FAQ City: Where's All Of Charlotte's Live Music?

Sep 25, 2018

Charlotte has never been a Nashville or even an Atlanta when it comes to live music, but that's not to say a local scene doesn't exist here. It's just a little tougher to find, especially after a string of live music venues shut down in the last few years.

That has people like Kannapolis-resident Susan (mother of WFAE's Jessa O'Connor) wondering where we can still find live music, and if there's anything being done to help grow it.

Turns out that despite the closures of local venues like The Double Door Inn, Tremont Music Hall, The Chop Shop, Amos' Southend, and The Excelsior Club, live music is still alive and well in Charlotte, just moving to newer, nontraditional venues (like the slew of new breweries opening around town.)

Nick Karres stands where his venue, the Double Door Inn, once stood.
Credit Cole del Charco / WFAE

On this episode of FAQ City, we'll talk with the former owner of The Double Door, Nick Karres, about the tough decision he made to close up shop and hear from Sarah Brigham, owner of Sycamore Brewing, about her business' support of local bands. Plus, we'll catch up with Rick Thurmond of Charlotte Center City Partners, who's helping launch a citywide initiative to grow our live music scene, called Music Everywhere CLT.

Special thanks to two local bands briefly featured in this episode, The Settlement and Tin-4. Check out more of their music at each of their linked Facebook pages.

Charlotte band Tin 4 playing at Sycamore Brewing in South End.
Credit Cole del Charco / WFAE

And, check out Center City Partners' new website www.musiceverywhereclt.com for daily listings of live music performances around the city. And here's the link to the survey to help them learn more about Charlotte music.

Update Sept. 28, 2018

Okay, so a number of y'all have (perhaps rightly) pointed out there are several live music joints around town regularly producing quality shows that got no love from this story. We get it. Hell hath no fury like a Charlotte music-fan scorned.

So if you've not yet been initiatiated, the following is a list of places to check out for reliably good live music acts. Looking for something wild and off the wall? Snug Harbor's your girl. Something a little more intimate? Check out Petra's. The music scene in Charlotte is far and wide, with amazing acts to check out nearly every night.

Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments and we'll *consider* adding it to the list.

  • The Milestone Club - Bare-bones and compact but venerable music venue with rock/punk/underground shows and a full bar.
  • Petra's Piano Bar and Cabaret - Intimate and comfortable venue for live music and other performances with a built in art gallery and a patio, plus signature martinis.
  • Snug Harbor - Hip music venue, dressed up with a nautical feel, hosting local and regional rock acts plus DJ nights.
  • The Comet Grill - Hosting bands nightly, this laid back watering hole serves burgers, sandwiches, salads, and wings.
  • Hattie's Tap & Tavern - Dog friendly dive sports bar located between the neighborhoods of Plaza Midwood and NoDa, with craft brews on tap.
  • Skylark Social Club - Recently opened rock 'n roll dive bar in the heart of Plaza Midwood, featuring billards and darts, and run by local music nerds.
  • The Evening Muse - Intimate venue in NoDa hosting open mic nights and touring bands of various genres, from country to ska, in a smoke-free room.
  • Tommy's Pub - Friendly dive bar serving up cheap drinks and Charlotte's best up-and-coming musical artists. Recently relocated to Eastway Drive.
  • Visulite Theatre - Big-name talent headlines shows at this cozy, hopping concert venue with a full bar.
  • Smokey Joe's Cafe - Rustic drinks-only haunt featuring live music, big TVs, and pool tables in relaxed, kitsch-filled digs.
  • Avid Xchange Music Factory - Not so much one music venue as it is several - including The Fillmore, The Underground, and The Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre - all typically hosting national touring acts in north Charlotte.

Also, if you're interested in learning more about Charlotte's local musicians, you have to check out our sister podcast, Amplifier, where host Joni Deutsch interviews dozens of local musicians from across the musical spectrum in Charlotte.

Do you have a question about the people, places, or culture of Charlotte? Let us know! Submit your question in the box below and we may search for an answer on an upcoming episode!

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Some music in this episode is provided by The Inventors.