St. Louis is a music city, through and through. Not the Music City, of course — Nashville has long ago staked that claim for itself, though it would be more accurate if it specified that the music it's referring to is mostly pop-country or Christian. But St. Louis can boast a rich history of the blues (there's a reason the National Blues Museum is headquartered here), rock & roll (thanks to the father of the form himself, Chuck Berry) and even that mix of bro-country and hip-hop that Nelly helps peddle nowadays (they can't all be winners). In fact, according to a 2016 report by consumer website WalletHub, St. Louis is tied with only Las Vegas for "most music venues per capita" out of the whole nation.
Indeed, on any given week in St. Louis, you have literally hundreds of options to choose from if you want to catch a show. Below you'll find a list of 35 venues, sorted by neighborhood, at which to discover the wealth of music St. Louis has to offer. While this roundup is not comprehensive — there are so many venues in town that no roundup ever will be — it should make it easier for you to get out of the house and find some music you love right in your own backyard.
DOWNTOWN AND SOULARD
Downtown St. Louis offers a plethora of music options, especially of the blues variety. Many Soulard watering holes, such as Howards (2732 S. 13th Street, 314-349-2850) and Hammerstone's (2028 S. 9th Street; 314-773-5565), consistently serve up live music alongside cold drinks. The St. Louis blues triangle, consisting of BB's Jazz Blues & Soups (700 S. Broadway, 314-436-5222), Beale on Broadway (701 S. Broadway, 314-621-7880) and Broadway Oyster Bar (736 S. Broadway, 314-621-8811), offers options for blues fans — if any one of the three isn't hosting an act you like, it is a fair bet that one of the others is, in easy walking distance. Old Rock House (1200 S. 7th Street, 314-588-0505) hosts touring acts playing everything from rock to country to hip-hop, and Ballpark Village (601 Clark Avenue, 314-345-9481) warms up the winter with its Hot Country Nights series, as well as bringing big-name rock and country acts to town in the summer.
Especially around Grand Center, Midtown overflows with live music options. Powell Hall (718 N. Grand Boulevard, 314-534-1700) is the home of the St. Louis Symphony — go here to hear some of the country's most talented musicians perform classical music under the direction of acclaimed conductor David Robertson. The Stage at KDHX (3524 Washington Avenue, 314-925-7556) hosts live music much like you might expect from the station — folk, rock, roots music, bluegrass, etc. Once the second largest theater in the whole country, the Fabulous Fox Theatre (527 N. Grand Boulevard, 314-534-1111) features live music in addition to its many stage productions and standup comedians — standouts on the books this year include John Legend and Santana. Jazz at the Bistro (3536 Washington Avenue, 314-571-6000), unsurprisingly, is headquarters for jazz fans in St. Louis. The Firebird (2706 Olive Street, 314-535-0353) regularly brings touring acts of the rock, hip-hop and metal varieties, as well as St. Louis' popular An Under Cover Weekend series. Fubar (3108 Locust Street, 314-289-9050) is primarily home to punk, hardcore and metal, with rock shows and hip-hop acts filling the calendar between the more hard-edged stuff. Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Street, 314-241-2337) is a brewpub that regularly hosts three- and four-band local bills of every genre from folk to noise — which is to say, pretty much every genre (best of all, shows are always free). .Zack (3224 Locust Street, 314-533-0367), the new multi-purpose space in the building where Plush once sat, will also feature live music once it is fully operational. Chaifetz Arena (1 S. Compton Avenue, 314-977-5000), a 10,000-seat affair on the campus of Saint Louis University, brings in big names in every genre from rap to country to standup comedy.
Cherokee Street might contain the highest concentration of live music venues in town, with ten spots over the span of eleven blocks. Here are the highlights. Foam Coffee & Beer (3359 S. Jefferson Avenue, 314-772-2100) provides live music every night of the week, from experimental music to garage-rock and everything in between. The Luminary (2701 Cherokee Street, 314-773-1533) regularly hosts its LAB series of events focusing on boundary-pushing local artists, providing its space as a kind of blank canvas for local musicians to dress up in their art as they see fit. 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center (2720 Cherokee Street, 314-875-0233) brings EDM acts, jam bands, hip-hop and more (not to mention RKDE, an old-school arcade/ bar concept that has proven very popular since debuting last year). Blank Space (2847 Cherokee Street, 314-300-8831) is kind of tricky to describe — by its definition it is undefinable, serving as host to anything and anyone that comes along without much in the way of curation — but it frequently serves as a home for St. Louis' underground hip-hop scene, with multiple monthly events serving the genre. San Loo (3211 Cherokee Street, 314-696-2888) styles itself as a punk bar, but regularly features everything from rock to punk to roots music.
- PHOTO BY HOLLY RAVAZZOLO
- Delmar Hall is a new spot for bands on the verge of breaking out.
The Loop is home to one of St. Louis' best-known music venues, the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard, 314-726-6161), which regularly tops lists of the best live music venues in the country. The Pageant largely brings bigger-name commercial acts that draw big crowds. Right next door is Delmar Hall (6133 Delmar Boulevard, 314-726-6161), just opened last year by the Pageant's owners as a kind of stepping stone between its larger neighbor and the smaller Duck Room at Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, 314-727-4444). All three venues bring artists of the rock, punk, hip-hop, indie-rock and metal varieties, among others. Cicero's (6681 Delmar Boulevard, 314-862-0009) has long been a home for local jam bands, as well as indie-rock and hip-hop.
With the Gramophone no longer focusing on music and the shuttering of the Demo, the Grove is not as densely packed with live music as it was just a couple years ago, but the venues that remain are of the highest caliber. The Bootleg (4144 Manchester Avenue, 314-775-0775) is the venue portion of Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester Avenue, 314-775-0775), which has its own massive outdoor stage as well. Both feature rock, indie-rock and hip-hop from local and national artists. The Ready Room (4195 Manchester Avenue, 314-833-3929), with its capacity of 800, regularly books up-and-coming and established acts that have outgrown the likes of the Firebird — hip-hop, rock, metal, punk, indie-rock and more are regularly represented.
SOUTH CITY (GENERAL)
South city is filled with venues — many of them covered already in the Cherokee Street section. Just outside of that street, though, is Off Broadway (3509 Lemp Avenue, 314-498-6989), a longtime home for folk, roots music, indie rock and more. Heavy Anchor (5226 Gravois Avenue, 314-352-5226) offers live music from local acts on the regular, as well as standup comedy and the occasional movie night. The Way Out Club (2525 Jefferson Avenue, 314-664-7638) has long been St. Louis' home for the weird and wild; local acts can regularly be found here as well. The Sinkhole (7423 S Broadway, 314-328-2309) aims to be a hub for St. Louis' DIY scene, with punk and garage-rock artists, both national and local, regularly performing.
Some of the bigger venues in the St. Louis area that host big-name acts are found outside of city limits. Ameristar's RYSE Nightclub (1 Ameristar Blvd., St. Charles; 636-946-7973), a new club that has already played host to some big-name EDM acts, including Steve Aoki, is open every Saturday in St. Charles. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre (14141 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights; 314-298-9944), better known to most longtime St. Louisans as "Riverport," hosts huge concerts such as Warped Tour and Pointfest in the summer months. And Pop's Nightclub (401 Monsanto Avenue, Sauget, Illinois; 618-274-6720) is regularly home to metal, rock and rap acts both local and national.