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The volume of Rock and Roll’s heavier varieties, from punk to metal, has often relegated their live performance to dingy basements, back rooms, attics and garages. The venues on this list fall in that vein echoing the varying degrees of grunginess in the music played within their walls.

Over the past few years has traveled the country photographing the ins and outs of many American live music venues. Here are the top ten favorite featured rock venues from the featured venues list.

10. Bar XIII


Bar XIII in Wilmington, Delaware, hosts local bands and holds 200 rock fans on weekends.

9. The Sidebar

The Sidebar in downtown Baltimore, Maryland, is a low-ceiling, brick-walled underground dive bar with just enough room to sway and bump around.

8. Gabe’s Iowa City

Gabe’s in Iowa City, Iowa, brings local, regional and national talent to either its full upstairs venue or more intimate downstairs bar.

7. Kelly’s Olympian

Kelly’s Olympian in Portland, Oregon, is a landmark dive bar with an adjacent intimate venue.

6. Victory’s Live

Victory’s Live

Victory’s Live in downtown Columbus, Ohio, holds a vague mystique in an otherwise bleak nightmarish universe.

5. Rudz

Rudz is the upstairs venue over Rudyard’s British Pub in Houston, Texas. It has since undergone a facelift adding a green room and new stage.

4. The Winchester

At The Winchester Music Tavern in Lakewood, Ohio, the stage is nearly as large as the rest of the room. Proper tribute is paid to the likes of Johnny Cash, The Beastie Boys, and Prince on the walls.

3. RiffHouse Pub

RiffHouse Pub

RiffHouse Pub in Chesapeake, Virginia, has its own secret recipe for what makes a great live music venue. One ingredient is clearly lots of band stickers.

2. Globe Hall

The well-worn dance floor at Globe Hall in Denver, Colorado, tells the tales of a million dancing feet.

1. 924 Gilman

924 Gilman in Berkeley, California, is a punk rock DIY mecca venue and nonprofit community center.