The Irenic In North Park #11
3090 Polk, San Diego CA 92104 624-9335
Great place to see a show, but the website is always down. Google to check.
Not far from Observatory and Bar Pink is the Irenic. Its an old church that hosts many Casbah and Soda Bar shows.
This all-ages 400 capacity space has a wide range of artists. Call the phone number for the concert info.
Other types of art and dance show also play at Irenic.
San Diego Music & Nightlife:
San Diego Music Venues
San Diego.com boasts some of the best music around, and there are manySan Diego music venues hosting the best in music every night. Whether you want to check out a dive bar for a few local tunes or hit up one of the larger venues for touring bands, use this page to help you quickly browse the best venues and nightlife in San Diego. Check out the following San Diego music venues and see what’s playing during your next trip to San Diego.
Those are just a handful of the larger music venues in San Diego, and you will discover that many dive bars in North Park, downtown San Diego nightclubs and other venues scattered around San Diego are great places to catch local San Diego music.
San Diego Nightlife
While San Diego might not be entirely known for its nightclubs and bars, San Diego nightlife is still some of the best around, if you know where to look. There are a few sections of the city where San Diego nightlife is more concentrated, and if you are looking for some nighttime entertainment, check out the following areas.
For more San Diego nightlife and music venues, browse our site under the keywords: music, nightclub, bar or nightlife.
Where To See Live Music In San Diego: The Best Venues In America’s Finest City
May 5 6 min read
Where to see live music in San Diego: the best venues in America’s Finest City
May 5 6min read
Though San Diego may not immediately spring to mind as an epicenter of vibrant live music and performing arts, trust us this sun-drenched city needs to be on the travel list of every muso. Look beyond the regions sunny beach activities, noteworthy outdoor adventures, and premium food and craft beverages and realize San Diegos dynamic music scene has been thriving for some time. Just ask the locals.
Its kind of a well-kept secret, explains Chris Goldsmith, President of Belly Up Entertainment in Solana Beach. Goldsmith spent his formative years performing at local venues as well as representing clubs and artists.
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Not every artist gets routed down here but its grown a lot in the last 10 years, says Lee K, who grew up in San Diego and is a resident DJ for CRSSD, an electronic music festival that takes over Downtowns Waterfront Park twice a year. Its robust for what it is.
With that said, consider this your insiders guide to some of the best live performance venues in and around San Diego, from the coast to inland neighborhoods, weeknight go-tos and unmissable weekend events.
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Intimate Venues Deliver Big Sound
The campus of the University of California, San Diego has an ongoing ArtPower American Routes series that explores the breadth of continental talent with Latin Grammy Award-winning artists like Gina Chavez, and The Jones Family Singers, a gospel-funk band from Texas. ArtPower also hosts international acts from an Israeli classical quintet to a folk ensemble from central Niger all of them performing within the intimate confines of the renowned campus venue The Loft.
Showgoers to Music Box in Downtowns Little Italy neighborhood praise the 13,000-sq ft, multi-level venues impeccable acoustics. Here, find standing-room-only space on the first floor, opera boxes for groups of six to eight on the second and a lounge area on the third floor. The luxe, multi-genre venue books performers across genres such as bluegrass to jazz and R& B.
San Diego Bars With Live Music
Looking for live music in San Diego? Whether youre looking for a grungy bar with a 90s rocker feel, a speakeasy with a secret entrance, or maybe youd like to enjoy a live Irish band while enjoying a pint of Guinness, has tons of live music opportunities all throughout the nightlife scene.
If youre ready to dive into the scene, here are our top 10 picks for bars with live music in San Diego.
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What Are The Best Live Music Spots In Downtown San Diego #21 #22 #23
Weve talked about my favorite spot the Casbah. Technically its in Middletown but its a few blocks from Downtown San Diego.
Also, The Music Box is on the edge of Downtown in Little Italy. Two of the best places near Downtown to see a great band.
Downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp area has music and shows in many bars. Well go over the top places with music most every night.
House of Blues San Diego is 1055 5th Ave SD CA 92101. The House of Blues usually has the best shows in Downtown San Diego. Like the other House of Blues nationwide, they get a great selection of bands.
Over the years Ive seen 100 shows at this two-level bar. Tonight I saw the 80s bands The Alarm and Modern English. Some shows are 18 and up but most are 21 and over.
They also have occasional shows in the attached House of Blues Voodoo Room. I saw Australias Paul Kelly in The Voodoo. Paul will sell out a large room in Los Angeles with Australian ex-pats. San Diego is smaller. The Voodoo Room and 100 hundred fans are perfect.
Patricks Gaslamp Pub at 428 F St is a San Diego favorite. This blues bar located in a historic 1933 building also has great retro cover bands.
The small cover charge of $5 keeps the place full and dancing from 900 to 100am.
Catch a concert at the House of Blues. Most shows will end around eleven. Head a few blocks to Patricks and listen to some cool blues. Maybe a band thats played Santana covers for 30 years.
Lounge Inside Sushi Bar Serves Up Soju And Sake Cocktails With Local Bands And Artists
- Seth Combs
The Convoy District is known for a lot of things, primarily food . But live music and local bands? Not so much.
Well, welcome to the stage Mikami Bar, a new venture from the team behind the conveyor-belt-style Mikami Revolving Sushi, which, if readers havent already been, theyve likely seen their friends post Instagram stories about it.
The adjacent bar concept will work as an izakaya-style lounge area that includes elevated zenai , craft soju and sake cocktails, and live music from local bands.
When it comes to the food, think braised pork belly and cajun-inspired tuna tataki bowls, with plans for rotating dishes in the bar every two weeks depending on whats seasonal. The team will also keep the live music selections fresh, as well as the art on the walls, which will come courtesy of local artists.
7319 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Convoy District
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Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
Located on the San Diego State University campus, the CCCU-Open Air Theatre offers concertgoers a chance to have the open-air amphitheater experience without losing the ambiance or intimacy. It has a capacity of about 4,600 compared to the sports arenas 16,000. Its big, but not so huge that you will have to squint or rely on the Jumbotron to see the main act.
Who you might see there: John Legend, Alicia Keyes, Matchbox Twenty, Primus.
Address: 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA 92182
Events Worth Traveling For
Adams Avenue Unplugged is a mostly annual, free musical walkabout that stretches along Adams Avenue for nearly two miles. In other words, restaurants, cafes, bars and retail shops become impromptu stages for more than 100 live bands across the Normal Heights and University Heights neighborhoods. Note that parking gets tricky in these largely residential places so plan ahead.
Music festivals tend to be associated with an overwhelming footprint, yet CRSSD oozes intimacy, even across three performance stages pumping out hypnotic techno beats. You dont feel like youre going to get lost, Lee K says of the two-day festival, which has worked to maintain its hemmed-in environs for nearly a decade. If youre not partial to bopping around in the middle of a pulsating crowd nearest the stages, the best viewing area is along Waterfront Parks water features steps. Glass Animals and Sofi Tucker headlined its spring 2022 event.
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Soma All Ages Venue #9
Soma located in Point Loma. 3350 Sports Arena SD CA 92110. This all-ages 2300 capacity club caters to the under 30 crowds. Most of the bands are huge in the teenage crowd.
A few old school bands make an appearance. As I write I see a Bad Religion concert scheduled.
Unlike Observatory, its more of a place to let your kid watch a concert with friends. Kind of like a very noisy high school dance.
Soma was made famous with San Diego bands Blink 182 and Unwritten Law.
The club has a ton of security and crowd surfing and slam-dancing are prohibited. Drop the kids off and let them have fun. The lot is full of dads picking up kids after the show. The cool dads.
How Does One Enter
No reservations. No call aheads. Its simply about showing up, spotting our unassuming Law Office door and seeing where this underground venue of the San Diego nightlife scene will take you.
This chic, secret bar tends to fill up with fellow drink and music enthusiasts quite quickly, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. To make sure youre one of the lucky ones to experience this debonair San Diego bar, we recommend coming before 9 pm on Fridays and Saturdays if you have a group of 6 or more.
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Ken Club In Historic Kensington #15
The Ken Club is 4079 Adams SD CA 92116. This is one of my favorite dive bars. Its been around for decades. This stage has been the scene of legendary San Diego bands. I used to see Deadbolt at the Ken every month.
These days the concerts come a little less frequently. A stand-up show has started on Mondays. Local acts play now and again. Alternative and rock.
Check out the Kensington Club Facebook for any upcoming shows. No stop to Kensington would be complete without Ponces Mexican Food across the street.
The Ken Cinema a block away is an old school single-screen theater. They show great documentaries and art type films. They also run a weekend midnight movie. Rocky Horror and those types of films. You can also find these classics
Drinks at the Ken Club, dinner at Ponces and a movie at the Ken Cinema. Just about as good as it gets. After the movie, if a band is playing at the Ken even better.
The Ken Club is about $13 Uber/Lyft from Downtown San Diego. Maybe less than $10 from the Hillcrest area.
Pal Joeys Is Another Great Bar For Cover Bands #19
This great dive bar is a classic neighborhood bar. Located at 5147 Waring SD CA 92120, not far from San Diego State University.
Some of the same great cover bands that play Tio Leos with play at Pal Joeys. 80s rock, vintage rock, R& B, and funk shows. Pal Joey has some fun shows on the weekends.
Pal Joeys is a $10 Uber/Lyft from the Old Town area of town. If youre staying anywhere near the bar, its worth a visit.
Id rather see a touring band at The Casbah but sometimes its fun to check out a few Zeppelin covers.
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The Whistle Stop In South Park #17
The Whistle Stop in South Park. 2236 Fern SD CA 92104 is a great neighborhood bar. They also have a great line up of music.
Local and touring acts. Whistle Stop also has weekly stand-up comedy.
Drink specials and DJ shows too. Not the boring type of DJ. Punk vs. Metal or Sinatra and Rolling Stones. This is a great bar even if its just the jukebox. The Jam and classic Stones.
Across the street is Tim Mays Vinyl Junkies Record Shack. A great store to find that record you had 20 years ago. Or just flip through the bins.
Top 11 Live Music Venues In San Diego
When youre in San Diego, dont miss a live music performance at one of the citys best venues. San Diego is known as Americas Finest City because of its vibrant culture, exciting events, never-ending sunshine and perfect weather. The music scene in the city falls right in step, offers everything from large music stages like the Sleep Train Amphitheater and Humphreys Concerts by the Bay, to cozy, intimate music houses like the Belly Up Tavern, Casbah and the House of Blues.
One of the benefits of hosting entertainment in a city with a climate like San Diegos is that its much easier to hold outdoor events. From spring through late fall, the evenings are balmy and comfortable, and on the rare night that temperatures drop below 65, getting cozy under a blanket is half the fun.
While we cant possibly list all the amazing San Diego music destinations in a single short blog post, but below we highlighted 12 of our favorites around the city. If you plan on visiting San Diego soon, be sure to check the calendar for each of these establishments and snag tickets for your favorite artist, band or show before it sells out.
From up-and-coming artists to major industry headliners, San Diego has concerts across all genres of music: jazz, hip hop, rock, country, R& B and more! Here are the 11 top music venues in San Diego to catch a memorable live performance.
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Dont Miss These Bites Beers And Musical Accompaniment
Elsewhere in San Diego County, settle into Panama 66 located within Balboa Park. The restaurant, bar, and auditorium hosts weekly performances by resident jazz musicians Gilbert Castellanos and the Young Lions youth ensemble. See them Wednesdays in the auditorium, with all other performances outdoors in the Sculpture Court where its not uncommon for audience members to get up and dance along.
On Thursdays at The Grass Skirt restaurant and bar in Pacific Beach, local musicians including Keahi Rozet, Dan Ratcliffe, and Jeff Bennett dole out island vibes alongside tiki drinks, bites and dishes like shrimp and pork wontons, salmon poke bowls, and kitschy decor.
Lively Gaslamp Quarter skews in the direction of Gen Z after dark, though The Shout! Houses dueling-pianos bar appeals across demographics. Nightly shows feature face-to-face piano players that also entertain with comedic riffs between songs. Audience participation is highly encouraged.
Belly Up Tavern is nestled within Solana Beachs Cedros Design District. Here, sit down for a meal at the venues Tavern restaurant next door before enjoying rotating live performances from G. Love & The Juice to Blackberry Smoke, and Sarah Jarosz. In 2021, the venue unveiled a new sound system, among other upgrades.
North Island Credit Union Amphitheater
For that quintessential concert experience, head over to Chula Vista to the North Island Credit Union Amphitheater . This 10,500-seat venue brings some of the biggest names in music down to San Diego. Rock out under the stars with the stars of todays music scene. Tickets often go fast, so check the calendar far in advance of your San Diego trip.
Who you might see there: Maroon 5, Luke Bryan, Black Crowes, Backstreet Boys, Kiss, Hall & Oates, Doobie Brothers.
Address: 2050 Entertainment Cir, Chula Vista, CA 91911
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Brick By Brick Is The Bar For Heavy Metal In San Diego #5
Brick By Brick is located near Interstate 5 and the Sea World exit. 1130 Buenos Ave SD CA 92110. This old school venue is a favorite spot for heavy metal.
It also hosts a few punk-rock shows a month. Still all types of metal are the mainstay for Brick By Brick.
From Downtown San Diego its about $14 Uber. Most shows have several bands. Five is not unusual. Check the schedule, but you may want to show up around 10:45. Especially if you just want to see the headliner.
Tio Leos bar is down the block. You can check out a classic rock cover band at Tios then a death metal band at Brick.
Watch the driving. The San Diego Police station is 2 blocks from both clubs.
The 15 Best Places With Live Music In San Diego
Missie De Leeuw-Bono: Cool architechture and amazing summer concerts. Perfect photo ops too.
melissa ta: Free organ concerts every Sunday at 2:00pm
Drew Kroft: Here’s the Summer Concert Series Schedule –http://www.balboapark.org/calendar/event/2011-06-21/twilight-park-concerts-series
Susan Smith: Loved The Dan Band last night. excellent venue for a concert
JoAnn C: My favorite concert venue in San Diego
Paul Smith: Great venue for concerts… Order food and you can do pass the line.
Dave Pereira: My favorite music venue.
Eji Val: Nothing can beat the five fifty Sapporo can. That and the awesome concerts we have seen there since they were a couple of streets back in Ketner.
Frank: best place in San Diego for live music
Kristi Black: Best place to see an intimate concert in San Diego for 30 something’s and up!
Lesha Reeves Jones: The shows awesome concert venue
Bernie Zamora: Gary Clark Jr. Concert w/ Chad, Guy, and Meredith.
Hotel Indigo: From their popular summer pops series with luminaries that include Broadway and pop stars to their classical series with the heavy hitters, the symphony has a concert for everyone. Read more.
Dolly: Sign up for the email list to find out about free concerts & discount events:)
Linda Knowlton: Loved the concert. Wish the Symphony would have had Dave Mustaine’s amp up louder.
Jeffrey Lambkin: Brat, Kale Salad, Organic, Great Beer Selection, Patio, Live Music, Dog Friendly
Bernie Zamora: Black Keys concert w Chad and Jill
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