When you’re in the mood for music close to home, here are five cool places to hang out and have fun.
“Bergamot Alley is a charming, odd-duck of a space, with 17-foot high ceilings and a long narrow railroad-style footprint with antique-focused décor and vintage accents,” shares co-owner Sarah Johnson. “The daily music comes from a collection of records, which guests enjoy sifting through. There is a general feeling of nostalgia with all of these past-era objects, which we think allows folks to sit back and relax as if they were in their living room. The result is a place where the locals come to gather, and the feeling of belonging, of community, is the norm.”
Music happens mostly on weekend nights and Tuesday evenings. Concerts feature funk to bluegrass, and a bit of Americana in the middle. “The front of the house is cleared for a dance floor and the room gets packed,” she said. Weekends are reserved for bigger concerts, except in summer, when they host Tuesday “After-The-Park” concerts for 12 straight weeks.
$5/Tuesday summer concerts; $5-$10/weekend shows. “The shows are well worth the price, and the bands are all top-notch,” Johnson said. Select from varietally focused wine, craft beer, sake and bubbles. The kitchen is open until midnight, serving grilled cheese and more. 328A Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. bergamotalley.com
Rio Nido Roadhouse
“We have live music every Saturday, which is reminiscent of the Big Band Days back when musicians like Glen Henry, Carol Lofner and the Grateful Dead use to play on the same property that is now the Roadhouse,” said Rio Nio Roadhouse general manager Raena Jones. “We try to keep the Big Band-feel and stay family-friendly.”
Customers have described The Roadhouse as “our little back-woods Hamptons,” she said. “Our food is great and home-style specials are made daily. It’s a place to bring the family and let the children run on the lawn while adults chat at the bar or out in our lounge chairs or picnic tables.”
Shows are from 6 to 10 p.m. “The gates open up to a huge lawn, gazebo and outdoor BBQ pits. Chairs face a proscenium wooden stage with cement dance floor and overhead Edison string lights. Surrounded by the natural Redwood beauties and old rustic charm, a server will greet you, or you can make your way to the bar and get started with a cocktail,” said Jones. 14540 Canyon Two, Rio Nido. rionidoroadhouse.com
Cloverdale Ale Company
In the welcoming atmosphere of the Cloverdale Ale Company, business partners Doug Dilley and Jeff Richardson bring in live music on Friday and Saturday nights for regulars and visitors of all ages.
“There is great energy on Friday and Saturday nights,” said Dilley. Musicians perform from 7 to 10 p.m. on a small stage in the main dining room, and visitors can also listen to music from the bar area. Musicians from Sonoma County and beyond perform many genres of music: jazz, blues, country, Latin, roots, rockabilly and more.
“If you’re looking for a small-town experience, come check out the Cloverdale Ale Company,” said Doug. And during the week, he said “it’s quiet and relaxing, where you can catch your favorite Giants or Warriors games over a beer with friends.”
Head brewmaster Tim Gallagher brews craft beers onsite. Pub fare is served along with daily specials. 131 E. First St., Cloverdale. ruthmcgowansbrewpub.com
Barley and Hops Tavern
Local musicians perform for intimate, lively crowds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Barley and Hops Tavern, located in the yellow Victorian house on Main Street in Occidental.
“It’s a small tavern so bands are usually stripped down to acoustic or a handful of band members. The community is tight-knit and warm, and the vibe is very inviting. The music ranges from folksy, singer-songwriters to people who play Spanish guitar, and then there are other bands that are more jazzy. The bulk of the bands are bluesy-rock,” said social media expert Kory Vanderpool.
Owners Giancarlo Musso and Molly Shanley Musso, who bought the pub in December, serve more than 50 beers plus “homemade grub, good tavern eats and a regular weekly special that are dynamite and creative,” Vanderpool said.
The owners are also making new plans to expand next door this fall into a kid-friendly café with a new musical space and nonalcoholic beverages, including coffee and tea. 3688 Bohemian Hwy., Occidental. facebook.com/barleyandhops
Main Street Bistro
One of Sonoma County’s longest-running music and dining venues, Main Street Bistro in Guerneville has been described as colorful and comfortable with a jazzy atmosphere. Acoustic music, jazz, blues, folk and indy are presented every night, with cabaret dinner shows on the weekends.
“You can travel far and wide to listen to live Jazz, hoping always to find just such a place as this …” observed Bob Jones of “Jazz Now” magazine.
In May, hear the Levi Lloyd Blues Band, Bruce Halbrohm’s Blue Jazz Trio, Don Olivet Jazz Trio, Susan Sutton, Vernelle Anders and others. Then in June, there’s jazz/blues artist Janie Roberts, Grammy nominee Frankye Kelly, blues/soul/R&B performer Pat “Lady Guitar” Wilder and more.
There’s a cocktail lounge and dining room with cabaret/piano bar entertainment, plus a continental-style menu. Most music begins at 7 to 7:30 p.m. 16280 Main St., Guerneville. mainststation.com. SD