St. Louis is a city that loves two things: sports and live music. At the crossroads of the country, the Lou has been a hotbed of ragtime, blues, rock and roll, alternative, punk and rap over the years. Famous St. Louis musicians from Scott Joplin to Tina Turner and Chuck Berry to Nelly have stars on the U City Loop’s Walk of Fame. New bands continue to grow up within the city and come through on tour. Here are some of the venues where St. Louisans catch the rising stars.
3509 Lemp Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63118
The venerable Off Broadway is one of the Lou’s favorite places to hear local, regional and national acts. Rock, country, folk, acoustic and alternative bands grace the stages a few nights a week. This is an intimate, standing-room venue with a little balcony and a patio (indoor and outdoor bars). The calendar for 2013 is already filling up and runs the gamut of Company of Thieves (acoustic rock) in January, The Turnpike Troubadors (Oklahoma country pop) in February and The Billy Jonas Band (family folk music) in April.
The Way Out Club
2525 S. Jefferson Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63104
The Way Out Club is a funky, gritty, urban sort of space filled with a dusty and fascinating assortment of kitsch that includes tiki memorabilia, clown art and nudes. Owners Bob and Sherry and their ever-present bar cat, Angus, welcome you warmly. The music here is a grab bag of alternative rock, punk, emo and occasionally international styles. In addition to up-and-coming bands, the club also hosts burlesque and bellydance shows, old film nights and other random events.Related: Top Open Mic Venues in St. Louis
2706 Olive St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
The Firebird is where up-and-coming regional and national rock bands strut their stuff in St. Louis. These are the bands that might play at the Pageant next time they come through, so this could be your last chance to see them in a small venue for only $10-20. The Firebird is an intimate venue with seating, a dance floor, great parking and a wide assortment of local beers. But the music is definitely the focal point. The acoustics and sound system are good, and the wide room is laid out to accommodate a crowd that allows everyone to see the stage.
Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room
6504 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
The fact that Chuck “I Found My Thrill” Berry himself still comes around to play at the Duck Room is enough to put this spot on any music map of St. Louis. The nostalgic venue turned 40 in 2012. The space, which is packed to the ceiling with memorabilia and collectibles, features a large restaurant, a room for dart tournaments and the Duck Room, which is where live music happens. Local and touring acts are featured at Blueberry Hill.Related: Best Places To Go Dancing in St. Louis
Old Rock House
1200 S. 7th St.
St. Louis, MO 63104
Old Rock House is a roomy live music space on the edge of the Soulard neighborhood. The Rock House offers food and drink, but the real attraction here are the local indie rock and electronic bands and touring acts. There’s plenty of open space near the stage, so die-hard music fans can get close to the action. Those who want to have a conversation can enjoy tables at the other end of the room, a balcony with sofa seating or the outdoor patio. Screens around the room bring the onstage action to everyone. Get there early so you can park on the paved lot in front, the dirt lot in back can be a mudpit.
Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.