Rockhead’s Paradise

Rockhead's Paradise wet road photo poster
Rockhead’s Paradise, photo 1978 Trevor Goring, Virus Magazine, Montreal.


1258 Rue Saint-Antoine W.


1931 – 1980

Rockhead’s Paradise was one of Montreal’s longest-running nightclubs of the 20th century, open from 1931 all the way to 1980. Owner Rufus Rockhead, born in Jamaica, started his club at the beginning of the golden era of swing and jazz music, when prohibition in the US saw many bands and tourists from there come up to Montreal.

Check out the full interview transcript with legendary performer Ethel Bruneau here!

Learn more about Ethel Bruneau’s story here.

The club managed to evolve in later years, hosting a bustling dancefloor in the soul and disco years from the mid 60s onwards, as well as its concert stage. Rockhead’s son kept it open until 1980 after Rufus Sr. suffered a stroke in 1975; Rockhead passed away in 1982, the same year the Rising Sun that had settled into the old building closed down.

Click here to listen to Nantali Indongo’s interview with Ethel Bruneau on CBC’s “The Bridge.”

"Rockhead's Paradise Cafe - Montreal's Smartest Coloured Nite Club" carte postale
“Rockhead’s Paradise Cafe – Montreal’s Smartest Coloured Nite Club” carte postale
Montréal Insolite
Rockhead’s Paradise, 1972. Photo : Montréal Insolite, 1973. ARCMTL collection.

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