The best theater entertainment in town can be found at the Imperial Theatre (tel. 506/674-4100 or 800/323-7469 from Maine and the Maritimes) on King's Square -- not just because of the acts, but because of what the Toronto Globe and Mail called the "most beautifully restored theatre in Canada." It opened in 1913 and hosted such luminaries as Edgar Bergen, Al Jolson, and Walter Pidgeon (the latter a Saint John native). Driven out of business by movie houses, it served for a time as a Pentecostal church and was threatened with demolition. That's when concerned citizens stepped in. The Imperial reopened in 1994, and has since hosted a wide range of performances from Broadway road shows to local theater productions and music concerts. If nothing's scheduled during your stay, a guide still gives half-hour tours during summertime; admire the intricate plasterwork and a 3m (9-ft.) chandelier. The tours are offered daily except Sunday by appointment only, 9am to 5pm, for C$2 per person. See the theater's website at www.imperialtheatre.nb.ca for performance schedules.
If you're looking to catch a big-time recording act passing through town, head for Harbour Station (tel. 506/657-1234, or 800/267-2800 from Maine or the Maritimes; www.harbourstation.nb.ca) at 99 Station St. The acts here run the gamut -- during your stay in town, you might coincide with anyone from Mötley Crüe, WWE wrestling, and Brad Paisley (we'll pass) to pre-season hockey and Willie Nelson (we're in).
The rest of Saint John's nightlife revolves around the city's seemingly unending selection of pubs, most featuring live music and concentrated in the downtown district. They're all more or less the same experience, and fit the bill if you want beer, music, iffy food, and noisy conviviality.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.