friends!



Read More



All the staff of the Horseshoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace, and Collective Concerts, are devastated by the passing of Gord Downie.

Gord not only graced all of our stages too many times to count, be it with The Hip, by himself, or joining other friends like Joel Plaskett, the Skydiggers, and the Sadies, he had been a long time supporter of our shows, often buying multiple tickets for his family and friends.

We will miss the days of Gord with ‘suds’ in hand, hanging in our offices, talking about the great new indie acts we were excited by.

Gord is so special to us all, not only because of his musical accomplishments, and his spirited endeavour to make us all aware of social and historical events in our country, and pushing us to fight for change, he is special to us because to spite all of his awards, his accolades and his celebrity status, we knew Gord simply as one of us, a passionate, engaged, local, nerdy, music fan.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to all his friends, band-mates, music industry associates and especially his family, we will really miss hanging with you at the corner of Queen & Spadina

Read More



We are sorry to report that due to border issues Torres will not be performing at The Horseshoe Tavern on October 3. We apologize for any inconveniences and will be issuing reimbursements at point of purchase.


If you purchased your ticket through Ticketfly, your credit card will automatically be refunded. If you purchased your ticket at the Horseshoe Tavern front bar, Rotate This, or Soundscapes, you can visit that outlet to receive your refund.

Read More







NEW BOOK ‘The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern – A Complete History’

By David McPherson TO BE PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 23, 2017

(September 19, 2017 – Toronto, ON)  The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern marks its 70th birthday on December 6th, 2017, and is celebrating with a series of very special concerts billed as the Horseshoe 70th Concert Series kicking off Tuesday, September 26th and running until December 31st. The series features notable artists doing multiple night ‘underplay residencies’, as well as one night stands by artists who have performed at the famed Toronto venue in previous decades.

Announced today as part of the Horseshoe 70th Concert Series is iconic rock trio THE TEA PARTY, who will perform acoustic and electric sets over 3 consecutive nights from November 29th to December 1st. The November 29th show will feature music from Transmission along with fan favourites from the band’s award winning catalogue. The November 30th show will feature a special acoustic set of the band’s many hit songs, and the December 1 show will feature music from Edges of Twilight along with other fan favourites. November 29th marks the band’s first Horseshoe show in 25 years.

The three members of Windsor-based Tea Party have been friends for most of their lives, playing in bands through high school together and apart. With a career spanning over 15 years and 8 major-label releases, THE TEA PARTY composed of Jeff Martin (vocals, guitar), Jeff Burrows (drums) and Stuart Chatwood (bass), have successfully gained the attention of fans on a worldwide level, selling over 1.6 million records worldwide, as well as touring a countless number of times through Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. In Canada alone, THE TEA PARTY have secured 4 double-platinum, 1 platinum and 4 gold albums over the span of their career. In addition to this success, THE TEA PARTY have been nominated for numerous JUNO awards and have received 22 MuchMusic Video Award nominations including three People’s Choice Awards for Favourite Music Video.

Much of the bands success can be attributed to their phenomenal stage presence and impeccable artistry and musicianship with a wide variety of instruments and sound.

Tickets to the licensed/19+ shows go on sale Friday, September 22 at NOON ET and will be available via Ticketfly, Rotate This, Soundscapes, and Horseshoe Tavern’s Box Office. See below for more details on each show and ticketing information.

The first phase of the Horseshoe 70th Concert Series was announced August 1st and features Billy Bragg, playing three SOLD OUT shows, DOA, Hollerado, The Pursuit of Happiness, Elliott Brood, and 54.40. The second phase announced on September 6th features “Max Weinberg’s Jukebox”, Sun K, Lisa LeBlanc, Fast Romantics, Constantines, and Skydiggers.

‘The ‘Shoe’, as it’s affectionaly known by locals, will celebrate the launch of David McPherson’s book, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History, with a private media and industry launch on October 11th from 6:00-8:30 pm, followed by a no-cover night with Sun K,

David spent years talking to artists, managers, staff, and founder Jack Starr’s family, gathering decades of stories for the book, which is set for publication by Dundurn Press on September 23rd. The foreword for the book is written by Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy. For more information, visit:

Those interested in media accreditation to the Wed Oct 11th 6:30 pm book launch should contact us as per below

There are more b-day events and concert series to be announced including the once-every-10-years private industry party in DEC 2017, and a special concert by a longtime H-Shoe artist on the actual birthday!




DATE: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 (Featuring songs from the album Transmission + Fan favourites)

DOORS: 8:30pm

PRICE: $49.50 Advance at Ticketfly, HS Tavern Box Office, Rotate This & Soundscapes

ON SALE: Friday, September 22, 2017 at NOON ET


Purchase Tickets here:


DATE: Thursday, November 30, 2017 (Special Acoustic Set)

DOORS: 8:30pm

PRICE: $49.50 Advance at Ticketfly, HS Tavern Box Office, Rotate This & Soundscapes

ON SALE: Friday, September 22, 2017 at NOON ET


Purchase Tickets here:


DATE: Friday, December 1, 2017 (Featuring songs from Edges of Twilight + Fan favourites)

DOORS: 8:30pm

PRICE: $49.50 Advance at Ticketfly, HS Tavern Box Office, Rotate This & Soundscapes

ON SALE: Friday, September 22, 2017 at NOON ET


Purchase Tickets here:


More Horseshoe Tavern Birthday events and concert series to be announced in the coming weeks. 


Photo Links:
(L to R: Craig Laskey, Jeff Cohen)
(Photo credit: Patrick Cummins)
(Photo credit: Edie Steiner)

The Horseshoe Tavern:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



About The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern:


Although the building at 370 Queen St. W. was erected in 1861 as a blacksmith’s shop, the Tavern’s storied music history began in 1947 once provincial liquor laws were ushered in, permitting longtime owner Jack Starr to convert the commercial property into a restaurant-tavern. In the mid-50’s Starr re-converted the bar to the Country Roots n’ Rockabilly Music Tavern, a 500 seat live music venue featuring country and rockabilly acts. Notorious bank robbers The Boyd Gang were known to be regulars but more noteworthy, the venue began sealing its reputation as a cultural musical institution, booking country superstars like Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty, and Loretta Lynn to name a few. Stompin’ Tom Connors famously built his name at the Horseshoe playing extended residencies, and Starr became key in helping develop Canadian national and local acts like Ian and Sylvia Tyson and The Band.


Upon Starr’s retirement in the late 70’s, he rented the business to Toronto music promoters Gary Topp and Gary Cormier who quickly made a name for the venue by featuring a gamut of cutting edge and eclectic acts. The duo introduced Toronto to punk & new wave music like The Cramps, The Ramones, Talking Heads, MC-5, and famously bringing The Police to Canada for the first time. Unfortunately the Garys’ vision was miles ahead of its time and the venue closed under the weight of its own progression. Their final concert at the venue, known as the ‘Last Pogo’, became historic both for the music, the scene, and a documentary by filmmaker Colin Brunton.


Forgetting short stints as both another country club, and a strip club, an historic turn for the building occurred with the synthesis of Ken Sprackman closing the Hotel Isabella, deciding to drive cars to Florida while in-between occupations, and the building sitting empty. True story, Starr, an avid ‘snowbirder’ needed his car driven to Florida, Ken answered the call, they struck up a friendship, and before you know it, Ken became the next operator of the ‘Shoe. Really you can’t make this stuff up!


After Kenny modernized the bar for Starr, he was offered to buy the business, on one condition, Sprackman had to take Kingston resident Michael (X-Ray) Macrae, on as a partner. He had been bugging Starr for years to operate the venue. X-Ray introduced Kenny to his local friends Dan Aykroyd, and Richard Crook, and the four became the second generation owners of the H-Shoe Tavern.


Kenny and X-Ray re-invented the venue as we know it today. Sprackman managed the bar and revised venue operations, some of which impacted the entire Canadian Music industry. The duo introduced the ‘artist takes the door – the venue takes the bar’ booking policy – a radical move at the time which ultimately became the standard for local bookings in practically every original live music venue in the country. Similarly X-Ray focused on booking the music, he welcomed developing artists from St. John’s to Victoria, including The Watchmen, The Odds, Amanda Marshall, and with a focus on one emerging band from X-Ray’s hometown of Kingston, The Tragically Hip.


As the Toronto music scene began to coalesce next door at the Cameron House (which featured Handsome Ned and Jack Dekeyzer) and on Queen St with former punks like Greg Keelor, Jim Cuddy, and Bazil Donavan, who had a keen interest in Americana and Canadiana roots music. X-Ray also began importing the newest and best bands from Austin, Texas and the South. The Horseshoe quickly became the preferred touring showcase for new roots music, indie promoters, and was the go-to hangout for locals, music industry types and visiting celebrities.


Fast forward to the 90’s, when Jeff “JC” Cohen was hired by Kenny and X-Ray to lead the venue into the 21st  century. Cohen had the distinction of opening the country’s first dedicated all-ages venue, ‘One Step Beyond’ (in Ottawa) and his punk-a-fied alternative music bio includes stints as a booking agent (Rheostatics, One, Lowest of the Low, Big Sugar, Malhavoc, Mahones) working alongside Ralph James, talent buyer (Apocalypse Club and El Mocambo), and management consultant. (The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, 13 Engines, Big Rude Jake)


Along with his then ‘assistant’ – and now ‘partner’ – Craig Laskey, the Horseshoe was given a shot of Garys like music adrenaline, cemented with initial bookings like Dick Dale, Link Wray, Olivia Tremor Control, the Oblivians, Neutral Milk Hotel, Wilco, the Old 97’s, Sunvolt, Neko Case, the Jayhawks, Golden Smog, and Whiskeytown/Ryan Adams’, while re-committing to being a national showcase for emerging Canadian artists like Nickelback, Great Big Sea, Joel Plaskett Emergency, and Big Wreck.


“I honestly thought Kenny and X-Ray would give us about the same short leash Starr gave the Garys,” says Cohen. “I thought our musical taste might be far too progressive for the venue, and Craig was always nervous about continually filling an entire week’s worth of bookings, but Kenny was extremely supportive from the get-go.

He let us update the way the ‘Shoe ticketed shows and promoted its brand, and X-Ray loved our re-commitment to cutting edge roots music from Texas. He literally made us to go to our first SXSW in 1996, picked up Steve Jordan and us at the airport, insisted we head over to the Green Mesquite for our first ever Texas meal, and taught us where and what we should be seeing. SXSW became our primary source of A&R; it’s been like 22 years, and we haven’t missed one yet.’


By 1998, the venue’s reputation had evolved into the quintessential local venue to catch emerging artists like The National, Death Cab For Cutie, Spoon, and Frank Turner, new recording release showcases for Billy Bragg, Bad Religion, The Dropkick Murphys, Soundtrack Of Our Lives, and Foster The People, and surprise performances from industry heavyweights like the Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Bryan Adams, Melissa Etheridge, The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, and Dead Weather.


Click HERE for a ‘short list’ of performers that have graced the venue over the years.


In the fall of 1998 Cohen was brought in as managing partner, Laskey took over the talent buying, before he too became an owner in the mid 2000’s, along with in house comptroller Naomi Montpetit.


Says Cohen, “We’re 3rd generation owners, having been given the opportunity by X-Ray and Kenny [Sprackman] to guide the venue into modern times, and not fuck it up. It’s been close to 23 years now and I think I did ok. The ’Shoe is not just still in business, but the venue is just as relevant, musically, and culturally speaking, as it ever was, if not even more so.”


Read more about the venue’s history and various incarnations here:



For Horseshoe 70th Birthday Press Inquiries, contact:

Listen Harder Music Publicity | 647.345.0680

Cristina Fernandes

2938 Dundas St. W. P.O. Box 70704 Junction Gardens PO

Toronto, ON M6P 1Y0


For Horseshoe general inquiries, contact:

Kendra Gough | (416) 598-0720

370 Queen Street West

Toronto, ON  M5V 2A2


Read More
Page 2 of 1112345...10...Last »