Nightlife & Music

Best Places To Discover New Music In The Washington DC Area

January 3, 2013 8:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

If music is considered the heartbeat of the world, then the D.C. metro area is definitely pulsing with fast beats, wicked vocals and smooth sounds. Plenty of new artists start their musical journey to fame by performing at local bars and concert venues. If you’re tired of hearing the same old songs on the radio (“Gangnam Style” anyone?) then check out one of these best places to discover new music in the D.C. area. Who knows, you may discover that you actually like country/rock/pop music after all. 

The Hamilton LIVE
600 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 787-1000
www.thehamiltondc.com/live

For the best in nightly entertainment and superb dining, head over to the Hamilton in lively Penn Quarter. The venue features a full-scale restaurant, four dining rooms, three full-service bars and a sushi bar. Enjoy a variety of seasonal and regional American fare including grilled hanger steak, open-faced barbecue brisket sandwich and cinnamon bun bread pudding. Hamilton LIVE, located beneath the dining area of the venue, features a variety of flourishing local, national and internationally known artists and entertainers. Jive to the sounds of a wide variety of music including country, funk, soul and the blues. The venue is open every day (with the exception of Christmas) and is also well-known for its Sunday morning gospel brunch.

The Howard Theatre
620 T St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 803-2899
thehowardtheatre.com/

Recognized as one of the first influential theaters in the country, the Howard Theatre has experienced a long and storied history since its initial opening in 1910. Many of music’s greatest performers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Nat King Cole, have performed at the venue. In the 1980s, the once-prosperous musical venue was abandoned and sadly shut its doors for more than 30 years. Recently, the theater underwent major renovations to reclaim its title as D.C.’s most prestigious and premier musical destination. The Howard Theatre welcomes both well-known and up-and-coming musical artists and features everything from musical drag shows to punk rock. The venue also features a full-service restaurant and bar, state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, and on-site parking. Seating is determined on a first-come, first-served basis.

Related: Best Open Mic Venues In D.C.

The State Theatre
220 N. Washington St.
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 237-0300
www.thestatetheatre.com

Whether you prefer power ballads or edgy Latin rock, you will find all that and more at the State Theatre. Located in the heart of Falls Church, the venue features a lively rotation of new and familiar artists as well as cover bands, stand-up comedians and other performers. The State Theatre features state-of-the-art lighting and audio, theater-style seating, high-top tables and open areas in front of the stage as well as four full-service bars and full-scale dining. Please note that certain menu items and/or dining services may not be available for every show. The venue is also known to host local music festivals, anniversary tours and area awards shows including the annual Washington Area Music Association Wammies.

Jammin’ Java
227 Maple Ave. E
Vienna, VA 22180
(703) 255-1566
www.jamminjava.com

Jammin’ Java is the place to go to check out the latest and greatest in new local music. The music venue features live musical acts every night of the week as well as kid-friendly shows just about every day of the week. Jammin’ Java is also known to host a variety of well-known superstars, including Nick Jonas, Paramore and Bon Iver. Enjoy an adult beverage at the brand new Lobby Bar, or grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafe. The full-service restaurant features a variety of appetizers, salads, chili, sandwiches, gourmet hot dogs and desserts. Don’t forget to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee or hot tea before the night is through. Jammin’ Java also provides music lessons for aspiring musicians of all levels.

Related: Best Secret Bars in D.C.

Rams Head Tavern
33 West St.
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 268-4545
www.ramsheadtavern.com

For the best place to catch new music in Maryland, check out Rams Head Tavern where guests will enjoy a delicious meal and a laid-back atmosphere. Take advantage of daily food and drink specials, a full-service bar with musically inspired drinks like the Purple Rain martini or the Here Comes the Sun tequila beverage. The 21-and-up music venue hosts a variety of locally and nationally known artists including local favorite Maysa, Academy of Country Music Award recipient Jack Ingram, and Grammy nominee the Gin Blossoms. Rams Head Tavern also hosts a variety of other performing artists including stand-up comedians, burlesque troupes, tribute bands and compilation shows featuring a variety of locally known artists.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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