Other parts of Los Angeles may be glitzier, more well-known, and more tourist-trodden, but Santa Monica is a local’s favorite. And away from the mega-stadiums, it’s also one of the best spots in the city to enjoy live music. Whether you’re looking to rock, swing or sway on your next vacation in Santa Monica, these joints are the perfect places to hear music in Santa Monica.
This Santa Monica club has been a destination for blues and jazz lovers since 1931, when it opened during the Great Depression. If you’re looking for a great show while you’re visiting the city in November, try catching a “House of Vibes Allstars” show on a Wednesday night. In the past, it’s featured special guests like Darius Rucker and Tony Tarasco. Harvelle’s: 1432 4th. St.; 310-395-1676
Just off of Main Street—tucked in a former wine cellar behind an American Apparel—lies The Basement Tavern, a hot spot for cheap happy hour, and live heavy rock and reggae. The club is pretty relaxed in early hours, with couples and small groups of friends idling on loveseats, but when the music starts at 10PM, the bar fills up and the energy turns a little edgier. Basement Tavern: 2640 Main St; 310-396-2469
Specializing in acoustic and folk instruments since 1958, this little guitar shop has been rated one of the 32 greatest things about Los Angeles by the L.A. Observer. Intimate concerts are held in the shop’s backroom, and legendary artists like Tracy Chapman, Allen Ginsberg, Beck and Jackson Brown have graced its stage. McCabe’s Guitar Shop: 3101 Pico Blvd.; 310-828-4497
The Craftsman Bar & Kitchen
A great neighborhood bar just a block away from the beach, The Craftsman Bar & Kitchen boasts a daily happy hour, and regular live music. Their “Sunday Fundays” features build your own bloody marys, $8 shots, and reggae and surf rock to set the mood. The Craftsman Bar & Kitchen: 119 Broadway, 310-573-8426