Looking for a good drink and some great music in Orange County? We put together a list of venues to check out to hear some live music and discover local bands.
843 W 19th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
The Wayfarer, which used to be The Detroit Bar, is a great local venue that is dedicated to local acts and touring giants. Once a punk music venue in the 80s, the place features a local band every Monday as part of a month-long residency. DJs, karaoke, and open mics fill in the gaps between concert nights, but if you are looking for a smaller venue with old-fashioned rock n’ roll, this is your place.
3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92626
The Observatory is a well-known music venue on Orange County. It has some of the best live acts around and even has a smaller site inside, which allows the owners sometimes to run two shows a night. However, the architectural design of the venue allows you to enjoy the band that you came to see without hearing the one in the space next door.
1652 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801
If you are into the hardcore, metal, and punk genres, Chain Reaction is the place for you. It’s an excellent smaller venue for those in need of some stage diving, jumping in a mosh pit, or hardcore dancing. There’s also free parking.
The Yost Theater
309 N. Spurgeon St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
You can find everything from burlesque shows to live bands to DJs and club nights at The Yost Theater. The venue is one of Orange County’s oldest with its construction concluding in 1912. It’s great for live music, events, and dancing.
Programme Skate & Sound
2495 E. Chapman Ave.
Programme Skate & Sound is actually a skateboard, record and clothing store that features some local punk and rock bands. You can catch some acts Thursdays through Sundays on select dates and times with no cover.
Stadium Brew Co.
26731 Aliso Creek Road, Suite C.
If you are into hearing live reggae and rock, then look no further than Stadium Brew Co. You can listen to local bands play at the brewpub on select Sundays between 4 PM and 8 PM with no cover and chill on the patio before a show.
House of Blues
1530 S Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
Everyone knows the name House of Blues and that you can listen to live music. The Anaheim chapter, located in Downtown Disney, is no different. The food, which was created by a celebrity chef, is delicious and the electric and acoustic performances are on point. Its location is also great for those living in the OC who don’t want to drive to Los Angles for the House of Blues experience.
820 W 19th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Check out some local music or listen to the DJ at this speakeasy-esque venue in Costa Mesa. Just be sure to look out for the neon sign with the arrow to point you in the right direction. Like other speakeasies, the location is hidden enough so that you would need to be actively searching for the bar in order to find it. However, if you love a small spot, drinking next to bookshelves with old books and wallpaper, and listening to music, then this is the place for you.
3950 Campus Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Campus JAX is a comfortable venue with some great food and live music. You get to hear from the local musicians in Newport and sit down for a bite to eat. They pride themselves in creating soulful dishes, which they call CaliforniCajun, with high-quality ingredients that are prepared in-house, are freshly made, locally sourced, and that use sustainable ingredients. At night, the Campus JAX transforms into a full service, sit down dinner and Supper Club, complete with a full bar, Happy Hour, small plates, specialty drinks, music, and dancing.
3503 S Harbor Blvd
Santa Ana, CA 92704
The Constellation Room lives up to its name with the amount of space is given at this location. It quite literally a room attached to the Observatory OC, but it’s pretty well ventilated. You can hear live music from local artists and not even leave the room to grab a drink at the full-service bar. The venue does also have an outdoor area to chill at under some pretty lights though.