The Black Cat and the 9:30 Club are the star venues of D.C.’s music scene, but there are plenty of other clubs in the city that offer quality performances all year round. Take a trip off campus to visit these six locations to see big names or local acts.
Rock and Roll Hotel
(1353 H. St., NW, 202-388-7625, www.rockandrollhoteldc.com)
This two-level music hall attracts artists of both small and large followings: Datarock performed there in September, as did Cobra Starship in August. For those not in the mood for live music, Rock and Roll Hotel boasts an upstairs lounge, complete with Victorian era-inspired couches and a DJ.
(1940 Ninth St., NW, 202-483-5000, www.dcnine.com)
One of the smaller music venues in D.C., DC9 is located in the U Street corridor, an area with a long tradition of honoring arts and music. Keep this venue in mind when hunting for the next huge musical group: The xx played there in October, and now they’re opening for Hot Chip at the 9:30 Club in March. Be sure to catch the notoriously goofy band Leslie and the Ly’s at DC9 Feb. 21.
Eighteenth Street Lounge
(1212 18th St., NW, 202-466-3922, www.eighteenthstreetlounge.com)
Just a short walk from GW’s campus, the Eighteenth Street Lounge is most famous for its exclusive setting – it has no clear sign out front and is housed in a former mansion – and an innovative drink menu. Many visitors, however, have yet to catch on to Eighteenth’s live reggae on Wednesday nights, as well as the semi-frequent live jazz upstairs. Additionally, Thievery Corporation has been known to spontaneously stop by for a casual DJ session.
The Birchmere Music Hall
(3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA, 703-549-7500, www.birchmere.com)
With an extensive menu and excellent live music, the Birchmere is definitely worth a trip outside the District. Patrons of the venue are greeted by colorful murals of notable musicians, and the interior has a saloon-like atmosphere with checkered floors and gazebos surrounding the tables. There has been no shortage of big-name performances at the Birchmere; past shows have included Emmylou Harris and Dave Matthews, and Josh Rouse and soul singer Angie Stone are scheduled to play in February.
The Red and The Black
(1212 H. St., NE, 202-399-3201, www.redandblackbar.com)
There are very few music venues that cater directly to a performing audience, but The Red and The Black is a prime choice for any aspiring band looking to book a gig. Shows are reasonably priced, with most tickets hovering around $6-8. All shows are 21-plus, however. Come to enjoy the New Orleans-inspired menu and ambiance, as well as the music.
(915 U. St., NW, 202-462-3213, www.velvetloungedc.com)
If you’re a fan of scouting local talent, then Velvet Lounge is your place. D.C.-based band Ra Ra Rasputin will be playing Jan. 22, along with eclectic Japanese indie pop group Bellflur. Bands play upstairs, while the downstairs serves as a lounge with plenty of cheap drink specials.