The way you listen to live music reveals a lot about your personality. If you’re loud and rowdy, you’d probably prefer not to be cooped up at a cabaret table. On the other hand, a raucous mosh pit likely sounds awful to someone who prefers to slowly sip cocktails. Luckily, venues for Sacramento concerts cater to music lovers of all stripes, with low-key houses sitting down the street from lovable dives loaded with cheap whiskey and PBR. Take a look at our handy list to figure out which one’s right for you.
For aging rockers who want to raise little rockers: Ace of SpadesLocated in the R Street District, Ace of Spades is an all-ages venue that, in addition to its four bars and bottle service, includes a fresh juice bar that’s ideal for kids. Previous acts include rock and indie groups like Echo and the Bunnymen, Misfits, and Twenty One Pilots, but hip-hop stars like Machine Gun Kelly are also frequent visitors.
For those who want to say they “knew them when”: Old Ironsides
Low-lit, loud, and divey in the best possible way, Old Ironsides touts itself as Sacramento’s oldest watering hole. Intimate by design, the venue hosts rowdy up-and-coming acts that routinely whip the crowd into a frenzy. With most shows clocking in at just $5 or less, this is probably your cheapest bet for finding your new favorite band.
For those who like to pretend Prohibition never ended: Shady Lady Saloon
Crimson wallpaper, exposed brick, and suspendered bartenders lend the Shady Lady a vintage vibe, as does the swingin’ brass of their live acts. Jazz and blues are the house staple, and you can enjoy them comfortably on the patio, a housemade cocktail in hand.
For those who believe Urban Cowboy isn’t just a movie but a lifestyle: Goldfield Trading PostCountry music is the name of the game at Goldfield, a relatively new addition to Sacramento’s music scene. Twangy, deep-fried licks ping off the Western-themed venue’s stuffed buffalo and deer heads, which reside alongside reproduced ads from Sacramento’s bygone boozing establishments.
For those who savor spectacle: Harlow’sAn acoustically mastered concert hall fitted with state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology ensures every show at Harlow’s is a treat for the ears and eyes alike. Crowd the stage on the spacious floor, or cozy up in the venue’s custom-made raised booths—complete with bottle service. Recent acts include indie bands like Soul Asylum, Built to Spill, and The Ting Tings.