Live Music in Hollywood
Hollywood is full of music! Sure, the nightclubs and bars emanate electronic beats onto the boulevard, but we also love LIVE performances. Every night of the week you can be treated to singer/songwriters, jazz singers or rock bands from around the world, sharing their talent in listening rooms and historic theaters from Gower to La Brea.
Follow me on a virtual tour of some truly impressive music venues in Hollywood.
The Fonda Theatre. (Photo courtesy of The Fonda Theatre/Facebook)
The Fonda Theatre - 6126 Hollywood Blvd.
Music style: anything goes! This 1920’s icon has hosted Radiohead, Alabama Shakes, and The Strumbellas with plenty of indie bands, pop, electronic and metal acts.
Tickets: $20 and up
Hugging the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Gower Street, The Fonda is a sizeable concert hall that first opened as The Music Box in 1926, featuring stage plays and radio theater. With limited balcony seating, the open floor space encourages standing and active listening. Food and drinks are offered at the in-house restaurant, Blue Palms Brewhouse, with another bar in the lobby.
The Study Hollywood. (Photo courtesy The Study Hollywood/Facebook)
The Study - 6356 Hollywood Blvd.
Music style: Indie rock, pop, soul; up and coming acts and Wednesday night lineups presented by A Mighty Lamb’s Breaking Sound.
Tickets: $10 and up
The high ceilings and book-lined walls of this concert venue (familiar to those who knew it as Hemingway’s Lounge) center on a wide stage and a long bar. The Study offers vintage cocktails and a moody vibe.
The Black Rabbit Rose. (Courtesy of Houston Hospitality)
The Black Rabbit Rose - 1719 N Hudson Ave
Music style: Almost inevitably a surprise. Local bands and showcases perform here, but then so do Lady Gaga and T-Pain.
Tickets: Magic show tickets run $40-55 but the live music afterward is free
The star of this venue is a magic show, but music features prominently in the nightly performances. Located on the main floor of the historic Hillview Apartments building (now Hudson Hollywood Apartments), this vintage setting offers two experiences: a lounge with food and drink as roaming magicians and performers pass by, and a theater with a show.
Madame Siam. (Photo courtesy Houston Hospitality/Facebook)
Madame Siam (sideshow emporium) - 1723 N Hudson Ave.
Music style: Up-and-coming local talent, with Thursday showcases presented by A Mighty Lamb’s Breaking Sound.
Tickets: cover charge
The 1940’s Thai/Chinese cocktail lounge is described as Disneyland with a nostalgic twist, featuring vintage carnival games, vaudeville and candy machines. The main stage showcases magic and burlesque as well as music. Madame Siam also shares the historic Hillview building, but is underground and accessed through a secret door.
Lucky Strike Live - Hollywood. (Photo courtesy Lucky Strike Live-Hollywood/Facebook)
Lucky Strike Live - 6801 Hollywood Blvd
Music style: local and touring bands
Tickets: no cover
Anchoring the Hollywood and Highland complex is Lucky Strike, a hip 12-lane bowling alley with a steampunk aesthetic, weekly live music performances and karaoke, WiFi, and a gastropub menu. This place kicks bowling and music into another space.
Tramp Stamp Granny's. (Photo courtesy Tramp Stamp Granny's)
Tramp Stamp Granny’s - 1638 N Cahuenga Blvd.
Music style: Showtunes
Tickets: no cover
Promising “drinks, dancing, and upscale debauchery,” Tramp Stamp Granny’s is named for co-owner Mia Swier’s grandmother and her big personality. While the retro-style piano bar features guest artists on occasion, the nightly attraction is their regular crew of piano players leading sing-alongs. If you can’t find your musical theater friends, you’ll probably locate them here.
The Hotel Cafe. (Photo by Devin Strecker)
The Hotel Cafe - 1623 N Cahuenga Blvd
Music style: Indie bands and singer/songwriters
The Hotel Cafe offers nightly music from locals and touring talent, with a main stage and a second stage. From weekly “Monday Monday” showcases featuring three songs each from emerging talent, to impromptu Justin Timberlake performances, the music always comes first. The warm lighting and bar offerings support the stage to create a comprehensive listening space.
Catalina Jazz Club. (Photo courtesy Catalina Jazz Club/Facebook)
Catalina Bar & Grill - 6725 Sunset Blvd
Music style: Jazz
Catalina was conceived as a supper club and an intimate setting for jazz music from known artists. Since 1986 jazz artists such as Dizzie Gillespie, Chick Corea, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Betty Carter have graced the stage, among dozens of others. Serving up drinks, an Old World charm, and Italian-American fare, the Catalina Bar & Grill continues its tradition of fine entertainment in a welcoming space.
Amoeba Hollywood at night. (Courtesy photo)
Amoeba Music - 6200 Hollywood Blvd.
Music style: all kinds, from heavy metal to DJ sets
Tickets: no cover
Amoeba is known for crates of records, CDs, DVDs, VHS and books! But showing live free concerts has always been part of Amoeba’s presence in Hollywood. No need to make a night of it, either; Amoeba shows take place in the afternoon and early evening. Peruse the new, used, and collectible sections and then stop by the green room to hear who’s in. Who knows, maybe Paul McCartney?
Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Blvd. at night. (Photo by Gary Leonard)
Hollywood Palladium - 6215 Sunset Blvd
Music style: Rock, Hip-Hop, Dance
Now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the world famous 11,000 square foot venue features a dance floor that fits 4,000 people. The Palladium first featured big bands led by the likes of Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra when it opened in 1940. Modern audiences still pour through the doors for Jay-Z, Wilco and The Cult.
So next time you find yourself with a free night, head into your nearest Hollywood music venue and take in some new tunes! Bear in mind, nearly all of these places have a dress code. If you are planning ahead and definitely want to be admitted, best to confirm with the venue before you show up in shorts and flip flops.
Where are your favorite places to hear live music in Hollywood? And if you’re a musician - where are your favorite places to play?
Cortney Matz is a freelance writer, musician and amateur baking enthusiast living in Hollywood. She happily blogs for Film Independent and Lunacy Productions, in addition to this fine publication.