Listen Up: 7 Live Music Venues to Visit Before You Die – The Clubhouse – a blog by Menlo House

Live music is a right of passage. Sure, donning a pair of noise canceling headphones or jamming out to your favorite band during a road trip is nice, but nothing quite compares to seeing your favorite acts perform live and in living color. It’s the reason why festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo are household names. Live music doesn’t need much. A few dedicated fans and a stage to call home, if only for the night, goes a long way, so we’ve put together a must see list of 7 venues worth checking out for music lovers in the good ol’ U. S. of A.


Address: 628 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Music lovers who visit San Francisco should probably make The Independent a point of interest. It’s one of the more popular venues in the area, but what it does differently than say The Fillmore or Bottom of The Hill, is focus on emerging indie artists. Production quality is of the utmost importance, and when the lights dim and the show starts, it’s easy to see how much that’s appreciated. The independent holds about 500 people, which offers an intimate vibe and great acoustics, all while plying visitors with affordable cocktails and a wide variety of craft beers.

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Address: 18300 W. Alameda Parkway. Morrison, CO 80465

If live music in scenic settings is your thing, then check out the calendar at Red Rock Amphitheater. The views are sweeping and the space is plentiful. Spend a few hours mingling in the open-air attitude of it all, or plop down on a blanket or fold out chair and let the music engulf you. Either way, taking in a concert at Gorge is an experience as freeing as the miles of natural beauty that surrounds it.

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Address: 196 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

Rockwood Music Hall is a small, divey bar on the lower east side of Manhattan that caters to the intimacy of its crowds. On any given night, wanderers can usually walk-in and catch a show free of charge, but the real magic comes in 1-hour cycles. You see, Rockwood is a 3 stage venue. And while neither of the rooms is very large, they are very interactive. It’s a great spot to not only witness up and coming talents before they become famous, but to get a feel for the underground music scene for which New York city is famous.

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Address: 116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219

Ryman Auditorium is known as one of the best music halls in the world. It was opened in 1892 and has had as many names as notable talents perform on its stage. This is a place that oozes the presence of greatness. Everyone from Johnny Cash to Sheryl Crow has performed here, so if you’re a fan of country music, it’s well worth checking out.

Image via Nashville Public Radio


Address: 54 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801

Orlando, Fl. is widely known for its theme park enthused crowds, but concertgoers should think twice before scratching it off the list of must-do music halls. The Social, one of O-town’s hottest live music spaces, caters to a different crowd. Synth pop and acid jazz sets aren’t considered off the wall here. In fact, the whole appeal is that impromptu visitors never really know what to expect. Live rock, electronic and salsa play well together at The Social, and with as many styles as days of the week, there’s no reason music lovers shouldn’t do the same.

Image via Grizzlee Martin


Address: 2424 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

It’s not a question of if, but rather when the next big talent will come out of Schubas Lincoln Hall. The venue is iconic amongst music aficionados and has seen names like Dave Matthews Band and My Morning Jacket grace the stage before launching into the stratosphere of stardom. The original venue is small but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in intimacy. It’s a great little weekend hang-out that offers everything from live hip-hop to punk, indie, and jazz, and the fact that they’ve been pleasing crowds for years is just a cherry on top of your Sunday evening plans.

Image via Wikimedia


Address: 2008 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Austin is by far one of the best cities in America for undiscovered music. Anyone who finds themselves on the road to this hipster dive-bar gem of a town should take a moment to check out C-Boy Heart & Soul. It’s a small venue synonymous with blues, soul and country music, but what it offers as a whole is a raw live music experience that is as authentic as it gets. Head upstairs to the Jade room for 50s inspired decor and close quarters conversation, or hit La Gris Gris, a food truck serving up incredible Caribbean, Creole, and soul food on the expansive patio. However you decide to treat yourself, one fact remains the same: C-Boy Heart & Soul has plenty of both.

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