The weather may be cold, but the tunes are hot at Buffalo’s rockin’ music venues.
Buffalo and Western New York are home to some great places to listen to music. It can be tough to motivate yourself to leave the house as we get closer to winter, but jamming out to a live band or dancing along to an entertaining DJ set is always a fun way to spend a cold night.
Here are some of the best places to listen to music in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
Where to Hear Live Music
Sportsmens Tavern – Located in the Black Rock section of North Buffalo, Sportsmens Tavern isn’t just one of the best places in Buffalo to listen to live music — it’s one of the best small venues in the entire country. Local and national touring acts alike love playing at Sportsmens for the fantastic atmosphere and cozy confines, along with the pure acoustics. The venue combines a neighborhood tavern with a musical stage that features over 40 live acts per month. You can even stop by on your lunch break most days to listen to a live band while you grab a sandwich, or come get a beer after work and unwind while watching the talented performers.
Revolution Gallery – Revolution Gallery isn’t your typical stuffy art space. There’s plenty of contemporary artwork on the walls, but the Hertel Ave. space also features an event space called the Lounge at Revolution Gallery, which hosts lively DJ parties and other musical acts. The shows attract a diverse group of patrons, and their new bar serves wine and beer for enjoying while listening to cutting-edge music. Whether you’re looking to dance or chill out with some laid-back tunes, you can find a show at Revolution that suits your needs.
Asbury Hall (Babeville) – Located in the heart of Buffalo’s Theater District, Asbury Hall is an open-floor hall with 45-foot-high ceilings, state-of-the-art sound, and balcony seating. This multi-use facility was purchased by singer-songwriter and Buffalo native Ani DiFranco in 1999. DiFranco renovated the former church and transformed it into a beautiful creative space where diverse people could come together and celebrate the arts. The Buffalo News once called the space “one of the most graceful and intimate concert venues in Buffalo.” In addition to the main hall, there’s also a lower-level bar with a capacity of 150 that’s ideal for smaller concerts and performances. In fact, on any given night, there could be multiple musical performances happening at once. The venue attracts a wide range of national, international and local acts, from string quartets and indie artists to rock bands and more. Check out their packed events calendar and make a point to attend one of their fantastic shows soon.
Hofbräuhaus Buffalo – Relatively new to the downtown music scene is Hofbräuhaus Buffalo, a German-style beer garden on Scott St. The pub hosts live music every night of the week, including German musical bands, accordion players and a special Country Music night on Mondays. The intimate space allows artists to interact with the crowd while visitors partake in traditional Bavarian cuisine and brews. We can’t think of a better way to warm up this winter than grabbing a bratwurst and raising your stein while jamming out to the fun sounds of German musical acts.
Mr. Goodbar – Open since 1968 on Elmwood Ave., Mr. Goodbar isn’t your ordinary watering hole. In recent years, the historic bar has become known for its live music, entertaining DJ sets and affordable drink specials. Patrons can dance and listen to music at the downstairs bar or head upstairs to The Attic, their new live music venue featuring a huge stage, a built-in sound room and a full-service bar. While small local bands are more common, the venue has also hosted concerts with national bands such as Rusted Root and Fastball. The Attic also hosts one of the top regional band showcases every Friday and Saturday night.
Niagara Falls / Clarence
The Rapids Theatre – This historic venue located on Main Street in Niagara Falls, NY is one of the best places to watch live music in Western New York. The theater first opened in 1921 as a luxury movie house called The Bellevue Theater. It eventually closed and went through several iterations before reopening in 2009 as The Rapids Theatre. The interior design of the theater has a vintage feel, featuring several art deco accents that call back to the original 1920s building. Popular national acts of all different musical genres have performed at The Rapids, including Stone Temple Pilots, The Shins, Eric Church, as well as a variety of local and Canadian musical artists. The theater has a capacity of up to 1,750 people standing for live concerts, which makes for an exciting time at a packed show. If you’ve been missing that larger concert feel, you should definitely attend a performance at the Rapids this winter.
Evening Star Concert Hall – Another Niagara Falls, NY music venue you’ll want to check out this winter is Evening Star Concert Hall. Located on Niagara Falls Blvd., the venue hosts a variety of tribute bands and experienced local musicians. Whether you want to dance or just chill out with a drink, visiting the Evening Star is always a fun experience. Visitors rave about the quality acoustics, tasty drinks and large space to accommodate a crowd.
Penny Lane Clarence – Looking to escape the city for a bit? You may be surprised to learn that there’s awesome live music at a little cafe out in Clarence. Take the drive out to Main Street to experience Penny Lane, an eccentric cafe and music venue with live music five nights a week. The cafe is run by artist Anne Valby, whose quirky cafe decor is always evolving to showcase her own art and that of others. Named after the famous Beatles song “Penny Lane,” the cafe hosts everything from karaoke and open mic nights to acoustic singer-songwriters and established local bands. Grab one of their tasty sandwiches and take in the scene as you listen to some of Buffalo’s gifted musical artists. You can find their events calendar on their website.
Buffalo’s Best DJ Spots
Want to dance the night away? These bars and restaurants consistently host DJs and dance parties: