Music Notes: 5 Best Intimate Venues

Written by Jason P. Woodbury Category: Arts Issue: May 2018
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5 Best Intimate Music Venues + Drink Pairings!

photo by Angelina AragonA night out at Comerica Theatre or Gila River Arena is fun, but nothing compares to getting so close to the stage you can see the sweat. Luckily, Phoenix boasts some of the coolest small venues (under 2,000 capacity) in the Southwest. Here, our picks for five of the best – and what to sip while you’re swaying.

Crescent Ballroom
With its patio and rooftop deck, Crescent is as nice a place to chill as it is to see bands and comedy.
What to drink: The venue’s signature     Lucha Lager, brewed by Bear Republic Brewing Co. Pair it with a burrito.
Upcoming Shows: Kimbra plays on May 25 and grunge godfathers the Melvins hit Downtown on May 31.
308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix
crescentphx.com

Yucca Tap Room
Located in a seedy strip mall next to a head shop, the Yucca hosts punk and hip-hop shows. There’s never a cover and the vibe is vintage Tempe.
What to drink: Hard to beat an ironic PBR.
Upcoming Shows: Check out metal group Destroyer of Light on May 2 and folkies Urban Pioneers on May 15.
29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe
yuccatap.com

Rhythm Room
A classic juke joint, the RR has hosted roots, blues and country shows since 1991.
What to drink: Evoke the blues of John Lee Hooker with one bourbon, one scotch and one beer.
Upcoming Shows: Proprietor Bob Corritore hosts his annual tribute to blues legend Chico Chism on May 18.   
1019 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
rhythmroom.com

The Van Buren
Downtown’s newest theater resides on the larger (max. capacity: 1,800) end of the small venue spectrum but is beautifully appointed with desert-centric murals.
What to drink: Nothing fussy: a Tecate.
Upcoming Shows: New Order bassist Peter Hook comes to town on May 17; One More Time: A Tribute to Daft Punk brings the dance beats on May 25.
401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix
thevanburenphx.com

Lost Leaf  
This Downtown bar has a house party feel, and hosts experimental funk, jazz, rock and hip-hop without ever charging a cover.
Upcoming Shows: Check out the monthly hip-hop/spoken-word showcase Hip-Hop in the Valley.
What to drink: The mood at Lost Leaf is experimental, so pick up a can of Lagunitas Brewing Co.’s 12th of Never – a funky, crisp IPA.
914 N. Fifth St., Phoenix
thelostleaf.org