To make it big, all famous bands had to start somewhere. With Philly’s penchant for live music, it should come as no surprise that many well-known musicians and bands got their start at bars and taverns in town. Some began as cover bands; others started out performing their own original music. From jazz to rock, many neighborhood bars offer a varied selection of new bands in places with great atmosphere, good food and drink and a unique ambiance.

1315 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 985-4800

In addition to its restaurant, whiskey bar and taproom, Time is also known as a music venue. Located on Sansom Street, the business features new bands, as well as some area favorites. On any given day, a different musical artist is scheduled, such as Rit Mo Mondays featuring Chris Farrell and Company, or on a Thursday, the featured performer may be The Budesa Brothers or DJ Flufftronix. Time’s dining room easily seats 60 and provides a warm atmosphere for guests. The whiskey lounge features quiet lights and a homey atmosphere. The second floor is where the action is. In the Parisian-inspired club, DJs and both new and old bands are featured.

Related: Top Local Bluegrass Bands In Philadelphia

Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 232-2100

A recent addition to Philadelphia, Union Transfer features three bars with full liquor, beer and wine selections. Snacks are available at concession stands. The main draw, however, is its musical line-up. Performing earlier this year were bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mike Doughty with Sons Of Hippies and Cold War Kids, to name a few. Any given night may feature a regional favorite or a brand new band seeking an audience. Check the website for a schedule of upcoming performers.

The Grape Room
105 Grape St.
Manayunk, PA 19127
(215) 930-0321

A showcase for music talent, The Grape Room, located on Grape Street, offers live music six nights a week, along with DJs and dancing on the second floor on Fridays and Saturdays. A typical roster of entertainers for October included Lead Singers Disease, featuring Stephen Rose, Bong Hits for Jesus; Crobot; The Fractals; Study Electricity; Whack Bat; and Song Dogs, to name a few of the acts. The venue also hosts improv and an open mic night.

Chris’ Jazz Cafe
1421 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 568-3131

If wings and jazz fit the mood, Chris’ Jazz Cafe is the place to groove. A casual jazz venue, Chris’ features performers such as jazz saxophonist James Carter, the Philly Gumbo funk, soul and blues band, vibraphonist Tony Miceli and his quintet and The All Star Jazz Trio. The restaurant menu includes wraps, burgers, salads and more.

Related: Open Mic Venues In Philadelphia

Jeffrey B. Roth, has won numerous state and national news and feature-writing awards during his career. A well-known crime writer, investigative reporter and a feature writer, Roth writes for a number of magazines and newspapers. Listed in the Locus Index of SciFi and Fantasy authors, Roth is the author of a number of published short stories and poetry. His work can be found on