by Chris Morrison
Everyone knows that San Diego has a vibrant music scene. If you’re on the hunt to find an awesome live show in the downtown area, you’ll discover what you’re looking for anywhere from The House of Blues to The Observatory in North Park to random bars in The Gaslamp District. In the heart of San Diego, you are bound to find excellent live music performances almost any night of the week... especially on weekends. North County on the other hand, is not as well known for its live music venues, and I think that is a damn shame. There are amazing venues in North San Diego! If you’re living in the Northern part of SD, here are some of my favorite spots that I wanted to share. Please feel free to participate by commenting below at the end of this article. The readers in the LoSoCal family would love to hear about your favorite spots in the area as well.
The Echo Room at Midnight Jack, Oceanside
Photo courtesy of midnightjackbrewing.com
The Echo room is a brand new music venue located inside a brewery in the heart of Oceanside. As a collaboration between Craft Sounds and Midnight Jack Brewing, The Echo Room has been hosting a variety of local rock and hip hop artists including a recent performance by Oceansides’ own Deezy Hollow. Midnight Jack has really tasty beer and a wide selection on tap. The tasting room is excellent for events and hosts live music almost every weekend. This coming Friday they will be hosting Shoegaze Runs Deep with the Dirty Dragons and Noir Dalis. Check out this new venue- with only a three dollar cover at the door for this upcoming event, you can also enjoy this local spot if you’re on a tight budget. Even for a broke ass college student, that’s not a bad price! Be sure to stay in the loop about this spot since they’re always supporting community events. Midnight Jack will be hosting the Punk Rock Food drive in June, which is a fun event for a charitable cause.
The Pour House, Oceanside
Photo courtesy of pourhouseoceanside.com
Pour House is a great little bar in downtown Oceanside that serves a variety of food and beverages. You will instantly notice it due to the large, beautiful mural on the side of the building. I have been there several times and always enjoy the food. Even better than the food is the music! Not only do they offer a variety of different events like trivia on Mondays and open mic night every Wednesday, but they also provide live music with a variety of talented local bands from various genres every weekend. This is a fun and lively local hangout just blocks from the Oceanside beach. Don't miss this Friday the 30th when they will be having four different bands performing from 5:30 PM to Midnight! While you are there be sure to try their Dirty Chips or Short Rib Tacos. These are two of my faves. They are the bomb!
Coyote Bar & Grill, Carlsbad
Photo courtesy of coyotecarlsbad.com
I began visiting Coyote Bar years ago long before I was even 21 just for the food and music. Catering to a variety of age groups and tastes, the Coyote Bar is well known to North County locals as a chill spot to hear live music outside on their patio. It’s easy to find too, since it’s in the heart of Carlsbad Village right off the Interstate five freeway. Their outside dining area/dance floor has wonderful acoustics and you can hear the music from blocks away on the weekends.
Coyote’s tends to attract a slightly older crowd (less college kids) and it is an absolute blast. The dance floor is packed on weekends and the music is always top notch. At Coyote’s, I love how much the crowd gets into the music andc lets loose! Be sure to check this spot out if you want a more low key night than some of the other venues on this list. Coyote Bar will be having live music every night this week and with spring coming soon- it is worth a visit. This is an excellent spot for live music and outdoor dining!
Mr. Peabody’s, Encinitas
Photo courtesy of peabodysrocks.com
I first heard of Mr. Peabody’s because of their Sunday Night Jazz Jams. Led by master jazz musician Tony Ortega (who has performed with Elvis, Streisand, Sinatra, Maynard Ferguson, Lionel Hampton and more), Jazz Jams is a relaxing way to spend your Sunday evening, cocktail in hand.
On top of the awesome jazz nights they feature various local bands every weekend and have karaoke (Tuesdays) and open mic nights (Mondays). I can’t recommend this place enough, Mr. Peabody’s is one of my favorite venues in North County. I highly encourage everyone to give this place a chance and swing by if you haven’t been to this venue just yet. They make tasty mixed drinks, have an awesome selection of local beer and their menu has a variety of appetizer and entree options that don’t disappoint! I also like their three simple rules: “No Assholes, No Hookers, No Tweakers.” I’d say these are definitely rules to live by. Ha!
The Belly Up, Solana Beach
Photo courtesy of bellyup.com
No write up of live music venues in North County would be complete without talking about The Belly Up. If you haven't been, I highly recommend checking this venue out ASAP! I would venture to call this music house “the best known live music venue in North County.” The Belly Up is a very cool spot where you can catch both local bands and internationally known acts. The venue itself has good views of the stage from almost any seat in the house and the bar selections are incredible. They really take the time to offer some of the best local beers from SoCal and they have seasoned bartenders that know what they are doing. As a college student I have been to a lot of bars and The Belly Up is one of the best in North County.
This local venue is located in the middle of downtown Solana Beach, so there are lots of other bars and restaurants within easy walking distance. The music there is always good as they tend to have a higher standard for which bands they host. Unlike most of the venues featured in this article, the vibe of the Belly Up changes each night depending on who is performing. Fair warning, they are also strictly 21 and up and require tickets for each show. I promise the experience is worth the price, especially if the band is one of your favorites. Some of their cheaper tickets start around ten dollars a person, so don’t be shy. This venue draws local and international talent and the price is always right. They understand that an intimate, local venue needs to have affordable pricing so everyone and anyone can afford to see an awesome local show!
What is your favorite place to go listen to live music in North County?? Let me know! I am always looking for a strong drink and good food that I can enjoy while listening to live music!
Are you an artist in San Diego County? I would love to interview you for the monthly “featured artist” column on LoSoCal. Please contact the owner, Karen Vazquez at firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered.
Hi, I’m Chris Morrison. I do words good and am on a never ending quest to find the best West Coast IPA. I focus on writing about art and creativity in San Diego County. Send me suggestions for art shows, music venues, and other cool stuff! Check out my work and say hello at: morrisonmarketing.solutions
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Hello, my name is Karen Vazquez. I have lived in Southern California for over thirty years. I realized about four years ago that it was time for me to give back to this wonderful community by supporting local SoCal businesses, performers, restaurants, spas, boutiques, fitness studios, farmers markets and more. My support shines through here by highlighting these fabulous local SoCal spots. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, PInterest and LinkedIn. I will be featuring many local destinations in the area that have been my personal favorites for years and am currently recruiting guest bloggers to expand the voice of LoSoCal. I have had guest bloggers in the past, but aim to incorporate local SoCal bloggers on a regular basis as a fun, creative and collaborative way to connect with the community here. Essentially, LoSoCal is a community blog, and it is meant to be resource to locals in this area and visitors from around the world. Please like or follow LoSoCal on the social media business pages and tell your contacts about the blog. Thanks for stopping by...
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