Sure, you can see big-name acts like Il Divo at the Peabody Opera House, Lady Gaga at Fox Theatre—and no shortage of cover bands and DJs at area bars. (Not to mention popular college venues like The Billiken Club at SLU and The Gargoyle at Wash. U.) But where else can you hear original songs from St. Louis musicians? As it turns out, lots of places—and the artists range from legendary bluesmen to up-and-coming indie bands.
1860’s Saloon & Hardshell Café (1860 S. Ninth, 314-231-1860, soularddining.com).
The saloon offers blues music every night of the week—and on Saturday afternoons, too.
2720 Cherokee (2720 Cherokee, 314-276-2700, 2720cherokee.com).
This 14,000-square-foot venue brings together visual art and live music, including reggae (Murder City Players), bluegrass (The Root Diggers), and hip-hop (DJ Needles).
Ameristar Casino’s Bottleneck Blues Bar (1 Ameristar, 636-940-4966, ameristar.com).
This is a stop-off for national acts, as well as local party bands like Super Majik Robots, Superjam and Wyld Stallyns.
Atomic Cowboy/The Fox Hole (4140 Manchester, 314-775-0775, atomiccowboystl.com).
What can we say? Clownvis Presley played here. So have Jake’s Leg and One More Round; it’s also the site of the Folk School–sponsored St. Louis Folk & Roots Festival.
BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups (700 S. Broadway, 314-436-5222, bbsjazzbluessoups.com).
Frequently dubbed St. Louis’ best blues club, BB’s has hosted the likes of Willie Akins, Big George Brock, and Boo Boo Davis.
Baha Rock Club (305 N. Main, St. Charles, 636-949-0466, baharockclub.biz).
Located on St. Chuck’s main drag, this club has a diverse schedule (Nite Owl, Stank Nasty, Last Gnome Standing) and music pretty much every night of the week.
Beale on Broadway (701 S. Broadway, 314-621-7880, bealeonbroadway.com).
Seven nights a week, Beale brings the blues from soulful artists like The Ground Floor Band and Kim Massie.
Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center (1 University, University of Missouri–St. Louis, 314-516-4949, touhill.org).
The Arianna String Quartet, the St. Louis Jazz Orchestra, and other fine local classical and jazz concerns are regulars on the schedule here.
Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room (6504 Delmar, 314-727-4444, blueberryhill.com/events/duck).
This is Chuck Berry’s musical home, but it’s also the place to see other talented locals, like Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine, the Rum Drum Ramblers, and Bunnygrunt.
Broadway Oyster Bar (736 S. Broadway, 314-621-8811, broadwayoysterbar.com).
With popular local acts like the Soulard Blues Band and Funky Butt Brass Band, the patio is like New Orleans’ French Quarter—just blocks from Busch Stadium.
Casa Loma Ballroom (3354 Iowa, 314-664-8000, casalomaballroom.com).
Sinatra played here in the ’40s. And swing lives on through Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats, Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers, and the Gateway City Big Band.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (4431 Lindell, 314-533-7662, stlcathedralconcerts.org).
There could not be a more sublime setting for one of the city’s finest sacred music series.
Charlack Pub (8334 Lackland, 314-423-8119).
This unpretentious Overland bar hosts a lot of live, local music, with an emphasis on rock. Or, should we say, rawk.
Cicero’s (6691 Delmar, 314-862-0009, ciceros-stl.com).
This long-running venue’s emphasis is on jam (Madahoochie), rock (LucaBrasi), and indie (Dear Genre), with some roots and bluegrass thrown in.
Club Viva (408 N. Euclid, 314-361-0322, clubvivastl.com).
Though the focus is on salsa dancing and DJs, the reggae bands that play here are the real deal.
The Crack Fox (1114 Olive, 314-621-6900, crackfoxbar.com)
From the owner of The Bleeding Deacon, this gritty downtown bar features bands like The Trip Daddys and StillLine.
El Leñador (3124 Cherokee, 314-771-2222, lenador.com).
First it was Eisele’s Black Forest, then a Mexican restaurant. Now, this joint is one of the hottest music venues on the South Side, with a lineup including bands like the Red-Headed Strangers, Skarekrau Radio, and The Vondrukes.
Ethical Society of St. Louis (9001 Clayton, 314-991-0955, ethicalstl.org).
Harris Armstrong’s stunning Modernist building is home to the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society; the site also hosts special concerts, such as West African drumming ensembles.
Fast Eddie’s Bon Air (1530 E. Fourth, Alton, Ill., 618-462-5532, fasteddiesbonair.com).
Fast Eddie’s kicks off the weekend early—on Thursdays—at least where the music’s concerned. Past acts: Cause for Concern, Scott & Karl, Radio Star.
The Firebird (2706 Olive, 314-535-0353, firebirdstl.com).
You can get a drink here, but it’s all about the music—mostly national, often local (Union Tree Review, Tight Pants Syndrome), including St. Louis expats made good (MU330, Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat).
Foam (3359 S. Jefferson, 314-772-2100, foamstl.com).
The name of the place refers to the coffee and beer it serves, but the bands are front and center: Dubb Nubb, Lantern Lights, and Middle Class Fashion have all played intimate sets here.
The Focal Point (2720 Sutton, 314-560-2778, thefocalpoint.org).
Housed in the theater next door to the Maya Café, this legendary venue just launched its Local Heroes series, highlighting local artists like Brothers Lazaroff, Cumberland Gap, and Lydia Ruffin.
Fubar (3108 Locust, 314-289-9050, fubarstl.com).
This midtown lounge near SLU hosts local and regional rockers.
The Gramophone (4243 Manchester, 314-531-5700, thegramophonelive.com).
Acoustically perfected during its rehab, this listening room offers a different genre every night of the week. Past local acts include Jake Austin & The City Limits, Bo and the Locomotive, and Nato Caliph.
Hammerstone’s (2028 S. Ninth, 314-773-5565, hammerstones.net)
Catch locals like Alvin Jett, John Farrar, and Skeet Rodgers & the Inner City Blues Band seven nights a week, plus weekend afternoons.
Highway 61 Roadhouse & Bar (34 S. Old Orchard, 314-968-0061, hwy61roadhouse.com).
Named for the interstate that follows the Mississippi, the main musical course here is blues, but the lineup also includes bands like Lucky Dan & Naked Mike, Zydeco Crawdaddys, and The Spys.
Jazz at the Bistro (3536 Washington, 314-534-3663, jazzstl.org).
The home of Jazz St. Louis is an elegant place to dine while listening to hits from vocalist Erin Bode, pianist Peter Martin, and others.
Kirkwood Station Brewing Company (105 E. Jefferson, 314-966-2739, kirkwoodstationbrewing.com).
The suburbs are not entirely quiet! Past acts here: Steve Ewing of The Urge, the Dave Dickey Big Band, and Joe Dirt.
Lemmons (5800 Gravois, 314-481-4812, myspace.com/lemmons).
This is a place to see South Side rock royalty like Fred Friction, as well as up-and-comers like Accelerando and Triceratops.
Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center (3301 Lemp, 314-771-1096, lemp-arts.org).
This nonprofit, nondrinking venue is a friendly place where young musicians can come in and organize their own DIY shows. Plus, the venue brings in bands like Animal Collective long before you see ’em in the bigger rock clubs.
The Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts (130 Edgar, 314-961-0644, opera-stl.org).
It’s home to the world-renowned Opera Theatre of St. Louis; the 2012 season features Carmen, starring St. Louis opera diva Kendall Gladen.
The Luminary Center for the Arts (4900 Reber, 314-807-5984, theluminaryarts.com).
Soon to move to a huge space on Cherokee, The Luminary runs the acclaimed Elevator Music Series, featuring local acts like Joe Raglani, Jumbling Towers, and Parts & Labor.
McGurk’s Irish Pub (1200 Russell, 314-776-8309, mcgurks.com).
Among the nation’s top Irish pubs, McGurk’s is as much about the authentic music—from such famed pipers as St. Louis’ own Tommy Martin—as the beer.
Off Broadway (3509 Lemp, 314-773-3363, offbroadwaystl.com).
Great booking mixes nationals with rising STL bands like The Blind Eyes, plus matinee “kindie music” with locals like Celia’s Big Rock Band.
Old Rock House (1200 S. Seventh, 314-588-0505, oldrockhouse.com).
In addition to an amazing national lineup, Old Rock House just launched Live & Local STL, pairing local microbrews with concerts by local musicians.
The Pageant/Halo Bar (6161 Delmar, 314-726-6161, thepageant.com).
Look for locals like Sleepy Kitty and The Scandaleros in the Halo Bar and on the big stage, opening up for touring acts.
Plush (3224 Locust, 314-535-2686, plushstl.com).
This sprawling, 10,000-square-foot space features a full menu from chef David Zimmerman and a diverse, week-long musical lineup (The Dock Ellis Band, Blind Pilot, The Dive Poets).
Pop’s Nightclub (401 Monsanto, Sauget, Ill., 618-274-6720, popsrocks.com).
The legendary 24-hour Metro East venue is mostly a place to see hard-rocking national bands, though Pop’s has dedicated the Sabbath to St. Louis, with a local band showcase.
Powell Hall (718 N. Grand, 314-533-2500, stlsymphony.org)
The classical works led by conductor David Robertson—and performed by the St. Louis Symphony—are perfectly complemented and amplified by this elegant venue.
Russell E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (400 N. Alton, Lebanon, Ill., 618-537-6863, mckendree.edu)
Located on McKendree University’s campus, The Hett offers diverse programming, with performances by the St. Louis Symphony, Belleville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Saint Louis Wind Symphony, and the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America.
Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest, 314-241-2337, schlafly.com).
The Bottleworks’ eclectic music calendar runs from the funky Teddy Presberg to alt-country trio Colonel Ford (whom Son Volt’s Jay Farrar sometimes moonlights with).
Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust, 314-241-2337, schlafly.com)
The Eliot Room hosts live rock music every Friday and Saturday night from locals like The Union Electric, The Skekses, and The Pat Sajak Assassins; the dining area hosts gentler offerings, e.g., live Bluegrass Picks on Sundays.
The Shanti (825 Allen, 314-241-4772, soulardshanti.com)
The Shanti has music every night but Sunday, and usually no cover. Regulars include The Bottoms Up Blues Gang, The Scandaleros, and from time to time, Devon Allman.
Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington, 314-533-9900, thesheldon.org)
Its perfect acoustics make locals like legendary jazz singer Gene Lynn, the St. Louis Ragtimers, and St. Louis Symphony concertmaster David Halen sound just that much more brilliant.
Sky Music Lounge (930 Kehrs Mill, 636-527-6909, skymusiclounge.com).
Billed as “West County’s only live music bar,” this bar’s docket recently included Well Hungarians, Griffin and the Gargoyles, and Shrinking Violets.
Stagger Inn Again (104 E. Vandalia, Edwardsville, Ill., 618-656-4221, staggerinagain.com)
In addition to a well-loved Wednesday open mic, hosted by The Duck Tape Duo Trio, SIA also has live music Thursday through Saturday evenings, as well as a Friday-night happy-hour jam from 5 to 8 p.m.
Ten Mile House Tavern (9420 Gravois, 314-638-9082).
The lineup includes a rotating schedule of rock and country on the weekends, as well as a popular open-mic night on Thursday.
Way Out Club (2525 S. Jefferson, 314-664-7638, myspace.com/wayoutclub)
Between the two of them, Bob and Sherri Putnam have done more to support local music than just about anyone in town; the question is, who hasn’t played here?
The Wine Press (4436 Olive, 314-289-9463, stlwinepress.com).
You might see a bagpiper in full garb. More likely, you’ll see acts like Javier Mendoza, the Dave Troncoso Jazz Trio, and Chamber Project Saint Louis.
The Wood (2733 Sutton, 314-781-4146, thewoodstl.com).
It features music most nights of the week—and wood-fired pizzas. Past artists: Chrissy Renick, Caleb Travers, and Ross Christopher.