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Must-Visit Music Venues

(The Triangle Trend) For music fanatics and creators alike, The Triangle is a haven. With iconic venues and nationally-recognized record labels like Merge, the music scene rivals those in bigger cities without losing that small-town intimacy. Of course, along with everything else, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely upset the live music industry. Unable to host concerts, independent venues are suffering and many are at risk of closing permanently. The National Independent Venue Association has helped push the Save Our Stages Act and Restart Act, legislation that will keep small venues afloat as the pandemic wears on. To show your support, head to saveourstages.com and email your legislators. In the meantime, here’s a list of some of the best music venues The Triangle has to offer to scratch that concert-going itch.

Kings

4 W Martin St, Raleigh, NC 27601

There’s a bar, a stage, and plenty of seating. What more could you ask for? This funky, intimate space showcases everything from musicians to comedians, game shows, and dance parties. The venue is situated above Neptunes, a cool bar with craft cocktails and locally-sourced ingredients, and, below that, Garland, one of the best restaurants in the area.

To support Kings, you can purchase a gift card for future use.

The Lincoln Theatre

126 E Cabarrus St, Raleigh, NC 27601

The Lincoln Theatre opened originally in 1945 as a movie theatre. In 1975, it was reinvented as a live performance venue. Today, its convenient location in downtown Raleigh, well-priced drinks, and excellent sound quality make it a favorite spot to catch everything from local bands to big-name musicians.

The Pour House Music Hall & Record Shop

224 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601

With a vinyl shop upstairs (that also offers record release parties, a bar, and more), The Pour House has everything you need to make your musical experience complete. Since 1997, the venue has made a point to offer a mix of local and nationally touring bands. Not only does it bring the best bands around but the best beer, too. True to its name, The Pour House features a monthly rotation of the 30 of the best beers North Carolina has to offer.

Currently, the record shop is open for business.

Cat’s Cradle

300 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

Since 1969, Cat’s Cradle has been a coveted stop for touring musicians and has been featured in big-name publications such as Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. In a true testament to love for the venue, some of the biggest names in music have collaborated on “Cover Charge: NC Artists Go Under Cover to Benefit Cat’s Cradle”, a 25-song compilation album featuring covers by notable acts such as Iron & Wine and Superchunk. The album brings together musicians as integral to North Carolina’s music scene as the venue itself.

You can purchase “Cover Charge” at covercharge.bandcamp.com

The Cave

452 ½ W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

No one forgets their first descent into The Cave. Located, literally, in an underground cave/basement, this venue is unlike any other. As Chapel Hill’s oldest bar and music venue, it’s a must-visit. When open, they host musicians almost every night — often without a cover charge, though tips are appreciated. It’s loud, dark, and has a great (reasonably priced) full bar.

Local 506

506 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Local 506 is an all-ages rock venue that focuses on local bands and up-and-coming musicians. A full bar up front and separate back room for performances make it easy to take a break during the show to chat with friends and bartenders alike. Since Local 506 serves only liquor and not food, a $2 membership is required for entry. Once purchased, membership is good for life and members over the age of 21 are allowed to bring a guest.

Motorco Music Hall

723 Rigsbee Ave, Durham, NC 27701

The best way to spend a night out at Motorco is to grab dinner at Parts & Labor first before making the 30-foot walk to the music venue. After the show’s over, grab a drink and take advantage of the plentiful outdoor seating. Though Motorco is best known for hosting indie-rock musicians, the venue also features stand-up comedians, trivia nights, and even slam poetry events.

Parts & Labor is currently open for take-out and socially distanced patio dining.

The Pinhook

117 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701

The Pinhook is a small, divey (in the best way possible) spot known for its iconic karaoke nights and drag shows. Musical acts both big and small have stopped at The Pinhook, offering audiences an intimate performance. The Pinhook is also a vocal, safe place for underrepresented queer and BIPOC communities. During its recess in the midst of COVID-19, The Pinhook has worked to amplify marginalized voices through virtual events on their website.

To support the Pinhook, consider donating to their Patreon.

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