Folks in Los Angeles live in the epicenter of the West Coast’s thriving and varied music. With so many options to choose from when it comes to good live music, it can be next to impossible to decide. Get ready to rock, and check out the best rock bars in Los Angeles.
Harvard and Stone
Hours: Daily 8 p.m – 2 a.m.
Greg Katz, bassist for the popular Los Angeles lo-fi band, LA Font, is a big fan of this Hollywood haunt, and told us, “Harvard and Stone is always packed, the bands that get booked here are good and creative, and there’s always some crazy drinks at the back bar. It’s just far enough from the other Hollywood clubs that it can be both cool and unpretentious.”
Live music and burlesque dancers certainly set the tone at this east-end bar. The design is straight out of Disneyland’s Frontier-Land, with a log-cabin exterior and an interior that’s comparable to the Indiana Jones ride. The unusual, but oddly inviting ambiance is complemented by an equally unusual cocktail list, that is as tasty as it is off-beat.
Rainbow Bar & Grill
Hours: Daily 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Moth Complex founder and front-woman Aoife O’Leary says, “The Rainbow on the Sunset Strip is a place you have to experience; not least of all for the part it has played in rock history! The likes of Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, Janis Joplin (and other rock legends) have all drank there, and you never know who you’ll see. It’s a Sunset Strip rock staple, and I really love the food too.”
Positioned smack in the middle of two of the Strips most notable clubs, the Roxy and Key Club, the Rainbow Room opened in the late 70’s and quickly became the only bar in Los Angeles catering to locals, tourists, dive-crowds and music industry elite alike. Besides the delectable menu items and unbeatable people-watching, the upstairs club features fantastic live-music and DJs.
Hours: Mon 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Tues – Sun 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Danni Rosner, Los Angeles resident piano-rocker, had this to say of her go-to Silverlake watering hole, “El Cid has a great vibe to it. I love the entrance to the place, through some long passageways that transport you into an almost dinner-theater style venue. It’s definitely a bar that supports live music!” Even the sangria packs a punch at El Cid, the former home of MFG Parties weekly dance music event, “School Night.”
Not only is El Cid a fantastic venue to discover some of the cities best up and coming artists, their flamenco dance show is a must see for all.
Hours: Daily 9 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Brandon Schott, Los Angeles musical pioneer of Chamber Folk Pop, had this to say about the iconic Irish pub, “A number of awesome live music venues have come and gone in recent years (Karma Coffeehouse, Tangier), but I’d have to say my favorite these days is Molly Malone’s. Great listening room, great sound and a superb Guinness on tap.”
The small and dark dive-bar has doubled in size since first opening more than 40 years ago. As a venue, it has hosted many emerging artists turned arena headliners. These artists often come back to Molly Malones after they’ve broke into the industry to play the Los Angeles landmark that helped launch their careers. With darts, good drinks and a reasonably priced menu, Molly Malones sets the standard for Los Angele’s best live music bar.
Related: Best live music in Los Angeles.
Kristen Lowman is a freelance writer and publisher of the webzine Music + Moxie. She goes to 4+ shows per week and lives on the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.