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BEST SPOTS: Live Music Venues |

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BEST SPOTS: Live Music Venues
BEST SPOTS: Live Music Venues


ATLANTA – Atlanta is known for being the home of southern rap and a number of rap megastars, however, one of Atlanta’s thriving undercurrents is that of “live music”. Check out these spots recommended by our Facebook friends and explore one of Atlanta’s most underrated subcultures.

Eddies Attic Music Room is known as the premiere “listening room for performing songwriters”. This venue is home to acts, such as: The Indigo Girls, John Mayer, Shawn Mullins and Sugarland and is known as one of the best places to listen to live music and watch talented performers.  The “attic” is a stage for performers of many genres of music and a diverse crowd that embraces the artistic expression of different types of people. The attic plays host to a number of nationally known talents and popular local acts. The attic is located at 515-B North McDonough Street in Decatur. And it’s open from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday. The bar isn’t recommended for children, however, sometimes the music room plays host to younger music acts.

A mainstay on the Atlanta live music scene is the Apache Café, which is located near the Varsity in downtown Atlanta; it’s the long standing open mic authority in Atlanta. The café features a weekly line up of local acts, jam sessions, beat battles and emcee battles. Every Wednesday, the café hosts their weekly Al Smith’s Midtown Jam Session open mic night; it features a live band, local vocalists and has been a mainstay in Atlanta for about seven years, The Jam Session is the cafes must attend event. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts around 10 p.m. Admission ranges between $6 and $10. The Apache Café is located at 64 3rd Street in Atlanta.

One of the best rock venues in Georgia is 37 Main in Buford. The café, named for its address, is a premiere weekend destination for those who love hard rock. The café is open from Wednesday to Sunday nights and is home to house band Dueling Pianos and Acoustic with Sean Thomason; it also holds auditions starting at 8 p.m. for bands on Wednesday and hosts a night of karaoke at 9 p.m. The venue, also, offers some great food and mixed drinks. 37 Main is located at 37 Main Street in Buford.

Café Circa is a go-to for jazz, blues and neo-soul when it’s cold out; and the Reserve is the remedy when the weather is nice. The restaurant and cigar bar is located on the corner of Edgewood at Boulevard and it sits next to Corner Tavern. Some say it has the feeling of an old school “cotton club”. The restaurant is dimly lit and is often home to some of the greatest contemporary jazz acts in the Atlanta area. During the week, Café Circa, sometimes, features jazz and blues acts and they usually have a regular weekend performer. The restaurant is located at 464 Edgewood Avenue in Atlanta.  

Smiths Olde Bar is, according to them, “an Atlanta institution” and it offers some of the best music in town. The venue, located on the corner of Piedmont and Monroe, has been host to acts like David Bowie, Train, local act Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. All shows are for an adult crowd and feature a full bar setup. The restaurant offers nightly drink and entrée specials. The bar is located at 1578 Piedmont Avenue in Atlanta.

For the north side OTP crowd, the Moondance Lounge seems to be a hit. The venue hosts a live band on Saturday nights and regular performers who, generally, come in around 8 p.m. and on Sunday nights; the restaurant hosts a Jazz Brunch with a live Jazz Band from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The lounge features a regular performer Keenan Blount and The Fly Cats. The Moondance doubles as a sports bar and offers a place to relax after work; however, the real party starts on Saturday night. The Moondance Lounge is located at 300 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Suwanee.

Cafe 290 plays host to many of the biggest names in jazz, in Atlanta. Popular trumpeter Joe Gransden and pianist William Green make weekly appearances and bring out the crowd. The café is open seven days a week and it doesn’t close until 2 a.m., every night. With more than 25 years in the business, Café 290 has been internationally noted as the “best jazz club in Atlanta”; it’s one only three jazz spots, nationwide, to be picked as for a U.S. Postal Service Jazz Legend postage stamp. Café 290 is located at 290 Hilderbrand Drive in Sandy Springs.

Pizza Vesuvius is located in the Edgewood district of southeast Atlanta. This hidden jewel in the Old 4th Ward district doubles as a pizzeria and a music room; on weekends the music room lights up with live indie music from genres, such as: rock, jazz, blues, electronic, bluegrass, punk, traditional and others.  Vesuvius opens at 6 p.m. and closes at 3 a.m. from Tuesday through Saturday. The Music Room has a very rustic and vintage feel kind of like an old time, good time and depending on who is performing the party rocks and the floor shakes.

Known as Atlanta’s premiere jazz club, Churchill Grounds, is a must visit for jazz fans in Atlanta. The club features acts like Cedar Walton, Freddie Cole, Loston Harris, Chico Freeman, Donald Harrison, Marcus Printup, Philip Harper and Russell Gunn but claims it is trolling for the next greatest thing in jazz. Every Tuesday, the club hosts a Jam Session with Danny Harper and charges a $7 cover, not too expensive for an excellent time. Nightly, the first set starts at 9:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Churchill Grounds is located at 660 Peachtree Street in Atlanta.

In the Little 5 Points neighborhood, the Variety Playhouse is the main event. The venue, which opened in 1940, features some of the hottest indie acts in Atlanta and other acts who have gained mainstream notoriety. The building sits in the middle of the “hippie epicenter” of Atlanta but brings out music snobs, industry types, starving artists and those who just want to have a good time. The music hall will play host to G Love and Special Sauce, The Grapes, Gaelic Storm and Mason Jennings during the month of January and every show is sure to be packed with party-goers or those who just want to experience a piece of Atlanta history. The Variety Playhouse is located at 1099 Euclid Avenue in L5P.