Once upon a time in Guelph, a bar called Doogie’s sat adjacent to Pablo’s on Wyndham Street. With its sketchy atmosphere and “colourful” clientele, Doogie’s wasn’t the ideal place for even the most obscure act to play a gig. But after being absorbed by Pablo’s, the interior wall that separated the two bars was knocked down, and the space that was formerly Doogie’s became Pablo’s own concert area. This means that when patrons have finished with Pablo’s collection of pinball machines and arcade games, they can head “next door,” without leaving the building, to the once-separated bar that now serves as a concert stage and dance floor (although there is a small “auxiliary” bar in this room too).
Because the “concert section” of Pablo’s occupies a space that was once a separate premises, it is large enough to afford a surprisingly large audience for a downtown Guelph venue. Plus, with surprisingly good acoustics, a gig at Pablo’s can sound nearly as good as one at the Guelph Concert Theatre (just down the street) - although this of course depends on the gear the band uses. There is plenty of space to sit at one of the tables that line the edges of the room, or have a go on the dance floor. Offering up to four live shows a week, and with no restrictions on genre, Pablo’s is the perfect no-pressure venue for new bands looking to score their first gig, or for established local bands looking to max out the bar’s 150-person capacity. And best of all, because of the generally light-hearted atmosphere that comes with arcade games, pinball machines, and high-tech digital jukebox, Pablo’s attracts fun-loving and decent people - it’s a safe, relaxed, and approachable environment.
A TripAdvisor review, posted by a user by the name “kcfuntimemusic,” sums up the atmosphere: “No need to dress up[;] just show up and have a great time. Bands on the weekends and everyone dances and has a great time. Not fancy or pretentious just a fun watering hole with cool staff” (2019).