Culture + Style

A Live Music Lover’s Guide to Cleveland

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn’t the only reason why the Cleveland music scene rocks. (Photo: Getty Images)

In the immortal words of Mott the Hoople front man Ian Hunter: Cleveland rocks. From noisy dive bars to sleek lounges, Cleveland has music venues to suit any mood. On any given night you can hear classical, country or polka, but rock bands, from indie to punk to classic, feature heavily on most line-ups. Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, after all.

Grog Shop

Local and touring bands both headline at the intimate, graffiti-covered Grog Shop, where punk and indie rockers typically top the bill. This Cleveland Heights institution maintains a full bar, plus an impressive list of microbrews. They don’t serve food, but you can choose from plenty of restaurants in the neighborhood. The details: 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd. Most tickets run in the $10-$20 range. Bring lots of quarters for parking on the street.

House of Blues

This national chain of mid-sized concert venues naturally opened an outpost in Cleveland’s Gateway District. Crowds pack in for big-name artists such as The Killers and Kendrick Lamar. Rock, hip-hop, blues and gospel claim the majority of concert dates. Crossroads, the house restaurant, serves a southern-inspired menu and a Sunday gospel brunch. The details: 308 Euclid Ave. Tickets sell in the $25–$50 range.

Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

Set in a landmark 1950s building with an old-school ballroom, Beachland draws an eclectic mix of alternative, rock and country artists, with the occasional tribute band thrown in for good measure. The tavern serves burgers, tacos and the like, with several vegetarian options. It’s also famous for its Rockin’ Sunday Brunch, with guest DJs providing the soundtrack. The details: 15711 Waterloo Rd. Most tickets stay in the $10-$20 range.

Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern

The granddaddy of Cleveland music venues, Euclid Tavern first opened its doors in 1908 and has been a key player in the local music scene since the 1970s. It went through ownership changes and temporary closures over the years, until the owners of Happy Dog, another local institution, took over in 2014. Music ranges from polka to country to rock. There’s a similar variety to the toppings menu for the namesake hot dogs (beef or vegan), with everything from chili to Froot Loops to black truffle honey mustard available. The details: 11625 Euclid Ave. Cover charge usually stays under $10.

The Brothers Lounge

This longstanding blues and jazz venue once hosted such greats as B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt before falling into disrepair and closing down. A new owner and major renovation in 2008 breathed new life into the historic space. You can chill out with a bottle of vino and some piano music in the wine bar, or take in a big band jazz or blues act in the concert hall. The pub serves small plates, burgers and salads. The details: 11609 Detroit Ave. No cover at the wine bar, and concert hall acts generally cost less than $10.