The live music scene in Quito isn’t quite on a par with other major cities around the world however it is improving and, like anything in life, if you want something bad enough, you can find it. Quito has a number of smaller venues where you can catch up-and-coming bands from a plethora of different genres. From ska-jazz, to traditional Ecuadorian music to cumbia, Quito’s live music scene has something for almost everyone. Here’s our roundup of some great spots to get your live music fill.
Top live music venues in Quito
Where: Calle Lizardo García, E7–81 and Diego de Almagro, Quito. There’s also a second location in the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, antiguo Hospital Militar, Montevideo y Luis Dávila
This self-described “alt culture” bar offers an eclectic range of live music options for all tastes. From local ska-jazz bands to salsa musicians, there’s something for everyone. The music kicks off early at this bar (6pm) and promises “fearless fun” throughout the night.
Where: Calle Joaquin Pinto E7–38 and Reina Victoria, Quito
Although the name makes you think of things other than música en vivo, this cultural cafe offers tasty craft beers, excellent cocktails and a decidedly funky atmosphere with DJs spinning on some nights and live music acts on other nights. The venue space is small but it makes for a cozy, atmospheric setting to get your groove on.
Where: Calle Diego Ladrón de Guevara, Quito
Although this indoor stadium (named after the famous Inca warrior Rumiñahui who led the resistance against the Spanish) is mainly used for soccer and other sporting events, it also plays host to the occasional mega concert. Generally the musical acts are popular South American artists such as Shakira or Juan Luis Guerra. However, every so often KISS or Axl Rose will show up and the 16,000 seater venue explodes with excitement.
Where: Calle Isabel la Catolica 593, Quito
If you’re in the mood for some covers of classic rock hits, House of Rock is the place for you. In a region where cumbia rules all, House of Rock is a welcome respite with bands covering old school classics from Pink Floyd to Metallica and Bon Jovi. Just remember they like it loud in this bar.
Where: Calle Valderrama N32–307 and Av. Mariana De Jesús, Quito
If you’re looking for something more refined then head to Casa de la Música. The product of two iconic institutions: Sociedad Filarmónica de Quito and Fundación Casa de la Música Hans y Gi Neustaetter, this venue hosts the best classical orchestras from both Ecuador and the rest of the world. In the venue’s main concert hall you can see the who’s who of the classical music world live, from famed US composer Philip Glass to talented violinist Gidon Kremer, to name a few. The venue also has a smaller concert hall that is used for conferences, recitals and a monthly program called Friends of the Opera which projects videos of the most famous opera scenes from all over the world.
Where: Misquilla, Isabel La Católica N24–515 and Cordero, Quito
The name Misquilla comes from the indigenous language Quichoa, and serves as an indication of what this traditional tavern’s vibe is all about. You can educate yourself on traditional and native Ecuadorian music from all corners of the country, performed by the best local bands and performers. And the venue boasts superior acoustics for maximum musical impact.
Where: La Liebre, González Suárez N31–54 and Gonnessiat, Quito
La Liebre has been a jazz institution in Quito for over 20 years and is the best spot in the city to get your jazz fix. The place started out back in the day as a humble video and DVD rental shop and gradually grew into a café turned jazz club. Situated on the ritzy Avenida Gonzalez, the small, intimate space attracts a well-heeled crowd of punters and a roster of talented local and international jazz musicians playing their smooth, melodic beats.
We previously ranked this series of musical events as one of our top alternative activites in Quito and their pop-up live music gigs that take place in the picturesque green parks and plazas around the city feature some of the best up and coming musicians on the local indie music scene. The free-for-all concerts take place at least once a month and usually kick off early evening so you can watch the sunset as you dance al fresco to a range of acts, from rock to pop and jazz.
Been to any other great live music venues in Quito that are worth mentioning? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.