The Best Music Venues in America: Readers' Choice

Rolling Stone

This March and April, our expert panel of artists and insiders picked the best clubs, big rooms and ampitheaters in America. Then, in May, we asked you to choose from the list of 40 finalists and submit your favorite. Read on to see if your favorite venue made the list, then visit our Venues That Rock page for an interactive map and much more.

View gallery

.

Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY, Photo by Nicole Fara Silver

10: Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY

Opened 15 years ago in a vacant jewelry store and haberdashery on the Lower East Side, the 550-capacity club is a must-play for bands on the way to stardom. David T. Viecelli, agent for Arcade Fire, says it's "another dressing room or two shy of perfection." It's both intimate and grand, with consistently great sound and sightlines, and touches of old-school class, like 84-year-old brass rails.

Capacity: 550
Website: http://www.boweryballroom.com
Fun Fact: Joan Baez’s live album Bowery Songs was recorded during her November 2004 show at the famed venue.


View gallery

.

Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA, CC Image courtesy of crschmidt on Flickr

9: Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA

Perhaps the world's only concert venue with a Lebanese restaurant upstairs, the Middle East opened in 1970 and began playing host to rock bands 17 years later. The site now hosts three music venues along with the restaurant; the downstairs club, with a capacity of nearly 600, is the crown jewel, attracting top indie acts to Cambridge's bustling Central Square.

Capacity: 575
Website: www.mideastclub.com
Fun Fact: WBCN’s renowned “battle of the bands” has taken place at the Middle East for the last two decades.


View gallery

.

The Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA, CC Image courtesy of Stephen Dyrgas on Flickr

8: The Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA

Few clubs have such an impressive history: The Troub was key to L.A.'s late-Sixties rock explosion and the glam-metal scene of the Eighties, a room where both Jim Morrison and Axl Rose became legends. More recently, everyone from Radiohead to the White Stripes has kept its legacy alive.

Capacity: 400
Website: www.troubadour.com
Fun Fact: Legendary potheads Cheech and Chong were discovered by Lou Adler at the Troubadour’s Monday Hoot night in 1970.

To read the rest of the best music venues in America: Readers' Choice, go to RollingStone.com
View Comments