Sometimes it's nice to enjoy live music without having to sit in a large concert hall or arena. Thankfully, there are a few smaller venues where you can listen to local and better-known bands in the Bradenton and Sarasota area. Here's a look.
What pairs together better than music and craft beer? At Motorworks Brewing, you can sip a pint of Rollcage Red, Indy IPA or Midnight Espresso as you listen to local bands on stage. The brewpub offers live music Wednesday – Saturday, with artist genres ranging from dub to rock. There's never any cover charge, and shows generally last from about 6–10 p.m. During good weather, they take place in the beer garden, and when it rains or gets too cold, they move inside.
If you love outdoor shows, then you need to head to Main Street between Manatee and 3rd Avenue. The street closes down to traffic for these shows, which typically start around 6 p.m. and last until 10 p.m. Bars found along the closed section of Main Street serve food and beer throughout the shows, and there's no charge for admission.
Ace's Live Music brings musicians to stage almost every night. On Mondays they have open jam sessions, and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they host smaller bands with no cover charge. Bigger names are often scheduled for the weekends, and tickets can be purchased for a small fee. You'll discover a lot of blues, rock, country and jazz bands here. The quiet, more intimate atmosphere makes every show feel like a special experience—though there is a dance floor for those upbeat hits!
The 5 O'clock Club was voted "Best Place to Hear Local Bands" by Sarasota Magazine in 2016. They dabble in an array of genres including blues, pop, R&B, rock and ska. Shows are held most every night of the week and are announced on the venue's website. There's no fee for admission, and they offer great drink specials during Happy Hour between 6 and 8 p.m. on Friday.
Blue Rooster 1525 Fourth St 9.9 miles from Springs at Bee Ridge
Blue Rooster's claim to fame is their comfort food and "feel-good" music. They almost always have a live blues or soul musician on stage. Tickets are generally sold at the door for $5 or $10 per person. You'll discover a good mix of up-and-coming local bands as well as bigger names like Souliz with Sugar & Spice. While you listen, you can dine on classic Southern snacks like gumbo, deviled eggs and cajun shrimp.
Where do you like to see live music in Bradenton and Sarasota? Share your favorite spaces in the comments section below.