The Sidetrack Cafe (10238 104th St., 780/421-1326) is central to downtown, serves excellent food, and presents live entertainment nightly from 9 p.m. Shows change dramatically—one night it might be stand-up comedians, the next a blues band, then jazz the following night—and the only thing you can rely on is that it will be busy. Monday is usually comedy night and Sunday variety night. Cover charges vary; $4–10 is normal.
Downtown, the Sherlock Holmes (10012 101A Ave., 780/426-7784) serves a large selection of British and Irish ales and is the place to go on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). The rest of the year, drinkers are encouraged to join in nightly sing-alongs with the pianist. Sherlock Holmes also has locations in Old Strathcona  (10341 82nd Ave., 780/433-9676) and along West Edmonton Mall ’s Bourbon Street (780/444-1752).
Old Strathcona is also home to O’Byrne’s Irish Pub (10616 82nd Ave., 780/414-6766), where Celtic bands often play. The Stonehouse Pub, a few blocks west of downtown (11012 Jasper Ave., 780/420-0448), attracts an older crowd, with classic rock and roll pumping from the jukebox. It has an outdoor patio, plenty of pool tables, big-screen TVs, and nightly drink specials. Confederation Lounge (Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, 10065 100th St., 780/424-5181) oozes old-time style while Bellamy’s (Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe, 10111 Bellamy Hill, 780/428-6611) is a quiet space with river views.
Cook County Saloon (8010 Gateway Blvd., 780/432-2665) is consistently voted Canada’s Best Country Nightclub by the Canadian Country Music Association. Its mellow honky-tonk ambience draws crowds, and Canadian and international performers play here. Free two-step lessons are offered on select weeknights, and on Friday and Saturday nights the action really cranks up with live entertainment and a DJ spinning country Top 40 discs. On these two nights, the cover is $8 after 8 p.m.
Beyond West Edmonton Mall  is Cowboys (10102 180th St., 780/481-8739), with a Western theme but attracting a young, frat-like crowd with theme nights, popular promotions, white-hatted and scantily clad shooter girls, and a huge dance floor.
The Edmonton Jazz Society is a volunteer-run organization that manages the Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way., 780/432-0428, www.yardbirdsuite.com ). Live jazz fills the air nightly 10 p.m.–2 a.m. September–June. Admission is $5–24. The Full Moon Folk Club (www.fmfc.org ) sponsors visiting performers at a variety of venues, including St. Basil’s Cultural Centre (10819 71st St.); tickets are well priced at approximately $15.
At Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret (Century Casino, 13103 Fort Rd. NW, 780/481-9857, www.yukyuks.com ), show times vary, but generally, Wednesday is amateur night, and the pros hit the stage Thursday–Saturday. Tickets are $5–19.