(credit: dwphotos/shutterstock)

(credit: dwphotos/shutterstock)


Orange County is quite fortunate to have an abundance of local musicians and venues where they can be heard. You don’t necessarily have to go to the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater or into Los Angeles to appreciate good musical talent. Local performers turn up at some notable bars, clubs and a few places you might not expect to see live music. When you have a craving for good music in a fun atmosphere, check out the following Orange County destinations.
(Credit: Irvine Spectrum Center)

(Credit: Irvine Spectrum Center)


Irvine Spectrum Center
670 Spectrum Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 753-5180
www.shopirvinespectrumcenter.com

In 2014, CBS News reported a prediction that approximately half of American shopping malls will close over the next decade. Yet, in Irvine, the venerable Spectrum Center is celebrating 20 years of growth and expansion. For local musicians and performers, that means an opportunity to play in an exceptional venue in front of an appreciative crowd. On Saturdays, check out the performances at the Giant Wheel Court from 6pm to 9pm and over at the Edwards Court near the 21-screen movie theater on Sundays between 2pm and 5pm In this age of online shopping and e-business, the Spectrum remains a popular destination for shoppers, music lovers and performers.

(credit: Randoll C./Yelp)

(credit: Randoll C./Yelp)


The Wayfarer
843 W. 19th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 764-0039
www.wayfarercm.com

When the Detroit Bar closed up shop, its fans worried that they might lose a great local music venue. Fortunately, the Wayfarer, which took over the spot, remains a place to see great SoCal talent. Located in a shopping plaza, the Wayfarer even maintains the “Detroit Stage” where local bands such as Purple Mountain Majesties can be heard. As one Yelp reviewer pointed out, the stage isn’t huge, but it does have an intimate feel. Good music combined with plenty of food, drink and a comfortable atmosphere make the Wayfarer a great local venue.

(credit: Harp Inn)

(credit: Harp Inn)


The Harp Inn
130 E. 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 646-8855
www.harpinn.com

Referred to as the “most authentic Irish Pub in Orange County,” the Harp Inn is a place to go for good food, drinks and live entertainment. On Monday evenings, their open mic attracts some great local musicians. Later in the week, you can see such local acts as Cubensis Duo, who specialize in Grateful Dead Music, and Zbops, a group that performs songs from the 1950’s and 60’s. Before heading over to the Harp Inn on weekends, make sure to visit their website to see who will be performing that evening.

Related: Best Live Music Venues In Orange County

(credit: Will M./yelp)

(credit: Will M./yelp)


Gypsy Den
125 North Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 835-8840
www.gypsyden.com

There’s a really cool video available on the Gypsy Den’s website featuring owner Emily Meyer talking about this Santa Ana restaurant and music venue. On Mondays and Thursdays, the Gypsy Den turns the microphone over to local musical talent; on Fridays and Saturdays, they bring in bands they think are “cool and unique.” This venue also features great food and an extremely warm, welcoming atmosphere. Meyer herself calls it a hybrid between a restaurant and a coffee shop, with freshly baked pastries, cappuccino and some great draft beers. The Gypsy Den definitely is a place to kick back and enjoy local musicians.

(credit: The Copper Door)

(credit: The Copper Door)


The Copper Door Bar
225 1/2 N. Broadway (under Chapter One restaurant)
Santa Ana, CA 92701
www.thecopperdoorbar.com

The Copper Door Bar exemplifies Santa Ana’s devotion to the arts. This venue has a raised 15 x 15-foot stage that hosts local musicians, DJs and dancers. And it is an exceptionally cool place to hang out, with a 30-foot communal table plus bar stools and four booths. Their website points out that some of the fixtures were carved from a Ponderosa pine tree. Located below the Pacific Building on Broadway, it is an ideal spot to chill, drink and enjoy the local music scene.

Related: Best Music Shops In Orange County

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Steven Bryan calls Irvine, California his home. A freelance writer for more than 20 years, he has interviewed a wide range of notable celebrities, including a variety of up-and-coming musicians and artists as well. Passionate about movies and comic books, he also makes an annual pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic-Con.
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