The Best Live Music Bars Are Dive Bars That Highlights The Music Not Decor
There’s a small place I went to on occasion that I just learned is closing.
It was a live music venue that featured really good local bands, and I’m sad to see it disappear from the scene. It had all the elements that made a perfect live music dive venue, and even had the word “dive” in its name.
So as a tribute to the Dive at Brixton, formerly of Redondo Beach, California, here’s my criteria for what makes the ideal dive music bar. Keeping in mind that the best music bars are dive bars.
Here’s my music venue checklist:
• Hot and sweaty
• Being able to get close to the stage
• Feature rocking local bands with a loyal following
• Have a long wooden bar
• A blue jeans crowd. With black t-shirts
• And, of course, cold beers.
And those beers are served quickly because the bar knows when the band is playing people want to be at the stage, not the back or side waiting on a drink. And the more the patrons can hear the band, the more they drink.
Great music places are not fancy. That is because they are not about the decor, they are all about the music. The better then bands, the more people lean onto the stage, bounce on the floor, slam beers down on the bar. A fancy place would not be fancy for long.
That’s why places like The Whiskey A-Go-Go and The Roxy along the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles – the most famous row of live music venues in the world, and deservedly so – are well-worn relics. Lounges, couches and $15 martinis poured by mixologists? Heck no, these are places where you want be wearing a black t-shirt with blue jeans and drinking Budweiser.
Likewise, The Horseshoe in Toronto, which is where several Canadian bands cut their teeth before making it big, is a dive bar with an adjacent room for the live music.
That’s the way it should be, at places all over the world.