Whatever type of music you like, there’s a venue in town where you can hear it live. We’ve only scratched the surface with these five spots, so be sure to keep your ears open for more.
A gorgeous renovation brought this 110-year-old Hannaford-designed building back to life in 2016 by expanding the stage, shrinking capacity while enlarging the seats, and adding air-conditioning and additional restrooms. It’s now one of Cincinnati’s best concert halls, showcasing big names in folk, jazz, blues, and rock. Upcoming headliners include Joan Osborne, Pat Metheny, and Keb’ Mo’.
1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 977-8838
There are few better outdoor experiences than lounging on the Riverbend lawn on a beautiful night, drink in hand, singing along to a favorite song—especially if you’re hanging out with old friends and one of your summer staples, like Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews, or the Cincinnati Pops. The 4,100-seat PNC Pavilion is a cozier experience with up-and-coming or niche acts.
6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Twp., (513) 232-6220
Southgate House Revival
Morrella Raleigh and her father Ross ran the legendary Southgate House for years before losing the venue in a legal dispute, moving their spirit of musical adventure and exploration a few blocks south to, appropriately, a former church. Like the original, the Revival’s multiple rooms host national touring bands, local musician “artist in residence” shows, and even karaoke.
111 E. Sixth St., Newport, (859) 431-2201
Slip into an overstuffed chair near the fireplace in this sophisticated mahogany-and-leather–appointed room while sipping a cocktail and enjoying a jazz trio, and you’ll feel instantly transported to Manhattan or Michigan Avenue. The area’s best jazz musicians, including pianists Steve Schmidt and Mike Darrah, hold court three nights a week.
125 W. Fourth St., downtown, (513) 621-3473
Opened in 1969 as Cincinnati’s first rock club, the former Clifton auto repair shop hosted the Allman Brothers, Santana, and other big names in a brief run. Reborn as a restaurant and concert venue four years ago, new owners will debut the renovated music room this month with shows by Macy Gray, Dweezil Zappa, and Spyro Gyra.
342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, (513) 221-4111