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Nightlife & Music

Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

January 25, 2010 2:45 AM

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(Credit: www.utphilly.com)

Philadelphia has one of the largest and most vibrant local music scenes in the entire country. That means there are plenty of local alternatives to dropping a hundred bucks to see a big tour at the Wells Fargo Center. Sample the schedules of these local venues, and you’ll be fluent in the Philly music scene in no time. - Peter Marinari

johnny brendas Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

Johnny Brenda’s (credit: http://www.johnnybrendas.com)

Johnny Brenda’s

1201 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 739-9684

Johnny Brenda’s is by far the hippest spot to catch a local show. Though they also host national alt-rock bands, their calendar is packed with local shows with ticket prices that top out around $13. Pair that with a seriously stocked bar and solid pub fare, and you have Philly’s best local music joint. Johnny Brenda’s is super-accessible by transit, but beware: if you like to complain about “hipsters,” this venue is your personal kryptonite.

serrano Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

Tin Angel (credit: http://www.tinangel.com)

Tin Angel

20 South 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 928-0978

Tin Angel is an Old City club situated above Serrano’s Restaurant. Home for years to touring acoustic musicians, the Tin recently gave itself a makeover to focus more on developing Philly’s local talent. On most nights, the room features a two- or three-act bill of local music for around $10. Be warned – Tin Angel is more a listening room than a bar, so chatting during the music will earn you the ire of other patrons.

world cafe live Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

World Cafe Live (credit: http://www.worldcafelive.com)

World Cafe Live

3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 222-1400

World Cafe Live boasts two stages frequently filled with Philly music. The smaller stage upstairs is still more plush than most local venues. Drop in for a drink on a Monday and catch the free Philly Rising open mic. Downstairs is downright impressive — a massive stage, three tiers for spectators, a full bar and seated dining. Though the big stage captures a lot of national talent, local bands still manage to pack the room, too.

milkboy coffee Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

Milkboy Coffee (credit: http://milkboycoffee.com)

MilkBoy Coffee Philly

1100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19107

MilkBoy first started in North Philly, then moved to Ardmore before open up a Center City location. This outpost is still dedicated to bringing the best of the local music scene to Philadelphians, and it also has a better PA system and–score!–a bar!

kung fu necktie Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

Kung Fu Necktie (credit: http://www.kungfunecktie.com)

Kung Fu Necktie

1250 North Front Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 291-4919

Kung Fu Necktie quickly rose from hole-in-wall to notable, thanks to consistently booking strong bills of indie acts. The small two-room bar makes for quick sell-outs and may require you to pack a set of earplugs, as there’s nowhere to escape from the music. That’s also a good thing: the simple stage (literally a hole in the wall) lets you get up close and personal with your favorite local act as they get their rock on.

northstar Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

Northstar Bar (credit: http://northstarbar.com)

North Star Bar

2639 Poplar Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 787-0488

North Star isn’t the most accessible venue in the city–even if you drive, there are one way streets to navigate and limited parking. However, it is one of the best rock venues in town–a high, deep room with a powerful sound system, that hosts everything from hip hop to hard core. Though national acts lead many bills, most nights also carry local and regional bands. It doesn’t hurt that the pub-style food is yummy.

mroom Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

The M-Room (credit: http://www.themanhattanroom.com)

The M-Room

15 West Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 739-5577

If you miss Philly’s lovable dive, The Khyber, M-Room might be a therapeutic alternative. M-Room has the same two-room setup as the Khyber, with a bar on one side and a simple room with a stage on the other. What it lacks in panache it makes up for in schedule: M-Room has a knack for putting together great nights of local indie rockers. A bonus: there’s no cover to hang out in the bar while hearing music spilling out from the next room.

psalm Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

PSALM Salon (credit: http://www.psalmsalon.com)


5841 Overbrook Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19131

PSALM is a customized high-end listening room and recording studio where Philly audiophiles can geek out over flawless sound while listening to their local favorites. The schedule can be sparse, but that just means you never have to miss a show! Though it’s not a bar or restaurant, PSALM partners with Avril Restaurant for fixed price pre-show dinners, and allows guests to BYO drinks.

burlap bean Top Venues To Hear Local Music In Philadelphia

Burlap & Bean (credit:www.burlapandbean.com)

Burlap & Bean

204 South Newtown Street Road
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(484) 427-4547

Burlap & Bean is a coffee shop featuring fair trade organic beans and live music Thursday through Saturday each week. The keyword here is “warm” – a cozy room, friendly staff and walls adorned with local artwork. Beans are roasted on-site and the music straddles the line between local and national, often pairing a Philly artist with a regional touring act. Stop in on a Thursday night to sample their java and hear some songs at their weekly open mic night.

Union Transfer

1026 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19123
(215) 232-2100

Located in the old Spring Garden landmark The Spaghetti Warehouse, Union Transfer is the newest of the city’s live music venues and features three full bars, a main floor and an upper balcony. There are lots of local and national acts regularly on the schedule, and shows are reasonably priced. The best part? The sound system. Your favorite bands will sound out loud and clear–this is the kind of spot where the bass rumbles in your chest.

Peter Marinari is a Philly-based singer-songwriter and half of the indie-pop duo Arcati Crisis. He is the author of Philadelphia’s longest-running blog, Crushing Krisis.

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