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True Violet performing live at Rusty's Surf Ranch in Santa Monica
True Violet performing live at Rusty's Surf Ranch in Santa Monica | © Justin Higuchi / Flickr
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The Best Live Music Venues in Santa Monica

Picture of Dominic Bertolami
Freelance writer
Updated: 25 April 2018
Santa Monica is home to a vibrant music scene. From local bands to spoken word burlesque acts, this beachside community knows how to put on a show.

Whether at an intimate gig in a small room or a large show at a lively pub, these top live music spots found in Santa Monica guarantee a night out to remember.

TRiP Santa Monica

Bar, American, none
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Located on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica, the red-and-black retro architecture and music-inspired art decorating the exterior makes this bar stand out from the crowd. Dedicated to featuring quality sounding music in an intimate setting, TRiP Santa Monica boasts a state-of-the-art sound system and live music acts seven nights a week. This venue, which showcases both local acts and touring bands, is known in the community as the top place for live music in L.A.’s Westside. Enjoy listening with friends or take to the stage and sign up for the open mic on Saturdays. Offering a full liquor bar, 16 beers on tap, and moderately priced bites, check out TRiP for a live music fix.
More Info
Sun - Mon:
12:00 pm - 1:30 am
Mon - Tue:
12:00 pm - 1:30 am
Tue - Wed:
12:00 pm - 1:30 am
Wed - Thu:
12:00 pm - 1:30 am
Thu - Fri:
12:00 pm - 1:30 am
Fri - Sat:
12:00 pm - 1:30 am
Sat - Sun:
12:00 pm - 1:30 am

Meal service:

All Day

Harvelle’s

Bar, American, none
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Established in 1931, Harvelle’s is the Westside’s longest-running music venue. This dimly lit room has an elevated stage with full-range audio and a dynamic mixing board. It hosts local, national and international acts, so catch a local sound or listen to something a bit more exotic. Grab a drink at the full liquor bar and head to the dance floor or sit in one of its many candlelit booths for a more discreet setting. Make sure to arrive early on Sundays for “The Toledo Show.” Not to be missed, this sultry mix of poetry, jazz and burlesque has never failed to seduce an audience.
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Basement Tavern

Bar, American, $$$
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Underneath Santa Monica’s restaurant and event space The Victorian, the Basement Tavern—an underground music venue and nightclub—hosts local acts in a dark but lively atmosphere. Join in on the fun during live band karaoke on Wednesdays from 9:00 p.m. until close, or enjoy the late-night happy hour and live music showcases on Sunday nights. There is always something going on at this unique and historical destination, whether listening to funk, jazz, soul or reggae music.
More Info
Sun - Mon:
5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Mon - Tue:
5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Tue - Wed:
5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Wed - Thu:
5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Thu - Fri:
5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Fri - Sat:
5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Sat - Sun:
5:00 pm - 2:00 am

Meal service:

All Day

Rusty’s Surf Ranch

Bar, American, $$$
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This buzzing location is both a live music destination and surf-themed bar. Located on the Santa Monica Pier, locals and visitors can enjoy themed music nights, including live acts and partner-oriented dance parties. In addition to offering fresh seafood, bar bites, and musical talents and tribute performers on the weekends, this watering hole also promises ocean views. After an adrenaline rush on the Pier’s amusement rides, duck into this seaside setting and dance the night away. Please note that Rusty’s Surf Ranch is currently undergoing renovations and plans on reopening in spring 2018.
More Info
Sun:
11:30 am - 12:00 am
Mon:
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Tue:
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Wed:
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Thu:
11:30 am - 10:00 pm
Fri:
11:30 am - 12:00 am
Sat:
11:30 am - 12:00 am

Meal service:

All Day