5 Best Live Music Venues in Seattle

The soul and beating heart of Washington State, Seattle is a diverse city whose residents appreciate a wide variety of musical styles.  From jazz to rock to country, and from hip-hop to the oh-so famous grunge music that put the city on the musical map, Seattle is literally on the forefront of the American music scene.

Equally diverse—and plentiful—are Seattle’s many live music venues, where residents and tourists can gather to spend an enjoyable, rocking evening hosted by live bands from across the musical spectrum.  In the following article we will highlight some of the most popular live music venues in the city of Seattle, and describe some of the features and characteristics that make each of these nighttime hotspots so alluring.


Located at 925 E. Pike Street, in the heart of the Seattle tourist scene, Neumos is one of the most well-known live music venues in the city—a large space with a capacity that can host up to 650 guests.

Neumos consistently draws some of the most beloved acts in the Seattle area, including MGMT, the Skins, the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and a number of other emerging groups that are beginning the often long path to stardom.

Neumos has all the amenities you can think of in a great club to ensure its guests have a wonderful and exciting experience, including three full-service bars selling the best of local, domestic, and imported beers on tap, and a great selection of amazing liquors and liqueurs to mix up cool and tasty cocktails that are sure to please.

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Neumos typically opens its doors around 7:30 or 8:00 PM on the weekends, and the live music, which usually starts between 9:30 and 10:00 continues to play until closing time at 2:00 AM.  The seating is more than plentiful at this wonderful club, but once the music starts most guests and fans of the band rise to their feet or head to the enormous dance floor to cheer on the music and the musicians.

Tractor Tavern

Located at 5213 Ballard Avenue, the Tractor Tavern is definitely one of Seattle’s best and most well-attended hotspots—a place that can accommodate up to 400 guests for each live show.  The historic building has always been a music venue, with previous stints as the New Melody Tavern and the Prairie Schooner, among other names in the past.

Every weekend, some of the hippest and newest bands, both local and from around the country, fill the space at the Tractor Tavern to the sound of folk, bluegrass, alternative country and indie tunes that really get the toes tapping and the crowd on its feet.  The bar has an early-American décor, and the bar service can only be described as excellent, with knowledgeable bartenders and friendly servers that have mastered the art of getting drinks out fast.  Snacks are also available,

The Tractor Tavern is a mostly “standing-room-only” venue, although there is a banquette, some padded stools around the bar and a few more seats scattered sparsely throughout the building.

Jewel Box Theater at Rendezvous

A supposedly haunted vintage theater according to local legend, the Jewel Box Theater at Rendezvous was built way back in 1927.  The music venue, which is located at 2322 Second Avenue, sports a relatively small, red-curtained stage and is housed inside the longstanding Rendezvous Restaurant and Bar, effectively making the theater a dinner-and-show venue that is very popular among both locals and out of town guests.

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At the Jewel Box Theater at Rendezvous, which was recently bolstered through a partnership with the Neumos venue, patterned wallpaper and soft lighting envelop audiences in a vintage ambience during live music shows performed by emerging bands of all kinds.

As far as seating goes, guests can get comfortable at any of a handful of tables, padded booths or on surprisingly agreeable stacking chairs.  A small venue, the Jewel Box has a capacity for 65 guests, all of who can take advantage of the establishment’s full bar and a great food menu that was recently revamped by the newly-hired chef.

The Jewel Box Theater at Rendezvous is the only theater left on Seattle’s “film row,” a onetime collection of movie businesses grouped in the Belltown section of the city, reportedly because they wanted to keep the highly flammable film concentrated in a single danger zone.

Columbia City Theater

A brick-walled and beguiling vintage venue, located at 4916 Rainier Avenue in Seattle, the Columbia City Theater entertains audiences with music, dance and theater events.  The main focus here is on rock, hip-hop, burlesque, electronic and jazz music, and the concerts are almost wholly standing room only, except for a smattering of chairs.

The Columbia City Theater, which has a capacity of roughly 400, boasts a full bar, with a limited selection of beers and liquors in the concert hall itself.  The large front bar near the venue’s entrance also hosts a small menu of food orders for hungry partygoers.

Built in 1917, the Columbia City Theater is the oldest Vaudeville theater in Washington State, one that formerly played host to Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, not to mention Jimi Hendrix.

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Sea Monster Lounge

A lively dive that comes alive with funk, soul, blues, jazz and swing, the Sea Monster Lounge attracts acts and audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds.  The shows here, which play nearly every night, are entertaining and quite intimate (capacity is only for 74 people), though if you’re sitting in the back dining area you may have a bit of difficulty seeing the stage.

For guests’ convenience, there are decent barstools in the dining area and hardwood benches elsewhere, although often the majority of the crowd is on their feet cheering on the band.  There is a full bar and a few snacks that include wings, tacos, burritos and burgers.

The Sea Monster Lounge is located at 2202 45th Street and will soon be expanding, taking over the building next door.

image via Neuoms.com 

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