Tag Archives: live music


It’s the Dog Halloween parade! Plus a concert and lots of sports for ya!


A busy weekend at the Barclays Center, plus a coffee festival and football! Cheers to the weekend!


Grub with live music, or see a show this Thursday! Jon Bellion in town – or get thee to Fun Home!


Take it step by step this Monday! New kids, a new restaurant, and an old movie… who ya gonna call?

Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

At DEBC, they like hops, but they like American hops most of all. Here they use some of our absolute favorites. However, they might not be used like you may expect, by using varieties with high alpha acid contents (which means more potential for bitterness) and using them in ways that emphasize the flavor and aroma they can render a rather bitter ale with over the top tropical fruit, citrus, pine, floral and more hop derived aroma and flavor.

Mobile outdoor feast…for a cause

Denver’s favorite summer lunch tradition, Civic Center Eats Outdoor Cafe, is the perfect venue to sample goodies from the area’s growing food truck invasion. Cop a squat at one of many shaded tables set up at historic Civic Center Park and munch on a variety of foods while listening to live music. Hey, beats a desk lunch any day. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Sept. 27. Proceeds benefit the Civic Center Conservatory.


Make it a double at the DoubleWide

The DoubleWide, located kind of on the way to Deep Ellum from Exposition Park, is perfection in all things hipster and dive bars. The place is literally a double wide trailer that’s hard to miss because of the silver tornado that sits on top of it. The DoubleWide has cheap cocktails, cheap and col beer (including PBR, it is a hipster joint, after all), and live music most weekends and sometimes during the week. They also generally have either a DJ playing or karaoke on Mondays. The patio area is adorned with old lawn furniture and tables for when the cozy interior gets a little too cozy.

The Hamilton

Strange and amazing, unlikely and enviable, the life of Alexander Hamilton could be a blueprint for the evolution of Washington, DC. This is a man who started off an orphan and ended up a lawyer, banker and founding father before dying famously in a duel with the Vice President of the United States. First built to house the federal government, DC is now a city where polish and sophistication have been charmed by a bohemian spirit yielding a new, thriving, artistic underground. Located just two blocks from the White House, the District’s newest destination for envelope-pushing, visionary music and talent defies convention, much like Hamilton himself. Visit thehamiltondc.com for more information.

See new bands at old-school Trees

Trees has been a staple music venue in Deep Ellum since 1990 that came into its own hosting grunge bands (like Nirvana, before they were super insanely popular). Despite closing a few times during Deep Ellum’s transitional period, they are back open and rocking out like it’s 1990 again. Named for the tree trunk building supports, the venue is a decent size with a second floor that has a few seats and a great view of the stage. One of the nicest things about Trees is that they post a video of each band on their event calendar, so you can check out the music without opening a million tabs on your browser. Yep, Trees always thinks of the fans.

Do some soul searching at Buttons

Buttons Restaurant takes the upscale approach to soul food with gourmet ingredients and regularly scheduled live jazz, R&B, blues and motown that’s netted them awards in both the culinary and music categories. The menu offers a little something for everyone, but the real deal is in the “old school” section of their menu. This is where to find all the old soul food favorites like fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles and shrimp, fish and grits. They also have an excellent gospel brunch with live music and a breakfast buffet featuring some of the menu’s favorites and then some. Originally located in Fort Worth, they now have an Addison location and a jazz lounge in DeSoto.

The Amsterdam Bar couples a laid back atmosphere with an excellent beer selection

The Amsterdam Bar is nestled on the strip on Exposition across from Fair Park. In addition to a laid back, cozy atmosphere they also have a choice collection of craft and import beers on tap as well as a decent selection of spirits for the non-beer snobs. Artwork by local artists adorns the wall as well as a dart board, if you feel so inclined. They have a rotating door of live music on various nights, including live jazz every Monday. If the inside is feeling a little too cozy for you, check out the large patio out back. The Amsterdam Bar does not serve food aside from a few snacks, however, you can have food delivered or bring it to-go from nearby eateries.

Grand Central’s Downtown Miami’s newest nightspot

Grand Central is hitting the Downtown Miami scene with a bang, becoming the newest venue in the area to provide live music and a rollicking good time. Providing a place where music lovers can enjoy original bands and performers is first and foremost to the folks running Grand Central.

The line-up is non-stop and features DJ’s playing a blend of hip hop, Latin, and dance tunes. Amber Rose, model and ex girlfriend of hip hop artist Kanye West hosts a party here for her new beau Wiz Khalifa and bands like The Battles and Caramelos de Cianuro join other newcomers on the scene.

It’s a great deal too with minimal cover charges drink specials almost every night.

Grand Central is located at 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 305-377-2277 www.grandcentralmiami.com

Jazz at MOCA: Tunes under the night sky

Arturo Sandoval trumpet blaring at Jazz at MOCA

It’s a scene to behold in the heart of downtown North Miami on the last Friday of the month when the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts their monthly Jazz at MOCA event. It’s become the place to be and it’s no wonder, they get some stellar jazz musicians to play here.

First off, it’s just a nice event, people bring blankets, set up a nice picnic under the stars with wine and other goodies and settle in to watch performers play and sing their hearts out in their cool bandshell.

They’ve hosted such greats as trumpet great Arturo Sandoval, local favorite Ira Sullivan and jazz vocalist Nicole Henry. Great trios and quintets perform too and they get the crowd clappin’ and foot tappin’. As an added bonus, the museum stays open late so jazz lovers can stroll through and see the exhibitions.

Scullers Jazz Club: Enjoy an Evening of Live Entertainment

Looking for a place to listen to Latin, contemporary jazz, blues, soul, R & B, cabaret or world music? Then look no further than Scullers Jazz Club where you can find something going on almost every night of the week. Located in the Doubletree Suites near Harvard Square, the lounge has hosted some of the top musicians in the business including Harry Connick, Jr., Chris Botti, Jamie Cullam, David Sanborn, Michael Bublé, Arturo Sandoval and Tony Bennett.

The 200-seat lounge sits high atop the hotel offering spectacular views of the Boston skyline and Charles River. Make your night out on the town even more special by booking a dinner and a show package and staying over after. Check out the schedule at scullersjazz.com.

Monty’s in the Grove: Waterfront nightlife party

The make-up of Coconut Grove has changed over the years going from hippie, granola, birkenstock in the 60s and 70s to an area to cruise in your car and party the night away from the 80s into the present although the scene has quieted down a bit. One place though that’s stood the test of time and is still a great place to party is Monty’s in the Grove.

This waterfront party spot is always a great place to stop in for cocktails, maybe a nibble and definitely some dancing. The deejays here are always playing the latest hits and live bands play here regularly too. The bayview from the giant open-air tiki hut here is unbeatable, it’s Miami all the way. And the boats and yachts that call the dockside home are just as enticing.

Monty’s in the Grove is located at 2550 S. Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove

montysVAGABOND 007

The Beehive: Music, Dining and Art in One Location

beehiveThe Beehive has set a trendy scene here in Boston combining live music dining and art. Students and even celebrities can be seen at this South End location listening to regional national and international performers from jazz, salsa and blues to African and world music, even burlesque. The Beehive is located underneath the Boston Center for the Art’s Cyclorama. Be sure to hang out after the performance to sample some of acclaimed chef Rebecca Newell’s rustic comfort food infused with American, European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Check out the menu and schedule at beehiveboston.com.


Best Day of the Week: First Friday at Abbot Kinney

If the streets of Venice weren’t crowded enough, First Fridays at Abbot Kinney are bringing in hoards of people to take their wine and food truck finds to the streets of Venice as businesses stay open late for this particular occasion.

First Friday pic

First Fridays at Abbot Kinney have become a popular event that occurs every first Friday of the month. From 6pm-10pm, merchants, vendors and small businesses alike open their doors to pedestrians who along with strolling the streets, can listen to live music, visit various gourmet food trucks and mingle with Venice locals and visitors.

Not only has First Friday become a Venice tradition, it has become a way for local merchants and vendors to gain support and a following from those looking to have a fun Friday night out. From great food to great art, First Fridays at Abbot Kinney have everyone saying, T-G-I-F!

Dinner, Drinks and Vodka Tastings: Nic’s Martini Lounge

Nic’s Martini Lounge is one of the only places in Los Angeles where you can enjoy live music, eat dinner and take a trip to the VodBox for vodka tastings.

nic's martini lounge pic

Though Nic’s is popular for dinner with specialty dishes such as Nic’s Oyster with spinach, garlic and walnuts as well as Pan Sear Filet Mignon with crispy fried onions, it is one of the only places in Beverly Hills that doesn’t close down once diners leave. Once the dinner rush is over, Nic’s turns into an after-hours lounge featuring live music and an array of specialty martinis to choose from. Though the live music can range from a Beatles cover band to a solo acoustic singer, the specialty martinis remain the same and the most popular drink on the menu. Specialty martinis include the “Beez Kneez” made of Marani Armenian Vodka with muddled raspberries and candied pear and the “Vicious & Delicious” made of Vicious vodka, vanilla liquor and strawberry juice.

If dinner and drinks isn’t enough to get your party started, a trip to the VodBox might just do the trick. As you dress yourself in luxurious furs, a trip inside the vodka locker allows you to taste some of the finest vodkas out there as well as in-flight tastings for the true vodka lover.

In the city that is infamous for hot weather, those at Nic’s are voluntarily entering freezing territory.

Jolly Weldon’s Dueling Piano Bar: Jolly Good Time

Located in the heart of Rittenhouse, at 2006 Chestnut St, Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar is small venue that creates a lot of noise! Jolly Weldon’s 125-seat space surrounds two baby grands for pianists Anthony “Tony T” DeCarolis and “Wildman Joe” Marchetti. Every Tuesday through Saturday, these talented musicians battle to encourage the crowd to sing along with them to a 2,000+ song repertoire.

An abundant menu of snacks will feed your hunger as you work up an appetite singing along to all of your favorites. There’s also a two-hour happy hour from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly with $3 well cocktails, $3 glasses of select red and white wines and $3 domestic beers, to help you sing your best!

Insider’s Tip: Make sure you don’t throw out your cocktail napkin, because each one acts as your song request form.

Paramount Theatre: Downtown Denver’s Performance Palace

Denver’s a wonder of early to mid-twentieth century architecture, and the Paramount Theatre is no exception, boasting as it does a sweeping Art Deco interior complete with a 1600-pipe Wurlitzer organ—a feature it shares with only one other venue in the nation, namely Radio City Music Hall. But this inductee into the National Register of Historic Places is also a vibrant showcase for performers of all kinds, from alternative songsters like Sufjan Stevens and star comedians like Louis CK and Margaret Cho to TV celebrities like Buddy Valastro, aka The Cake Boss. The Paramount screens films, hosts lectures—think talks by famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass—and of course stages holiday classics like The Nutcracker. In short, it’s a glitzy, posh one-stop entertainment shop.


Cameo Theatre: Marquee’s bright lights beckon good time

The iconic Cameo Nightclub  in the heart of South Beach on gritty Washington Avenue stands out among all other clubs on this famous strip. The old-style neon movie marquee can be seen from blocks away, alerting clubgoers that inside awaits an awesome night.

Once known as the Cameo Theatre, hence the marquee, there’s something going on every night. A combination of live performances and first-rate DJs including Max Vangeli, Saeed Younan and Chocolate Puma take turns on the stage and behind the booth to excite the huge crowds that gather to dance the night away to their pulsating rhythms. Cameo is also one of the spots to catch the latest masters during the yearly Winter Music Conference.

And it wouldn’t be a club on South Beach without some specialty weeknight parties like Stars and Stilettos on Tuesdays.

Cameo is located at 1445 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL


Globe Cafe & Bar: Stellar jazz in downtown Gables

Coral Gables may be known for its restaurants, monthly Gallery Walk and upscale Mediterranean inspired architecture but it’s got a great nightlife too. For a quieter experience than South Beach or the Design District try the subdued, elegant Globe Cafe & Bar.

Great jazz artists hit the stage on Saturday nights, in this quaint spot to perform some top-rate, traditional and fusion Latin jazz. Legendary trumpet player Ira Sullivan has graced the stage as have trombonist John Fedchock, vocalist Valeria Proano, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and saxophonist Gary Campbell. And these are just a few of the rotating talents that make a night at the Globe Cafe a great night out for jazz lovers.

 The Globe Cafe & Bar is located at 377 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, FL


A Dash of Moxie With Your Roxy: The Roxy Theatre

roxy pic

Since most famous music institutions in Los Angeles are located on Sunset Boulevard, it’s no wonder that the Roxy Theatre has become apart of that family. Ever since the days of live shows from Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, the Roxy has become a must for up-and-coming musicians and those who feel like giving a little love back to the fans.

The Roxy itself is an intimate space with open dance floor and bar. Though most of the music performed at the Roxy is loud enough to blow out an eardrum, the Theatre has also become a place where comedy shows and performance art can take place.

Though the Roxy makes for the perfect night out in L.A., many visitors boast about ‘On The Rox’, an after-hours bar upstairs with DJ and all night debauchery. If you wish to make it out alive without getting bombarded by crowds, park across the street in the open lot, especially if you are visiting on the weekend.

Walk the Walk: Downtown LA Art Walk

Downtown Art Walk pic

Ever since the first event in 2004, the Downtown LA Art Walk has become an event bringing food, fashion and of course art, together for Angelinos to enjoy. The second Thursday of every month brings locals as well as visitors to the Art Walk where from the hours of 12pm – 9pm, anything goes.

Though one of the first to help launch the event, Bert Green, may have had a vision for the Art Walk, each month brings something different, such as spur of the moment fashion shows and live music events. Set up outside of galleries, people can roam the streets admiring artwork, listening to music, and enjoying food from one of the many food trucks that have begun taking over the Walk.

Since every month is different, everyone who visits once seems to come back again. For immediate news, events and anything else you could be interested in finding, the Downtown LA Art Walk has redesigned their website for viewers and Art Walk aficionados to enjoy.

No pretense at The Bar

Established in 1946 and a staple of the Coral Gables community, hangin’ out at The Bar (once known as the Hofbrau Haus) is almost a rite of passage for folks who like to party in “The City Beautiful.” But don’t be fooled by the fancy surroundings because this place is no pretense and all good times. The brews are cold, the grub is great and there’s a jukebox that won’t quit, it’s legendary.

There’s something going on nightly here and they know how to start the week off right with 2 for 1 specials on Mondays. Karaoke’s on Tuesday, DJ’s Boe and Icue take over Wednesday through Friday and Saturday there’s live music.

And if all that’s not enough, they keep patrons happy by offering a “Hangover Brunch” on Saturdays and Sundays, after all they want to keep everyone coming back for more so what better way than to feed ’em.

Gold Dust Lounge’s Music is Money

With the ceiling murals and walls lined with framed currency, the Gold Dust Lounge looked like a Wild West saloon. Don’t let the decor fool you, this historic Dixieland bar was famous for the many Jazz artists who have played there over the years.

San Francisco’s Gold Dust Lounge, in a fight for its life since octogenarian owners Jim and Tasios Bovis were hit with an eviction notice last year, served last call at its beloved Union Square digs and announced an upcoming move to the tourist heavy Fisherman’s Wharf.

The Gold Dust Lounge has reopened and you’re invited! We packed up the pieces in Union Square and moved to Fisherman’s Wharf on the Barbary Coast.

We brought Bing Crosby’s cherub mural on the ceiling, the antique brass lights, the Bovis Family paintings, the tables, the gold filigree mirrors, the old wood bar, the red velvet booths, Herb Caen’s stool, his Vitamin V, the band, the bartenders, waitresses, the Miner 49er, the swinging saloon doors, that familiar marquee -all we’re missing is you! Come have a drink as we kick off more good times for years to come! Help us make the new Gold Dust a home.

Waxy O’Connors: Limericks and ales are genuine here

The dark and heavy wood bar that commands Waxy O’Connor’s and is its centerpiece was placed at the heart of the bar and eatery to remind patrons they’re in an Irish pub and the 7,000-square-foot unit is authentic, it was built entirely in Ireland and shipped over to the United States.

The 20 brews and ales on tap and plenty more by the bottle are another dead giveaway that this is a place for drinking, eating, hanging with friends and especially catching just about any sporting event. They’ve got seventeen 50″ flat screen televisions so everyone can be watching their favorite sport or team at any given time.

Offering live music is another plus here. When the deejay’s not mixing up tunes, there’s someone playing it live at Waxy’s. The amazing view of Miami’s Downtown skyline and historic Miami River make for great waterfront drinking and gazing.

Waxy O’Connor’s is located at 690 SW 1st Court, Miami, FL

Kingston Mines: Authentic Chicago Blues

kafel_ampRockin’ since 1968, mention Kingston Mines to most Windy City residents and they’ll most likely have a story for you, a memory or simply just a smile. This is why Chicago is known for the blues. It’s the oldest. It’s the biggest. It’s the winner of “Best Chicago Blues Bar” by the Chicago Music Awards for 13 running years.

Open 7 nights a week, Kingston Mines presents two stages of live music with killer sounds run from Kafel Amps, custom made amplifiers – a design of former Polish rock star, Jacek Kafel, who now resides in Chi-town.

Wear what you want, this isn’t a time to get fancy, you’ll probably spill rib sauce from Doc Rib’s amazing eats on your shirt anyway (and if you don’t you’re probably not enjoying them as you should).

As for the crowd, it is eclectic as is the place and ranges from 21 to 100. So come one, call all: eat, drink and be blue.

Rock Out Live at the 9:30 Club

Looking for some of the best live music in the District? Head to the 9:30 Club, DC’s premiere live music venue featuring a variety of acts throughout the year.  With a bit of a divey vibe, and appropriately situated near trendy U Street, the 9:30 Club brings a punk edge to traditionally conservative DC.

Featuring all genres, from Lady Gaga and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones to electronica DJ’s and Bloc Party, 9:30 is sure to please. Buy tickets in advance and stake a spot in this standing room only venue (all areas of the club provide great views of the stage, so don’t worry if you’re running a little late!). With four bars and a pretty extensive menu, there’s no reason not to make an evening out of a trip to this rock hub.

Insider Tip: To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.ticketfly.com or call 1.877.4.FLY.TIX.ATL930_1

The Hollywood Bowl: An Outdoor Oasis

When you think of listening to live music in Los Angeles, you automatically think of the Hollywood Bowl. Filled with killer performances, great seating and dining options that force you to leave the picnic basket behind, the Hollywood Bowl should be on everyone’s “to-do” list, whether you are a tourist or local.

The brilliant performers and performances that fill the stage make the Bowl’s schedule impossible to beat. With weekends devoted to “A Beatles Celebration” along with other famous faces, music enthusiasts will agree that the only way to enjoy a show is at the Bowl.

Though you may expect an outdoor music venue to be filled with cheap drinks and crummy food, the Hollywood Bowl allows foodies to go wild thanks to the Patina Restaurant Group and their endless dining options for those in box seats to those looking to grab a quick bite before the show.

With great food to accompany a great show, you may think your experience at the Hollywood Bowl will be perfect. The only downside to visiting the Bowl is parking. Though the website will give you a few options on how to park, most people will tell you to find alternate ways, like the park & ride or shuttle.
Hollywood Bowl Pic

Sons of Hermann Hall: An Old Texas Tradition Lives On

Light years from the pretentious vibe of Dallas, Sons of Hermann Hall is a historical, casual, and authentic must-see for lovers of a cold beer and great live acts. The volunteer staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the bar is stocked with a pleasing selection of bargain-priced cocktails, beer and wine.

One of the rare, genuine dance hallsPicture 34 left in the city, Sons of Hermann Hall was built in 1911 and is known for supporting local acts. You can promenade across the dance floor, play pool and shuffle board, or listen to your favorite old tunes on the jukebox. The small upstairs stage has housed acts from the Dixie Chicks to newcomers like Sarah Jaffe. Open mic nights give aspiring musicians a chance to get their feet wet, and the younger crowd has really taken a shine to the swing dance lessons that are offered on Wednesday nights from 8pm until midnight.

Another major draw is that Sons of Hermann Hall is family friendly, with no smoking allowed within 15 feet of the premises. So, strap on your dancing shoes, bring a few bucks for a beer, and even bring the kiddies….this is one dance hall that welcomes everyone to enjoy true Texas music.

Chris’ Jazz Cafe – A Philly Institution

18843_249426678362_156002958362_3094860_813431_nIt’s impossible not to feel like a total smoooooth operator in a place like Chris’ Jazz Café. The dimly lit bar with live jazz playing at a perfect volume creates a straight-up cool atmosphere for relaxing and enjoying some music.

The bar offers less big-name brews and instead has an awesome assortment of local Pennsylvania breweries on draft. Though many go to Chris’ solely for the drinks and music, the full lunch and dinner menu has new American cuisine to munch on while you listen to the tunes. There is a cover charge of $5-$20 to hear the featured bands, just make sure to check out the café’s website ahead of time for the band schedule and cover charge prices.

The Mint has the Music Industry IN

Outside, The Mint looks like just another hole-in-the-wall dive bar. Picture 94The street is a random stretch of nothing, but this understatement of a venue showcases major talent. At The Mint, the show is often worth going out of the way for. Performers range from the music industry’s breaking talent to unknowns soon to be knowable. Past notables include Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Macy Gray, The Wallflowers, Jason Mraz and Ben Harper to breaking new artists like Matt Morris, new to Justin Timberlake’s label.

The Mint dates back to 1937, with a historical feel as authentic as its history. Its private back room party charm is retro with wooden walls that seep the old notes they have retained. Yet, the intoxication heightens listening to music in this dim room with golden lanterns and old leather banquets. Shows are primarily standing room, and packed.

Going in the Right Direction at East/West

In any direction you go, you will find that all the fun is happening at East/West lounge. Thanks to its new renovations, including swanky furniture and a tequila room, it’s hard not to want to venture over any free chance you get.

Picture 7Once awarded “Best Gay Bar in Los Angeles,” East/West keeps to its reputation, offering a lounge feel with club perks such as insane drink menus and table service. With drinks consisting of The Naughty Peach and Lemon Love, you will probably feel as though you belong in a sweaty Miami nightclub. Though East/West prides itself on not being that typical nightclub, the line to get in certainly reminds you that are you in L.A.- and if you want to get in, you’ve got to wait.

In the land of the overpriced, East/West actually throws customers a bone every so often by offering 2-for-1 drink specials and happy hours. Not only does this lounge provide cheap drink opportunities, they also dedicate certain nights to certain performers. If you check their weekly events section online, you are sure to find music video nights and spinning DJs.

Overall, East/West truly hits the nail on the head by taking the perks from a club and throwing them into a lounge. By creating a cool and comfortable setting with drinks you would find in a nightclub, East/West seems to be going in the right direction.

Carnegie Hall: The World’s Premier Stage

Practice, practice, practice – and a lot of talent – is the only way onto the world’s most prized stage, Carnegie Hall, but for those who enjoy listening to world class talent, buying a ticket to one of the amazing concerts is equally as impressive. Pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff made his debut on Carnegie Hall’s main stage, as well as hosting performances from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, opera legends Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti, conductor Leonard Bernstein to jazz artists Ella Fitzgerald. With its largest hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium, open since 1891, Picture 7Carnegie Hall is the premier classical music performance space for legends of yesterday and today.

The Isaac Stern Auditorium is what comes to mind when one thinks of what a classical concert auditorium should look like. Beautiful, with a striking curvilinear design and five levels of seating that holds up to 2,804 people, its renowned acoustics is one of the reasons why Carnegie Hall has been a favorite for audiences and performers for over a century. There are also smaller halls that are ideal for intimate performances, recitals, chamber music concerts, discussions, master classes and more.

With over 200 concerts a year, Carnegie Hall is the place to go for classical music as well as performances from popular artists, like country singer Reba McEntire and Broadway star Patti LuPone. There are also major international and national festivals, like JapanNYC led by Artistic Director Seiji Ozawa, that take place throughout the year, offering concerts as well as films, lectures, readings, museum exhibits, and more.

Island Rhythms Pulsate from Hoy Como Ayer

Once this place gets going, and since it’s Miami hoy como ayerthat means LATE, the island rhythms and heavy percussion that emanate from this tiny place in the heart of Calle Ocho in Little Havana are intoxicating. Hoy Como Ayer is a trip to the Cuban Havana of old with a blend of sounds from the present day hot Latin acts that have made a name for themselves in the Magic City.

Hoy Como Ayer (which means “Today Like Yesterday”) is consistently ranked by most local publications as the best place to catch Latin performers, because the best play here. Cuban-born singer Albita performs here regularly, the Latin-funk-fusion band DJ Le Spam, and the All Stars (they’re local faves and always pack the house), along with Luis Bofil and David Bisbal all grace the stage. It’s one giant jamfest here from Wednesday to Sunday and the drinks are, of course, the best, from refreshing Mojitos to the rum and cokes, better known in Miami as “Cuba Libre.”

This Martini’s Not Dirty, it’s Blue!

A little tamer than say South Beach and the Design District, but making a name for itself regardless, is the new party spot: Brickell Avenue. When the lawyers, blue martiniaccountants and bankers put their briefcases away and leave what’s known as Miami’s Financial District the area comes alive, and leading the nightlife pack is Blue Martini.

Blue Martini is a cool place to see and be seen after the 9-5, whether it’s for happy hour or late-night. Located inside Mary Brickell Village, it’s easy to start or end the night at Martini thanks to the surrounding restaurants and shops. It’s a seven-day affair when it comes to specials here, with a daily happy hour 4-8 p.m. featuring 1/2 off drinks, live jazz Tuesdays, Latin live entertainment on Thursdays and Three Olives Ladies Night on Wednesdays. Check it out to find out what that means!

From Classic Blues to Progressive DJs at House of Blues

Tucked away in an area that oozes a “Gotham City” vibe (and yes, The Dark Knight was filmed in Chi-town), Chicago’s House of Blues stands as a gigantic blue-lit seashell (in truth, it was modeled after “Estavovski” Opera House in Prague) in between the sexy Hotel Sax, the delicious wine bar and restaurant Bin 36, and just off of Marina City.

house of blues chicagoInside, the mish-mash of bright decor and blues memorabilia houses a restaurant full of hearty home cookin’ plates of goodness, an area large of enough for 1,000 dancin’ bodies and an intimate stage – perfect for grabbing great views of your favorite stars. Having hosted a long list of greats since its opening in 1996 like B.B. King, The Who, Pearl Jam and Al Green, the “House” stays true to its roots by housing a box full of mud from the Delta Mississippi underneath its stage – how’s that for a fun fact?

Night after night, Chicagoans and tourists count on this classic for the best of yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s hot artists. And yes club kids – that means you too! Plenty of world famous DJs also adorn the HOB Chicago stage!

Insider’s Tip: If you love the HOB Chicago so much, become a member of the Foundation Room, a unique bar full of 300 year old international artifacts, three “prayer rooms” a full bar, dinner menu and great people-watching all attached to the main room. No Member’s Only Jacket included, unfortunately.

Fillmore at Jackie Gleason Theater is South Beach’s Gem

The gem of South Beach performance spaces, the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, has had several name changes, but the quality of performers and the elegant, commanding presence of the space is everlasting. The grandiose theater is treasured by locals and the many performers who grace its stage.

So beloved is the Fillmore,Picture 11 it recently underwent a massive renovation to restore it to its original beauty, and added some modern touches that brought it into the 21st century. The exterior is all Art Deco, with geometric lines and blue pastel coloring. The interior, though, is a cross between 1920’s elegance and a modern club scene, like the ornate grand crystal chandeliers that are hued with purple lighting.

Any artist would want to grace such a majestic stage, and they do, from all genres and eras. Where else does legendary singer Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young,  indie rockers Arctic Monkeys, and comedian Chelsea Handler of the “Chelsea Lately” late night talk show appear in the same venue? It all comes together at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

The Bluebird Theater’s Still Singing After All These Years

Picture 10From the Fillmore Auditorium to the Ogden Theatre, East Colfax Avenue is bejeweled with historic concert venues. But the Bluebird Theater, at almost 100 years old, is the crown gem.

Like the infamous neighborhood itself, the location has had its ups and downs—including a run as a porn house—but since 1994 it’s been welcoming the nation’s coolest up-and-comers (and even some of its more beloved down-and-outers) from a wide range of musical genres. Neither the main floor nor the balcony has seating (though both have bars), so sport comfortable footwear—unless, of course, you’d rather put on your dancing shoes, a must on New Year’s Eve when the local legends of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club return to town.

In for a Swanky Night at Bimbo’s 365 Club

Picture 36With nightclubs, jazz venues, bars, and its own Vegas-style light show, North Beach is where San Franciscans have always gone to party.  And in the heart of this “Little Italy” lies Bimbo’s 365 Club, as much a favorite today as it was when Rita Hayworth was a high-kicking chorus line girl. Everyone who is anyone has since walked through these doors, including Chris Isaak, Robin Williams and Jill Scott.

When you walk into Bimbo’s, expect an evening of classic lounge acts, supper club entertainment and a dramatic art deco theme that is entirely reminiscent of the swankiest big band era nightspots. One of Bimbo’s famously plush events is its corporate and private parties for swanky Silicon Valley guests like Cellular One, Oracle, and Yahoo!.  The venue offers tiered seating, dramatic lighting, fine dine table settings and a dance floor next to the concert stage.

Whether you’ve been a regular for years or it’s your first time here, Bimbo’s is the classic nightspot for the upscale traveler.

All-Inclusive Atlanta Philharmonic is so Next Gen

Picture 26Less than a decade old, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra’s youth represents its modern approach and audience. The volunteer, non-profit Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra differs in that its all-inclusive members either identify with the LGBT community or are LGBT-friendly.

Conducted by Mirna Ogrizovic-Ciric, a Berry College professor who was born in Croatia but grew up in Serbia, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra’s main goal is to share beautiful music that is inclusive of all. To that end, the group has delighted audiences by performing compositions from heavyweights such as Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Haydn.

Guest soloists have been as impressive as its classical repertoire and include pianist Paolo André Gualdi, who grew up in Italy and has received great praise in Europe and the U.S., as well as Martin Gueorguiev, a cellist who earned first prize at Bulgaria’s National Competition for German and Austrian Music. When it comes to spreading beautiful music in Atlanta, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra remains in a class of its own.

Movies & Music for Thousands at Trocadero Theatre

This rockin’, spacious venue is located in Chinatown, but doesn’t feel a thing like Beijing. Occupying an old burlesque house where W.C. Fields and Mae West once performed, the Trocadero Theatre gives the vibe of a 40’s pin-up lounPicture 7ge while playing host to up to 1,200 people!

Past acts include Phoenix, the Scissor Sisters, and the French Kicks and now it hosts the best bands in independent music. With grand mirrors, pillars, balconies, and exquisite moldings, the old flavor of the place still remains for the trendy, young, hipster crowd.

With a venue so big, the Trocadero Theatre has tons of options from comedy acts to indie bands. Kick back with friends on Movie Monday and watch popular films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Office Space, and Fight Club. Arrive before 7 for your personal bag of popcorn and brew on the house.

Lose the Blues by Finding Them at Blue Chicago

Although it’s true that ol’ Blue Eyes once sang, “Bet your bottom dollar you’ll lose the blues in Chicago,” the city remains one of the best in the world for finding the blues… music that is. Here it Picture 14penetrates out of alley ways, bars and subways. With so many blues clubs and street performers to enjoy it can be hard to filter down which to visit on any given night. When in doubt, always pick Blue Chicago.

Seven days a week, Blue Chicago has live performances pulsating from within its bricked walls and dark room. There you’ll find up-and-comers amongst the most famous blues musicians to have ever sung a tune. Whether you’re there to sit in a dark corner, sip whiskey and sway back and forth, or get your butt on the dance floor and sweat (plenty of sets worthy of shaking your booty), Blue Chicago packs the house night after night. So just as Frank Sinatra advised, “you’ll lose the blues in Chicago,” it  comes full circle. A night of blues music just may be the ultimate way to — lose them.

Insider Tip: Sunday – Thursday cover charge is $8 cash only and Friday – Saturday is $10 cash only.

Salsa is Smokin’ Hot at Cafe Cocomo

Voted one of the ten best places in the country to “dip into the salsa scene” by USA Today, Café Cocomo, in the revived Potrero Hill neighborhood, is the hottest place to get your Latin dance on west of Miami.  With the same beat-induced sexy atmosphere as clubs likPicture 26e the Copacabana in NYC and the Conga Room in LA, San Francisco offers one of its own.

There’s room for every salsa lover at Cafe Cocomo, with two levels of indoor and outdoor dancing.  All levels from beginner to ballroom star are welcome here – it’s all about having fun!  And with lots of seating in the outdoor patio that features waterfalls, tiki huts, and an island-style bar, you can take a rest from the crowd and enjoy the stars.

Cocomo even offers lessons for anyone who can’t get enough at the Thursday and Saturday dance parties.  Whether you’re out to add some spice to your nightlife, or looking for a killer ballroom routine, be prepared, because this salsa party is HOT!

Jazzed by Dazzle

Picture 6The yin to El Chapultepec’s yang, Dazzle is Denver’s other most esteemed jazz venue—and every bit as amenity-oriented as The Pec is no-frills. While its nightly lineup of both local and national talent—swing, bebop, fusion, et cetera—has won it numerous awards from both local and national media (including Downbeat), the club also gets its audience into the act via fascinating interactive programs like First Monday Art Talks and Jeff Jenkins’ Piano Conversations.

Moreover, it’s made fans, even among non-enthusiasts, with its freewheeling happy hour and the Friday Lunch Club—both featuring live music and a $5 menu—as well as the famed Sunday Urban Brunch, a sprawling all-you-can-eat affair complete with a bottomless bloody mary and mimosa bar.

Cretia is Nightlife’s Sweet Spot

You might not immediately think of Cretia’s as a hopping nightlife spot if you’ve never been. Oh, you’ve heard they have an incredible (affordable!) brunch and killer desserts? But at night, it has live music, an expansive patio anPicture 21d bars packed with more action than a Bruce Willis movie. Open until 2:00 a.m. with free valet, Cretia’s has several different rooms inside the bar/restaurant, each decorated with a slightly gothic style. The atmosphere ranges from hipster romantic to raging party, depending on the night and the music.

The stocked Ruby Bar is reason enough to spend your evening here, but if you come early enough, treat yourself to the sinful desserts at the bakery. You’ll never go wrong with the White Sour Cream Cake and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. So the next time you feel like getting your groove on (and perhaps giving in to your sweet tooth), head down McKinney to find all your favorites in one spot.

Speakeasy Jazz Upstairs at Van Dyke Cafe

Picture 10Lincoln Road has evolved into an eclectic mix of well known chain stores, smaller boutiques and stand-alone restaurants,  but the one place that has stood the test of time on this pedestrian strip of road is the Van Dyke Cafe, where the jazz is always playing.

The place is reminiscent of a speakeasy jazz club with soft lighting, intimate seating and stellar performances of Latin jazz, AfroCuban, soloists and jazz quartets. Local legend Maryel Epps still performs at Van Dyke and has been for more than a decade! And joining her are local faves Palo! and Conjunto Progreso.

Catch a vibe from another era at this classic spot, a perfect way to either start or end an evening on South Beach.

Glitz and Grammy’s for The San Francisco Symphony

For the Vivian and Edward in all of us (Pretty Woman fans?), your romantic evening awaits at the San Francisco Symphony.  With eleven Grammy wins, this ensemble features the most talented musicians in the world and is appropriately situated in the magnificent Davies Symphony Hall, which neighbors the Opera House and Capitol Buildings of the Civic Center.Picture 23

Whether an anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or birthday, the San Francisco Symphony continues to excite and lure even the most jaded of guests to fall in love with classical music year-round.  The Symphony’s passion for music and award-winning Chorus & Youth Orchestra will inspire you to not just listen to the music, but emotionally become part of the experience.

Davies Symphony Hall even offers a free after-hours party for some of its concerts, allowing you to enjoy popular bay area music in a nightclub atmosphere.  The folks at SFS really know music, from classical to contemporary, and hope to inspire the same appreciation in their guests, even if it requires drinks and socializing from the balconies that offer spectacular views of City Hall.

Chicago Mob History 101 at the Green Mill Jazz Lounge

If there’s one place in Chicago that oozes its quintessential jazzy charm that dangerously flirts with a heavy history of mafia, then the Green Mill Jazz Lounge is your place. Not having changed much since its opening in 1907 (yes, 1907), the place is dark, smoky (even still, post no-smoking laws somehow) and sexy.

Picture 16

Back in the day the place had an outdoor dancing and drinking garden lit by lanterns, where people arrived by horse and buggy. The garden was complete with horse-hitching posts. It soon transpired to be a mobster hangout when some of Al Capone’s henchmen became part owners. So much drama went down here that Sinatra himself played a singer whose throat and  tongue were once slit in this club over good ol’ mobster issues. Alas, Sinatra had to spend some quality time for “research” at the Green Mill as well.

It survived prohibition as a speakeasy and the decor of that era remains. Today, you can catch killer jazz there any night of the week, Mondays being a favorite for the Patricia Barber quartet. It’s all about the music and history here so don’t get too glammed up unless you’re trying to live vicariously through its history by transporting yourself in an immersion of jazz notes, strong cocktails and a big black booth that maybe Capone himself sat in: in which case, you just may be able to pull it off.

DC’s Best Indie at The Black Cat

Kings of Leon. Death Cab. The Strokes. ThePicture 13 Black Cat’s mission is to bring D.C. locals and visitors the best in live independent music and it’s been succeeding since its opening in 1993.  Located in the famous U Street Corridor, the club has served as a staple in Washington DC’s alternative music scene and draws large crowds with its live bands and DJ sets.

Nightly, The Black Cat hosts bands on the local, national, and international levels. Major names include Arcade Fire, Beck, Andrew WK, Korn, Moby, The Killers, Jamiroqui, Foo Fighters, and the list could continue all night. With its cool atmosphere and even cooler bands, The Black Cat is always on the forefront of alternative, independent music.

4. Garfield Park Conservatory’s Sweet Saturdays Feb. 6 & 13

Picture 8For a modest $3 admission, visitors can learn how plants living at the Conservatory are the key ingredients in many scrumptious desserts. Bananas, vanilla beans, cinnamon bark, and chocolate trees abound, and Tropical Treat Stations throughout the Conservatory offer the opportunity to sample these natural sweets. Hands-on activity stations give both young and old the opportunity to make a variety of scented gifts and cards, and live music at the Tropical Café rounds out the day. Special guests on February 6 offer a honey-tasting event; on February 13, the special highlight is a vanilla-tasting presentation.

Period Chic Meets Euro Beats at Eighteenth Street Lounge

What happens when you open a hip, Euro-infused lounge in the former home of Teddy Roosevelt?  You end up with the ultra chic, super unique hotspot known as Eighteenth Street Lounge.  Situated just south of trendy Dupont, ESL is known for its velvet ropes and hipster crowd that packs the luxe top three floors of the old school mansion club.

Picture 6Chic Washingtonians and sophisticated European partiers sit, mingle and sip as DJ’s spin hip Middle Eastern, Italian and Indian-centric beats that echo from the dark, narrow hallways of the comfortably posh venue.  Studded with functional antique fireplaces, gilded sconces and twinkling chandeliers that cast a soft glow, ESL exhibits modern glamour with touches of period décor to showcase the mansion’s turn of the century roots.

As the beats increase and the drinks flow, patrons crowd the living room-esque dance floor and overflow to the spacious outdoor roof patio in the warmer months.  Wander onto different floors for a change of scenery and music varieties – there tends to be a DJ on one floor and a jazz band or live performer on another.

Insider Tip: With live performances almost every day of the week and the lounge’s urban chic vibe, there’s usually a cover charge between $5-$15 after 10PM, Wednesday and Saturday.  Be sure to dress to impress – the discerning bouncers don’t put up with shorts, sandals or baseball caps.

A Slice of the Lush Life at El Chapultepec

Picture 8The smoke that hung thickly for decades has cleared, but that’s about the only difference between the El Chapultepec of yesteryear and the Pec, as it’s affectionately known, of today.

Tiny, dark, and frankly pretty dumpy, this legendary club at the edge of downtown nonetheless shines white-hot with live jazz and blues nightly, just as it has since the 1930s.

Along the way, everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Stan Getz to the Marsalis brothers has played the Pec—but musical magic seems to happen no matter who’s onstage. And the fact that there’s no cover—just a one-drink minimum—only sweetens the good vibe.

A Century of Music at This Great American Hall

The Great American Music Hall has been described many ways: opulent, warm, friendly, even sanctified.  Whatever your adjectives, this place is just plain fun, from the smiles at the red velvet-draped front door to the energy of the crowd buzzing off the ceiling frescoes.  Having hosted such diverse big names as Duke Ellington, Billy Joel, The Grateful Dead, and Van Morrison, this gracious Victorian hall has charmed San Francisco throughout the twentieth century.

MusicHall2This 5000 square foot concert hall has seen many changes since its opening in 1907. Constantly upgrading the sound system and restoring anything that begins to lose luster, the Great American Music Hall takes pride in providing you with the best intimate music experience.  You can even book the venue for private wedding receptions, product launches, holiday parties, and bar mitzvahs.

When spending the evening here you have no choice but to leave the hustle of the city behind, grab a drink at the restored Victorian bar, and let go of your troubles on the oak dance floor.  Why not enjoy one hundred years of history and modern entertainment all in one evening?

Tobacco Road’s Act is a Century Strong

Nearly a century Tobacco Road has been open, in the same location, making it a Miami institution for live music. It first opened its doors during the prohibition Tobacco Road interiordays and obviously things have changed a bit since then with the addition of legalized alcohol and some of the best live music in Miami.

They’ve been playin’ the blues at this place for years now, featuring an undisputed line-up of local musicians as well as established blues and rock acts that grace two tiny indoor stages (ground floor and second floor) and out on the patio. There’s always a reason for a party at Tobacco Road, whether it’s a blues festival or to celebrate yet another birthday- whether it be Gloria Estefan’s or another notch toward the century marker!

5. Get Jazzy with DWS at Swing! Swing! Swing! 1/26/10

Pianist Jeff Hellmer serves as guest conductor for thPicture 20e Dallas Wind Symphony Swing band for an evening of Big Band Music. Twice named a finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Hellmer’s latest CD “Peak Moments” was declared an “exciting addition to the modern jazz piano catalog” by the All Music Guide. At Swing! Swing! Swing!, the lineup includes favorites such as “It Had to be You”, “Tuxedo Junction”, “One o-clock jump,” and many more. DWS’s sound combined with Hellmer’s creativity promises for a night to remember!

5. Music from Around the World at globalFEST 1/1/10

Picture 6Music fans love to be the first to “discover” bands and for seven years globalFEST has been a festival that showcases artists from all over the world whoare on the brink of U.S. success. All the acts are unique in their style and culture as they generally represent music that is different from what we hear Stateside.

In January, such diverse styles as French Gypsy jazz with breakbeats, Argentine club sounds, Afro-Colombian music, Central Asian avant rock, New York salsa, and so much more will be playing. This festival always brings unique music that you can discover before all your friends.

Sophisticated Nightlife at G Lounge

See and be seen, get your groove on, hit the do-it fluid: whatever your M.O. for the weekend is, G Lounge will do more than satisfy. G Lounge presents you with sophisticated nightlife – one part club, one part lounge, this hotspot gives you options. You can cozy up to the new cutie youglounge2 met in the VIP lounge or dance the night away with your posse to the themed evening beats.

G does many special events (the New Year’s Bash always sells out) and does so with a style that’s hard to find in any city. For a more relaxed atmosphere, visit during the week for “Speak Easy Tuesdays,” where dress is casual and the DJ integrates live bands into their sets. Then get ready to dress up and get down on weekends, where the beautiful people come out to play and celebs are often spotted like Jamie Foxx, Rihanna, Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies players.

The drinks are cool, the staff is hot, and the crowd is ready to go – it’s everything you could want for a night out.

Innovative Sounds from the New World Symphony

The string section is lulling, the horns are blowing and the ultimate in guest artists are doing what they do best to the baton of world-class conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. This exciting scenario takes place every timNWS Fellowse the New World Symphony takes the stage at Lincoln Road’s Lincoln Theatre, a beacon of culture on South Beach.

Tilson Thomas and his posse provide a twist on traditional classical music by performing lesser known pieces as well as original compositions. These pioneering musicians have garnered a respected reputation by constantly evolving their repertoire over the last two decades making each performance a mind blowing, exciting, and unforgettable experience.

Get Some Rhythm at Georgetown’s Blues Alley

For a little rhythm and blues, take a trip back in time to the naBluesAlleytion’s oldest jazz supper club, Blues Alley, hidden between the quaint streets of historic Georgetown in an 18th century, brick carriage house.  With saxophones and bass guitars echoing off the intimate, exposed brick interior, you can’t help but tap your foot as talented artists from around the country liven up the nearly 45 year-old nightclub.

Enjoy a leisurely, Creole-style meal (the menu has hardly changed since 1965) and a glass of wine while you are blown away by old school tunes that will have you scrambling for a CD on your way out.  Over the years, Blues Alley has hosted jazz movers and shakers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Byrd and Eva Cassidy, so you’ll get a little taste of history along with your dinner.

Insider Tip: Blues Alley is open 7 days a week, but fills to the brim right before shows.  Be sure to make a reservation and get there a little early – pre-show tickets are available online.

Sushi Gets Jazzed Up at Yoshi’s

Someone forgot to tell the proprietors of Yoshi’s that sushi and jazz are cultural opposites.  Of course its founder and namesake, Yoshie Akiba, is also a fascinating mix.  YoshisOrphaned in Japan during WWII, Yoshie came to Berkeley as a student and opened Yoshi’s with her two best friends.

Thirty years later, in its new $10 million setting in the Fillmore District (the “Harlem of the West”), Yoshi’s has earned a reputation as one of the world’s finest jazz venues featuring jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Krall, Max Roach, and Harry Connick Jr.

Yoshi’s is also an award-winning restaurant, with Chef Shotaro Kamio presenting modern sushi that he describes as “seasonal, simple, surprise.”  You can make dinner reservations in the separate restaurant before the show or enjoy small tapas-style sushi and sake cocktails in the club.  Prices are higher than average, but you’ll appreciate that Yoshi’s serves fresh and thoughtful Japanese cuisine rather than greasy quesadillas and mozzarella sticks.

Tickets range from $13 – $100 depending on the performer, and the club seats 420 in its warmly lit acoustic cavern.  The custom sound system, complete with a resident Steinway grand piano, is clear and allows artists to truly be the center of attention.  So feel free to jazz it up with flapper outfits and tailcoats.

Gilley’s: Rhinestones & a Mechanical Bull

If there is such a thing as upscale honky-tonk, look no further than Gilley’s Dallas. Does the name “Gilley’s” ring a bell? Think John Travolta and a mechanical bull. While this isn’t the original bar or bull from Urban Cowboy (same owner Mickey Gilley), it’s a mighty fine second and a first place win for country-lovin’ good times. Even if yoDALgilleysu’re not a fan of skintight Levi’s and red snakeskin boots, the crowd is so fun you can’t help but join in on the line dance with 200 other cowboys and cowgirls.

A good mix of authentic wranglers, weekend hicks, and fashionable Dallas “bumpkins,” Gilley’s has something for everyone- including an actual mechanical bull. And don’t be afraid of two-stepping, there are free dance lessons every Saturday from 6pm – 8pm with awesome drink specials and free admission for the rest of the night.

With national music acts and local fave The Chris Rivers Band and a decent cover charge, it’s time to break out your rhinestones and boots -or rhinestoned boots-for guaranteed fun at Gilley’s Dallas.

Vagabond’s Rivaling South Beach Hotspots

The party never ends at high-energy nightclub Vagabond in what used to be sVagabond1leepy Downtown Miami. Now it’s an area rivaling South Beach in late night dancing. Lines usually wrap around the place with clubbers waiting to enter and take in an atmosphere that changes nightly.

At Vagabond, there’s something for all types of music lovers. The indie band Surfer Blood may take the stage one night and the next it’s a group of hip hop performers. Things get artsy during Stone Groove night with jazz, blues, soul and spoken word taking over the space. This spot that’s housed in Downtown’s up and coming Park West region (there are galleries popping up around the area as well), is a feast for the eyes both inside its doors and out, with the towering high rises playing backdrop.

A Good Night’s Never a Question at Cafe Wha?

Tucked along the NYU friendly Macdougal Street, Cafe Wha? and its humble exterior might make you question the legitimacy of this place. Put all doubts aside, over the years Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor have all performed on its small stage. Picture 5

Today, the place is always packed with a cool, downtown crowd. The lowly lit venue is always loud with buzzed New Yorkers and the small stage allows for an intimate setting. Different guests perform every night, but the acclaimed Cafe Wha? Band is guaranteed to play every Wednesday through Sunday. And comedians, many of whom have appeared on Comedy Central, HBO or late-night television, open for the band regularly.

Arrive early for the best seats, but bets are on that you half-way through you’ll be singing at the top of your lungs and turning this live music venue into a personal dance floor.

Cool River Scores Big With the Little Things

Oftentimes, it’s the little things that really make a difference between a good time and a great time. Cool River in Las Colinas knows the little things count, and adds those extra touches to keepCool River Cafe patrons coming back for more. First little detail? A coat check. It might be old-school, but the class and convenience of a coat check is especially welcome on nights out when you want to dance and don’t want to be bogged down with accessories. Another interesting perk is the cigar room; choose any of the reasonably priced cigars off the menu and enjoy a relaxing smoke. If this all sounds a little too stuffy for your taste, don’t worry. A DJ spinning the latest hits or live bands, like the quirky “Space Rockers,” keep the dance floor moving until the wee hours.

Traditional food and libations of all kinds provide sustenance, and if you want to enjoy your meal in a quieter setting, the dining room is available as well. Cool River has something for everyone, and those little touches speak volumes about big atmosphere.

Members Only Rock ‘N Roll at The Rookery

Say goodbye to the grimy, Journey-blasting dives of old Picture 11and hello to “The Rookery,” an upscale live music hotspot that hosts a variety of talent every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Located just beyond Georgetown in DC’s West End, The Rookery is an exclusive, “member’s only” hang-out where Washington’s young creme de la creme congregate over the tunes of local cover bands and national touring classic rockers – all beneath the simple elegance of crystal chandeliers, of course.

A semi-private hotspot for the 30-something conservative Preppy (Luke Russert and the Bush twins have been known to frequent the bar), The Rookery boasts a heated outdoor patio and two floors of rich, dark decor, complete with sport coat-clad patrons.  Grab a bourbon and some dancing shoes (preferably loafers) and get ready for a true Washingtonian-style jam session.  Just remember, collared shirt required.

Insider Tip: Go early and grab a bite to eat before you stake out your place near the stage.  The Rookery has an impressive menu to fuel some serious dance moves.  Shows usually start around 10:00 PM with a $5.00 entrance fee.

Swanky in the Museum at Art After 5

If you’re from Philadelphia, you’ve been to Art After 5. On Fridays the Philadelphia Museum of Art in all its splendor keeps its doors open later than usual (till 8:45pm) for food and drink specials, dancing, music, and gallery browsing. Picture 9

If you’re there for the music, make sure to get there close to 5pm to snag a good seat in the Great Stair Hall, which might be one of the coolest rooms you’ve ever seen.

If you’re there for the gallery, grab your cocktail and get ready to view some of Philadelphia’s finest with a fraction of the crowd, and great background music to boot. If you’d like to know more about the art with a guide, tours are offered throughout the evening for no additional charge.

Whether you’ve been to the Art Museum or not, Art After 5 is a fantastic way to see the museum in a relaxing and stylish way.

Hotel Cafe: The Only Two Things This Spot Doesn’t Have

Even though Hotel Café is hidden on one of Los Angeles’s most popular streets, the venue feels like a throwback to old Hollywood amidst a sea of trendy nightclubs and sports bars. With up to four performances in a night, Hotel Café is a popular hang out for music lovers interested in independent artists at a fraction of the price.

The dark lighting and limited amount of seating encourages guests to really enjoy the multiple performancePicture 13s. With a very limited menu at night, most people are found hanging out at one of the two bars or lining up against the wall with a ledge.

Though the setting is extremely relaxed and less ritzy than the rest of Hollywood, don’t be surprised if you find a celebrity or two among the crowd; the last celebrity spotting was Ryan Cabrera supporting his fellow independent artists.

If one of your favorite performers is making his or her debut, we recommend getting there extremely early to snag one of the five tables in the front row that are usually filled by the time anyone goes on. And if you find yourself struggling with parking on a busy night, enter into the alley on Cahuenga where you can find valet parking in the back.

Start The Weekend Right At Friday LIVE

Food and drink specials? Check. Gorgeous venue? Check. Fantastic free live music? Check! The Kimmel Center’s Friday LIVE series has all that and more Friday evenings on its Commonwealth Plaza sPHIfridaylivetage (that’s in the spectacular main lobby, which is worth the visit in itself).

The Philadelphia music scene is huge, and the Kimmel Center showcases these local talents from 5:30-7:15pm every Friday throughout its season. Rock, funk, classical, straight-away jazz – you name it- they’ve got it. Friday LIVE is a great way to see this beautiful venue, built in 2001 on the Avenue of the Arts, without committing to purchasing a ticket.

The bar serves drink specials and appetizers, ideal for a happy hour visit before going out to eat at one of the many restaurants in walking distance. Supporting local arts is always a good thing, so you may as well do it in this fabulous performing arts center. If you want to check out the performances before you go, they’re all listed on the website.

The Bohemian Caverns: The Sole Home of Soul Jazz

After closing for decades, this hotspot for live cool jazz is back and better Picture 14than ever.  The Boehmian Caverns is the self-proclaimed sole home of soul jazz, and by boasting legends like Bill Cosby and Billy Holiday, we believe them.

When stepping into the basement lounge it feels more like a bat cave than a smoky, stereotypical jazz lounge, but that’s what makes this place unique. The petrified wood tables and sparkly quartz covered walls make you feel like you are literally and metaphorically about to listen to cool, never been heard, underground music.  There’s a different band playing almost every night, but each of them are of the highest quality when it comes to proper jazz music. Before the show, grab some grub named after some legends like John Coltrane and Billie Holiday.

13th Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala

If you’re not in the know, a name like Best Buddies may throw you off this hot social event, but every year this gala brings more than 800 prominent local and international guests. They come to support Best Buddies International, that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with a gourmet dinner, unique silent auction, and performance from recording star Chris Brown.

Steppin’ Out for the Dimock Center Music Gala

Steppin’ Out is not only the largest non-profit music fest in the region, it is also one of the premiere social events for Bostonians. This gala was conceived to pay homage to the city’s jazz history and the clubs that nurtured its great musicians. This year Steppin’ Out will feature eight themed club environments for the incredible local musicians and national headliners.

The 62nd Annual Lighting of Macy’s Great Tree

After completing a full day of running and eating, or maybe just the latter, check out one of Atlanta’s greatest Thanksgiving traditions: lighting the largest and fullest evergreen in Georgia. Pre-show festivities begin at 6:30, but the real show starts at 7pm where a choir and special guests will perform at the 62nd Annual Lighting of Macy’s Great Tree.

Martinis & IMAX

A good thing should never go away, so make sure to savor the last month of Martinis & IMAX at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History before it goes into history. There are only four Fridays left to enjoy live music, martinis, a wine bar, dinner selection, and of course, an IMAX movie.

Strathmore’s Elegant Acoustics and Diverse Artists

Picture 23Rolling hills in an intimate, park-like setting. If this sounds like the description of an outdoor concert, you’re wrong. This is actually what the architects of the new Strathmore Music Center tried to recreate, and they have succeeded in creating an artistic haven for musicians, dancers and every other kind of artist.

With 1,976 seats wrapping around the stage under the undulating roof and curving balconies, the concert hall is beautiful and elegant. It’s not just about looks either. There are 43 individually controlled acoustical reflector panels as well as a ceiling that slopes upward from the stage, allowing for rich and full acoustics for any kind of performance. And these aren’t just any kind of performances.

Having hosted many famous artists, from Yo-Yo Ma to Wilco, the Music Center is also home to the famous Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The Strathmore presents affordable and accessible artistic performances all year-round. There are also more intimate performances, as well as art exhibits and lectures, at the 100-seat Strathmore Mansion (located next to the Music Center), which can be rented for weddings and other events.

It may be in Maryland, but the Strathmore Theatre is just minutes from the Beltway. For an amazing artistic experience, this is the place to go.

Isaac Mizrahi’s Radio City Inspiration

Issac Mizrahi is a fashion designer with a fabulously loud personality, but his “most inspiring place” in New York is a traditional staple of New York culture: Radio City Music Hall.  Thousands will flock to its doors in the upcoming months for the world famous Rockettes and the Christmas Spectacular show, but Mizrahi thinks the architecture says it all. Mirazhi says Radio City, not some other famous New York skyscraper, epitomizes the 1930’s art deco architecture and its beauty is truly inspiring. But Mizrahi does love a good Rockette show like the rest of us, having once been in talks to design their costumes!

** Isaac Mizrahi the Chief Director of Liz Claiborne and television host of Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.” Mizrahi has been awarded 4 prestigious CFDA fashion awards and is credited for revolutionizing the fashion industry with his partnership with Target. Beyond fashion, Mizrahi is an accomplished author, performed in a one-man, off-Broadway production, and has appeared in motion pictures and television shows including “Sex & the City.” Mirazhi was born in Brooklyn and resides near Washington Square Park.

Intimate Entertainment at Joe’s Pub

Picture 25An arm of NYC’s venerable Public Theater, Joe’s Pub is actually a luxurious lounge and cabaret space offering an intimate space to experience some of the best jazz, comedy and up-and-coming musical acts. It’s one of the few places in New York you’ll find major stars without the drama involved in getting in and getting a good spot.

Performers who have hit Joe’s Pub’s stage include Tony award-winning Sutton Foster, Isaac Mizrahi (yes- the designer/comedian for a night), Grammy award winning Adele,  international signing star Lara Fabian, and the list goes on and on. Newsweek described this as “one of the country’s best small stages” and every night the quality of performances and quality of service at the lounge seals its commendable reputation.

Castagnola’s is San Francisco’s Waterfront Hotspot

This is undoubtedly Fisherman’s Wharf’s waterfront hotspot. Balmy breezes rolling right off the San Francisco Bay add to the sheer bliss of the seafood inspired menu at Castagnola’s Restaurant. Favorites include fresh specialties like the Cedar Plank King Salmon and Whole Main Lobster, but there’s also steaks, lamb, and veal for the meat lovers.

If you like a little sizzle to your meal, Castagnola’s offers entertainment like nightly live comedy and jazz during happy hour. There’s good food, great entertainment, and sophisticated cocktails-all with a beautiful view- at Castagnola’s.

Sophisticated Jazz Club at Classy Cafe Carlyle

Picture 6Cafe Carlyle offers an oh-so-elegant change of pace from all the downtown jazz joints. This upper east side venue was made famous by Bobby Short and his decades of Cole Porter and Duke Ellington interpretations. On any given night the coolest of the cool slip into the ritzy Carlyle Hotel to hear the tunes in the subtle light of table lamps.

Woody Allen and the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band play Monday nights ’til June. Come here dressed to impress, jackets are required and so is the pocketbook- prices can start at $100 a person. But the performances and luxurious setting are well worth the price tag.

Blind Willie’s Cures the Blues

Head to Blind Willie’s for a real dose of the blues. Live music sets a riveting yet relaxed tone, and the blues memorabilia lining the walls is testament to the bar’s legendary status. Whether you’re dancing or enjoying the ambiance from a corner table with a beer, you can’t help but feel the soul of this vibrant venue.

Go Gaga at Club Dada

Dallas’ lovers of live music always go to Dada to hear the coolest bands. This club is at the center of the Dallas music scene and has featured bands from Cheap Trick to Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians to burgeoning local bands. With three music stages, you can count on quality entertainment at anytime in the night. Dance, drink, and (if you’ve had enough) sing along to your heart’s content at this Deep Ellum hotspot.

Hammerstein Ballroom

Musicians from the world of pop, rock and electronica all find their home in a seemingly unconventionPicture 51al setting: A vintage opera house that can holds up to 3,000. Hidden by a conventional midtown office-building, you would never know that some of the most significant groups of our time have orchestrated blow-out events, making the Hammerstein anything but an ordinary music venue in Manhattan. The ballroom opened in 1906 as a classical opera house. Then in 1910 it turned into a variety show house… followed by a conversion into a movie palace. During the Depression, it became a Freemason’s temple, and was then abandoned in the 70’s. Now, the Hammerstein is seat-free, allowing mobs in for general admission seating/standing.

The Grand & Fabulous Fox Theater

Picture 20The Fox Theatre is one of the world’s greatest venues for film and the performing arts. When it opened in the 1920’s, it was described as an outlandish, opulent and grandiose monument to excess. The Atlanta Journal description was a kinder picturesque and almost disturbing grandeur beyond imagination.

A mosque like structure, complete with minorities, onion domes and an interior décor of Egyptian grandeur, seated 4,000 people. The interior restored lovingly by the people of Atlanta is a masterpiece. Complete with an indoor Arabian court, it has a sky of flickering stars, spectacular striped canopy overhanging the balconies. The Fox reigns today as a fiercely protected landmark and internationally acclaimed theatre, celebrating more than half a century of film and theatrical productions.

From summer film festivals to Broadway shows, the Fox still generates millions of dollars to the Atlanta economy. You can tour the Fox on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10am and Saturdays at 10 and 11am.

Redhead Piano Bar

Don’t be afraid to sing along at the Redhead Piano Bar, where the scene is warm and inviting, no matter what your style of music. Located on the heart of Chicago’s Ontario Street, the bar features nightly live music, along with an extensive drink menu. The walls are covered with sheet music and “Old Hollywood” movie stars giving the Redhead a retro vibe.

Cliff House

The Terrace Room’s wall to wall windows reveal a delicious panorama of Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean to diners who can momentarily tear themselves from their plates. This House specializes in sure-fire seafood and serves up live harp music on Sundays, when brunch is more of a banquet with options like poached salmon and prawns.