Established in 2001, The Casbah occupies the second floor of 306 King St. West. The Casbah Lounge, the casual bar in the building’s main floor, closed in 2014 to make way for a restaurant; but when this restaurant closed in 2017, The Lounge reopened (under the same ownership as last time) after some renovations. The second floor venue remains a site for live music, while the Lounge on the first floor focuses on DJ’s and EDM.
On the venue’s Facebook page, The Casbah advertises itself as a “Craft Beer Bar & Event Venue” at “the heart of the city's music scene.” The venue has hosted Canadian acts such as Holy Fuck, Said The Whale, Current Swell, and Grand Theft Bus; and they like to promote Hamilton-based acts such as Royal Seas, Folk Sinners, Water Bear, Capitol, The Ferns, Basement Revolver, and Dizzy Spells. International stars such as Wanda Jackson, The Paper Kites, and Pixies have also made their way to The Casbah over the years.
Considering its relatively modest capacity of 350 people, The Casbah’s stage is surprisingly large - 15’ deep and 22’ wide - and its sound quality has been described by Facebook users as “excellent” (Rita Ippolito-Rabcaniak 2019), and “second to none” (Michele Gare, 2018). The excellence of the Casbah’s sound quality comes down its PA, consisting of two EV Xi1152/64 loudspeakers, two custom built, dual 18” speakers for the subwoofer, one Yamaha P2700 tweeter for highs, one QSC MX2000 speaker for mids, and one Yorkville AP 4020 for lows. This array is all controlled by a DBX Driverack 260 signal processor.
Plus, with three EV ZX5-60 Stage Monitors and a Yorkville Elite Maxim 1000 Drum Sub Monitor, plus a full complement of mics (vocal and drum), stands, and digital interfaces available for use, artists can enjoy playing their sets as much as audiences enjoy watching them. In addition, The Casbah puts on regular events such as “Karaoke Cabaret” (the second and fourth Tuesday of every month), “Risky Business,” an 80’s dance music hosted by DJ Mark & DJ Murk (the first Saturday of every month, “Harem,” a belly dancing show (the second Saturday of every month), and Comedy Night in Hamilton (the last Thursday of every month).
With such an impressive CV of musical talent that has graced its stage over the years, and its diverse array of events, The Casbah is worth a visit any day of the week. Next time you’re in Hamilton, make sure to stop in - it’s easy, as the parking lot at the back of the joint means you can avoid the hassle of finding street parking in the Hammer’s downtown core - and have a drink while enjoying some comedy, dancing, or live music in this casual yet professionally run venue.