Are you a traveler looking for that perfect “locals only” music venue, tucked away in a back alley?  Do you seek out hidden locales brimming with inspiration from new and original music? You’re in luck; we’ve traveled far and wide to find these hidden gems for you!  As both travel writers and full time musicians, we tend to go for smaller, more intimate spaces with lots of character. Not only do we get to interact with artists, but we get a unique experience in a place that feels different than the rest; and we love being left with a story to tell our friends.  Below is a list of the quirkiest, most inspiring places we’ve seen in our travels!

1. Pete’s Candy Store

40.7181° N, 73.9502° W

 

Screenshot 2018-11-20 at 5.00.22 PM.png
Via banjonikaru.com

Pete’s Candy Store is a special gem in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  The sign hanging above the entrance seems to have hung there for 50 years.  The dark wooden interior smells of history and stories untold. The dimly lit bar and peeling wallpaper enhance the true vintage vibe.  A trek through the tiny hallway leads to the real surprise; the venue is in the back. You would never even know it existed. In what I can only describe to be the size of a train car, a deep burgundy retro-arched stage stands only one foot higher than the rest of the floor.  Walls lined with seats, you’re lucky to fit 30 people into this 8ft x 20ft room. Large acts are known to pass through unannounced, and one thing is for sure: when the music starts, you can hear a pin drop. Respect for the artist is the name of the game at Pete’s Candy Store.  The audience cares about raw emotion; they long for inspiration.

709 Lorimer St

Brooklyn, NY 11211

(718) 302-3770

petescandystore.com

 

2. Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern

34.2122° N, 77.8919° W

Photo by @chaucesauce

Reggie’s 42nd St Tavern in Wilmington, NC,  can be intimidating to a newcomer. The sign out front proudly displays the words, “Banana Creamery” alongside an image of a risqué ice cream sundae.  On the window below, is an even more confusing sign advertising a record store/hair salon. Suffice to say, one could easily miss the venue. Reggie’s has an ultra “locals only” air  and you can expect to see lots of faded black leather adorned with studs and sewn-on patches. The patrons are crawling with tattoos and decades-old gauges hang from their sagging earlobes.  What is left of the punk scene of Eastern, NC is still alive in this small, dark bar, smelling of stale beer and wet cigarettes. Herein lies the beauty of nostalgia.

 

Screenshot 2018-11-20 at 5.06.26 PM.png

Upon entry, the door man stamps you with a glob of wet ink and points you towards the bar where the bartenders aren’t going to make you anything fancy.  The unspoken special is always, “The Economist,” consisting of a Miller High Life, a shot of well whiskey, and one Pall Mall Red cigarette. We have great respect for the Reggie’s Taverns of the world. “Why,” you ask? These places have weathered every storm, outlasted every fad, and remain true to their punk/hardcore roots.  If you’re interested in a raw explosion of the underground metal, hardcore, punk, and rock scene of Eastern NC, this is the place to go.

1415 S 42nd St

Wilmington, NC 28403

(910) 799-6465

 

 

3. Eddie’s Attic

33.7740° N, 84.2963° W

Photos by @avlamle

Eddie’s Attic, in Decatur, GA has a wonderfully intimate atmosphere with a listening room vibe, where listeners enjoy local and touring musicians to the flickering of candlelight.  This is a place where musicians don’t have to worry about people talking or screaming “free bird” during their performance. Our favorite perk of Eddie’s Attic is their Monday Night open mic, where at least 20 musicians participate, full of energy and ready to compete with each other. Whoever wins the night earns a cash prize as well as a second gig opening for a larger act. If you’re trying to discover touring musicians, this is a great way to do it. At Eddie’s Attic you can meet up to twenty traveling musicians in one night. Listeners feel like they are witnessing a truly unique and personalized performance, while performers walk away feeling heard and respected.

515 N McDonough St

Decatur, GA 30030

(404) 377-4976

eddiesattic.com

 

 

4. Awendaw Green

32.9291° N, 79.7129° W

img_1074
Photos by @triskelcreative

Awendaw Green, nestled just north of Charleston, SC is a snapshot of what comes to mind when we imagine the magic of the Palmetto south.  Awendaw Green is not simply a music venue, it is a way of life. A plot of land which houses venue volunteers and farm animals, the property includes several buildings, a barn with a stage attached, and tour buses that no longer travel but still house the occasional wanderer.  Awendaw Green is one of those diamonds in the rough with a built-in crowd; a cult following. Disciples show up in the hundreds every Wednesday night, rain or shine, to see the traveling acts brought in by the owner and booking agent. Affixed to the twisted branches of live oaks are brass instruments that twinkle in the night sky; these decorations come courtesy of the locals.  Cold night? No problem. Awendaw Green has burn barrels to keep guests warm…and to encourage everyone to get close and make new friends. They even have a mud pizza oven on the property, and are constantly cranking out freshly made pies. This is a venue where a built in crowd will dance all night long, so get ready to party!

Screenshot 2018-11-20 at 5.13.25 PM.png

 

4853 N Hwy 17

Awendaw, SC 29429

(843) 452-1642

5. The Cave

35.9107° N, 79.0625° W

Screenshot 2018-11-20 at 5.17.10 PM.pngvia indieonthemove.com
Photo by @deadlylofi

The Cave, in Chapel Hill, NC, lies down a narrow staircase at the edge of Franklin St.  This basement venue was decorated with concrete and chicken wire, over 50 years ago, to look like — you guessed it — a cave.  The roof is only 7.5 feet tall and can be problematic for the tall. Make sure you duck when you enter or you’ll bash your head on the door frame.  PBR and Fireball are their specialties and, like many of our favorite venues, this place caters to touring bands who are simply trying to get from one city to the next.  A small building, the Cave feels packed with only twenty people, so the good times roll in fast, and with Chapel Hill’s budding Indie scene, you’re sure to hear something fresh and original.  This is the type of venue you’ll talk to your friends about. It feels like a dream or a movie, but it’s real and it’s one of North Carolina’s longest standing institutions. Even if you only pop in for one shot of Fireball, The Cave is a staple of the Tar Heel city.

 

452 W Franklin St

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

(984) 234-0293

 

IMG_4828

About Rebekah Todd.

She travel the world playing music. You can check out her website to find tips on how and where she has been with a few tales of adventure sprinkled in. Check out her instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for her music and travel stories.