Las Vegas Blog
Generally, when visitors think of live music in Las Vegas, they think of one guy: Elvis, of course.
Well, let's face it, Elvis left the building a long time ago, and he's been replaced with a whole new generation - and another generation, and probably another - of Las Vegas headliners to carry on the legacy.
However, what it you're 25 or younger and (get ready to gasp aggressively) not that into seeing Celine Dion at The Colosseum for $75? (Gasp!) Well, you might not believe it, but, there are a whole mess of music venues off the Strip in Vegas that are cheaper, smaller, grimier and completely different than what you imagined a concert in Vegas to be. And for the record, we mean all of these things in the most positive way possible.
If you're headed to Sin City and in serious need of some live music, here are five Las Vegas music venues off the Strip that do NOT fit the bill of traditional Vegas headliner venues. Now, in no particular order ...
Located on Paradise Road, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is the perfect compliment to this Las Vegas party hotel. Known to attract some of the best metal bands from this or any decade (Motley Crue recently wrapped up a mini-residency here), as well as indie up-and-comers, old favorites and comeback bands of all genres, The Joint has one of the most diverse line-ups of any music venue in Las Vegas. The interior is impressive as well, and is much bigger than you'd expect from the outside. They also offer a decent amount of balcony/VIP seating if that's your thing, though we always prefer the floor level for rock shows.
While not as cheap as the Vegas music venues below, The Joint definitely hosts some the more high-profile acts in town and they routinely offer room and show packages that can save you a buck or two on the bottom line. (Check out their upcoming event schedule, as well as their Vegas room and show packages.)
2.) Freakin' Frog near UNLV
And now for something completely different, we present to you Freakin' Frog. A hallowed institution close to UNLV, Freakin' Frog is known predominantly for their infamous Whiskey Attic, impressive (i.e. Award Winning) beer selection and - of course - live music. While very much off the beaten path in Las Vegas, the Freakin' Frog is worth the road trip.
Freakin' Frog won't attract any artists you've heard of, but they won't charge you a cover, either. Expect funky local bands on their small stage, though weeknights include an open mic (hit and miss, obviously) and a jazz night, as well. If you want great beverages and good music, this is your place. And if you don't, well, we're not sure we want to be friends with you ...
3.) Double Down Saloon off Paradise Rd.
Speaking of beer and music, the Double Down Saloon is carved from that classic dive bar mold exclusive to those Las Vegas nightlife spots on the outskirts of Las Vegas Blvd. Like Freakin' Frog, the Double Down Saloon NEVER charges a cover (they make this abundantly clear on their website) and there's live music to be enjoyed most nights of the week - weekends, especially. You'll see mostly rock, alternative and punk bands at the Double Down Las Vegas - basically, if you come here expecting loud noises, you won't be disappointed.
The Double Down Saloon also has their own signature drinks famous to the area, notably their much ballyhooed A$$ Juice and the original (so they say - we're inclined to believe them) Bacon Martini. And in case you thought they had it all, the Double Down in Vegas also has gaming on-site, and you can become a preferred member right here. Tell them EV sent you - they'll know what you mean. (They won't, but try it anyways.)
Located just down the road from the Double Down (both of which, we should mention, are about a block from The Joint) is Hofbrauhaus, a famous German-themed pub and music venue off the Strip in Vegas. This place has quite the following, and is famous for being one of the loudest music venues in Vegas. The house band for the summer - Die Enzianer - is a legitimately German cover band that plays traditional German tunes plus classic rock standards from the good ole' U.S. of A.
As for the beer, they serve namesake imports only (delivered from their homeland in Munich) and always feature delicious seasonal brews you really won't find anywhere else in Las Vegas. This place is one-of-a-kind for the music and beer, alike. Definitely worth checking out if you're a connoisseur of suds - not so much if you're a Bud Light only kind of person.
5.) McMullan's Irish Pub on W. Tropicana Ave.
Finally, we have McMullan's. This place reeks of Guinness, is sort of (always) dark, and proudly displays their Irish roots throughout this friendly establishment off the Strip via flags, football and the like. There's a lot to love about McMullan's Las Vegas, first and foremost is - OK, it's the beer.
But SECOND, definitely, is the music. Like Hofbrauhaus, they stick to their traditional guns. Though, let's face it, Irish music is a bit more, well, lively than German music. (Come on people - the Irish produced U2 and The Cranberries; Germany, meanwhile, thinks David Hasslehoff is a talented musician. These are facts.) Weekend music at McMullan's usually starts at 10pm on Fridays, and a couple of hours earlier Saturday and Sunday. Sundays in particular are our favorite, when "McSessions" bring together local everyday musicians from around Vegas for a thrown-together jam session just like the old days.