Venues: The thing about live music is that you actually have to show up. Here’s a list of music venues around San Diego that we’re partial to, or we’ve had recommended to us. If you haven’t heard of the joint, check it out. If you have, check it out again. Tell them Four EL sent you.

Belly Up

Located in Solana Beach, The Belly Up is the center of North County San Diego’s music scene.  The range of shows from local bands to international touring acts draws the attention of music lovers from all over southern California.  Hosting sold out shows for The Psychedelic Furs, Pepper and Cold War Kids, this venue demonstrates how variety meets demand.

The Griffin

Located in Bay Park, The Griffin boasts being one of the biggest little venues in town.  Having only been open for a short time, The Griffin has made a giant step in the right direction attracting acts and music lovers from all over the county.  Having booked acts like Augustana, Atlas Genius, Shwayze and Three Mile Pilot in the last year shows determination to be a SD music scene staple.

Quality Social

Quality Social is a melting pot of hipsters, scenesters and bar industry folk trying to get away from the typical pop music which makes most of the downtown music scene.  With many local bands, DJs and producers playing weekly and a strong woman like Nicole Novak in the driver’s seat, QS has become one of the Gaslamp’s most talked about venues.

El Dorado

What isn’t there to like about El Dorado?  They run a music program of Djs and producers, most of whom do it for the love of music and not the paycheck.  There is plenty of parking, bus stops close by and even a trolley station across the street.  With monthly residencies called “Hickies and Dry Humps” and “Boom, Boom Saturdays” the message is clear, bring your “A” game and be prepared for B side track selections.

Offshore Tavern

Yet another live venue in Bay Park, this one is tucked away on Morena Blvd allowing it’s patrons to escape from the maddening crowds of the beach and downtown.  Dedicating itself to local acoustic music on Fridays and Saturday nights, this is the perfect spot to post up, look, listen and feel.

House of Blues

Since HOB moved into town, SD has been including on many national and international tours that would have skipped over us and headed just to LA.  It’s not that San Diego didn’t get these shows before, we just now get more.  This venue also provides local San Diego acts a chance to play on a big stage and potentially open up for some bigger acts.

710 Beach Club

Located just feet from the Pacific Ocean, 710 Beach Club showcases a lot of beach acts and local acts from around the county.  710’s sister live venue in Ocean Beach is much of the same, but also attracts a lot of touring acts due to it’s long standing history in San Diego.  Both provide a great experience for both the patrons and the bands in an up close and personal room.


Bootlegger is a newer venue in East Village in downtown San Diego.  Although they mostly have Djs nightly playing pop and anthems, occasionally they will showcase smaller acts on their side stage.  This place really comes alive with live music and if you have a chance to see a good Americana act there, the energy is unreal.

The Duck Dive:

Located in the heart of Pacific Beach, The Duck Dive offers surfers, beach bums and the rest of us a relaxing experience in a casual beach-inspired lounge. Gastropub-inspired cuisine pairs perfectly with the rotating list of local and microbrews along with an extensive craft cocktail selection. Classic and contemporary, The Duck Dive is ideal for the laid-back diner who demands excellence in food and atmosphere in one of San Diego’s favorite beach towns.


Located in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp district, barleymash is much more than your typical downtown eatery. This high-energy downtown restaurant and bar is equipped with a state of the art sound system, an ultra-hip martini lounge, and plenty of room to dance the night away. With entertainment slotted seven nights a week for everything from bands to deejays, barleymash sets the standard for downtown nightlife.

Belly Up Tavern

Located in beautiful Solana Beach, The Belly Up brings the best in new, up-and-coming artists as well as established legends in genres ranging from alternative rock, rock, reggae, and hip-hop to blues, folk, jazz, Latin & more..

The Casbah:

The Casbah has been open since 1989. Its first location had a legal capacity of 75 and hosted such bands as: Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Lemonheads, The Jesus Lizard, and Rocket From The Crypt.

In the beginning of ’94 they moved just down the road to our larger, plusher quarters and the rest is history. The “new” location has a capacity of 200+, there is an enclosed smoking patio, a back room featuring pool tables, pinball, the classic video game Galaga, and a full bar. There is also a music room with a full bar and a state-of-the-art sound system.


Honorable Mention:

Copley Symphony Hall:

750 B Street

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 231-0163


Brick by Brick:

1130 Buenos Ave.

San Diego, CA 92110

(619) 275-5483



1921 Bacon St.

San Diego, CA 92107

(619) 222-3802





Soda Bar:

3615 El Cajon Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92104

(619) 255-7224


Lestat’s Coffee House:

3343 Adams Ave.

San Diego, CA 92116

(619) 282-0437


Tin Can Alehouse:

1863 5th Ave.

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 955-8525


Bar Pink:

3829 30th St.

San Diego, CA 92104

(619) 564-7194


Spreckels Theatre

121 Broadway

San Diego, CA 92101





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