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Rock n' Roll History at the Atria

For decades through the ups and downs of the Downtown, The Atria Bar and Grill has been a stalwart of Oshawa’s music scene. For over 40 years, the Atria has been the go-to home for punk, metal, and alternative acts and for locals looking to get a start on their big dreams.


“We focus on any type of music, we have a stage, and if you want to perform, we're here for you,”

says Dino Iezzi, son of original owner Art, who worked his way up in the family business first as a

dishwasher, then a cook, then a bartender, and now owner/promoter.

Dino Iezzi, Owner, The Atria Bar & Grill

Art Iezzi opened the restaurant in 1980 and named it after his Italian hometown, Atria, on the Adriatic sea. With the popularity of its piano bar, the restaurant started booking different acts and, in the 90s, became a live entertainment venue with a capacity of 120. Another 100-capacity room was later opened on the second floor.


“We opened the Diezel room in 1999 as a dance club, a few years after we started hosting bands up there as well,” says Dino. The Diezel has yet to open post-Covid shutdowns, but plans are afoot to get feet on the floor once again.


Although the Atria is well known as a music venue, it is still an Italian restaurant, as the full name implies, and the menu offers soups, salads, burgers, pizza, and pasta. Its signature lasagna dish has been warming the bellies of van-cold touring bands from across the country.


With such a legacy and a centralized location, it's not surprising bands will stop in even when passing

through.


“We've had so many different up-and-coming bands throughout the years, tough to remember all of

them, but I do remember Kim Mitchell from Max Webster coming in with some of the guys from

Coney Hatch back in the '80s, that was pretty cool,” says Dino.


“And a few years back, when the Arkells were performing at the Tribute Communities Centre, after

their concert was over, they popped into the Atria for some drinks, then hopped on stage and

performed a few tunes, that was totally cool!”


Promoter Chris Hill (drummer for Random Killing) has returned over the years with his In Crust We

Trust music festival. Utilizing both the Atria and the Diezel, the festival held in October 2022 hosted

ten bands in one night, several signed to Cursed Blessings Records, a label run by Al Nolan of the

Almighty Trigger Happy, and Doug Smart of Figure Four. Both those bands would have also played

the Atria at one time or another. It’s nice to come home.


Upcoming events include Toronto’s psyche rock Howlin Gales on Friday, February 17, and the Oshawa

Metal Fest, a two-day festival, is to be held in April. And there is always live music, jam nights and open

mics throughout the week.


“The Atria sure has changed over the last 40 years and is constantly adapting to serve the wants of

its customers. Our focus is always to provide great food, great service and great live music of all

genres,” says Dino.

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