One of the seven best things about Louisville to me is the music scene. This is not Nashville. We don’t want to be Nashville. We want to be Louisville. We have some very solid local bands for just about every different type of music fan. Louisville is also home to a number of national recording artists. In between the top and the bottom, you find an eclectic mix of quality musicians playing nightly at quality music venues around Louisville. It’s getting to the point that we need more venues in Louisville, and there are actually plans for adding more. One venue in the works is the latest project from Live Nation and the House of Blues called Mercury Ballroom, slated to open in April of this year on Fourth St. Nonetheless, the existing music venues in Louisville are cool, unique, and very indicative of our style as a city. Here are a few of Louisville’s best indoor music venues:
The Palace Theater | 625 S Fourth St | Downtown
This could be my favorite place to watch a concert in Louisville. The Louisville Palace Theater is historic, elaborate, intriguing, and a little weird, which makes it totally Louisville. The acoustics are amazing, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. With around 2,700 seats, The Louisville Palace accommodates national acts as well as large local and regional shows.
Diamond Pub Concert Hall | 630 Barret Ave | Highlands
This massive old building on the edge of the Highlands and Phoenix Hill areas is easy to pinpoint from a distance because you can’t miss the enormous silos that are attached. Diamond Pub and Billiards is a large sports bar with a large deck on one side of the building, and a 789-person concert hall on the other side of the building. On any given night you can catch two or three different acts playing in different rooms of the more than 20,000 square foot building. This is a great place to watch live music!
Headliners Music Hall | 1386 Lexington Rd | Irish Hill
Headliners Music Hall is a live music standard in Louisville. Whether you’re looking for local bands or national acts, Headliners provides a fantastic atmosphere for listening and dancing. There is a bar in the balcony and a bar on the main floor, and when this place is sold out, you will know. Sold-out shows bring shoulder to shoulder traffic between the bar and bathrooms, and pretty much anywhere you walk. Headliners capacity is between 700 and 850 people, and the sound is strong whether you’re watching a high-energy show, or a low-key acoustic band.
Zanzabar | 2100 S Preston St | Germantown
You can’t really tell what to do with this place when you look at it from the street, and once you walk in, you probably still won’t know what to do. If you keep moving through the restaurant back toward the rear of the building, you will reach the room where the music is played. You can’t really even tell how cool this room is until you hear the live sounds coming from the stage, but rest assured, your music experience will be a winner. Zanzabar not only hosts a great mix of different musical styles, but they also have a great staff and clientele!
The New Vintage | 2126 S Preston St | Germantown
Formerly “Uncle Pleasant’s”, this venue is right down the street from Zanzabar, and equally as eclectic with regards to the space and the mix of bands that perform there. You can catch live music at The New Vintage just about every night of the week, yet it’s never stale. They also have a nice craft beer list here.
Gerstle’s Place | 3801 Frankfort Ave | St Matthews
Gerstle’s Place is a neighborhood bar that has been around since 1924. They have been known to focus on two things: 1) live music and 2) the Minnesota Vikings. You can find solid local and regional live music every night during the week, and on the weekends. During the summer you might be able to catch two different live acts in one night between the main indoor stage, and their indoor / outdoor patio room.
Expo Five | 2900 7th Street Rd | South Louisville
A bit out of the way in the South end of Louisville along 7th Street Rd near Dixie Highway and some train tracks, you will find an absolutely huge, random parking lot with a few large buildings scattered around it. This is the home of the Derby Park Flea Market. Yep, I told you it was totally random. It’s an intriguing spot. But on this property is a place called Expo Five. A place which looks like an old airplane hangar. Inside, you will encounter some of the best and most fascinating acoustics you have ever heard. I’m serious when I say, the sound at Expo Five is incredible. The space is not used by bands that I like to see very frequently, but I wish it was.
This is really just a sampling of the places in Louisville where you can see live music. We have all sorts of halls, theaters, rooms, and pubs in Louisville that showcase live music. This city loves its music!
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