Best Local Venues for Live Music in Indianapolis


Indianapolis has its fair share of large concert venues―ones that can seat upwards of 70,000 people at that―but the city also has all kinds of smaller, more intimate settings where you can enjoy your favorite bands. Here's a short, but diverse list of some hot spots where you can get up close and personal with some legendary acts as well as many local and regional, up-and-coming artists.

For anyone who wants to dance to the music
Unquestionably one of the more popular venues in the city, The Vogue Nightclub is a hot spot for anyone looking for a party-like atmosphere where they can dance along to the music being played on stage. The Vogue's repertoire includes many a famous artist like Johnny Cash, The Dave Matthews Band and Rihanna as well as some great local bands.

For the love of authentic Jazz
The Jazz Kitchen is a great restaurant and an even better jazz club. Showcasing a variety of performers from lesser-known newcomers to some of the greats like Harry Connick Jr. and Ray Brown, this super intimate venue has an impressive schedule year-round.

For the feel of a honkytonk
8 Second Saloon gives you the feel of being in Texas without actually having to go anywhere other than Indianapolis's eastside. If you go, wear your boots and be ready to partake in some serious line dancing―or, if you really want to cowboy up, give the mechanical bull a shot and see if you make it the full eight seconds. Of course, you can just sit back and relax and enjoy some of the hottest sounds playing on country radio.

For the real sound of the Blues
The Slippery Noodle Inn, originally founded in 1850, is one of Indiana's oldest bars―
heck, there are even tunnels below that once served as part of the Underground Railroad, not to mention bullets embedded in the walls from the Brady & Dillinger gang. With regional and national Blues bands playing seven nights a week, this is mainly a bottled beer-bar but does serve limited wine and hard alcohol.

For a real, old school bar feel
Birdy's Live considers itself "first and foremost a live music venue." With live music featured almost every night they're open, this lesser-known venue has a faithful following and has hosted legendary performers such as Prince and up-and-coming artists like 2006 American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry who performed at Birdy's in 2007, before becoming big enough to hit the stage at the 2013 Indianapolis 500! Check out their upcoming shows and advance ticket pricing online.

Shauna Nosler lives in Indianapolis. She's a contributor to both the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis Monthly Magazine as well as to the national news organization U.S. News & World Report. More of her writing can be found on the lifestyle blog, The Flavored Word. And for the record, she is, and has always been a huge Daughtry fan

More from this author:
7 place to work out in downtown Indianapolis
Best places to watch College Game Day in Indianapolis
5 fun-filled Oktoberfests in Indianapolis