If you’re living in San Diego but can’t afford the steep cost of stadium shows, why not check out some smaller venues? Cheaper and more intimate, these spots are a great way to become more familiar with the local music scene. While not typically known for its music, San Diego’s musicians offer a plethora of genres for our listening and enjoyment.
3350 Sports Arena Blvd., Point Loma. All ages.
(619) 226-7662 www.somasandiego.com
SOMA is an all-ages venue based in a converted cinema, locally famous for hosting a massive variety of up-and-coming rock and punk bands and local cover bands. Adhering to curfew laws and alcohol-free policies, it tends to draw a mostly underage crowd. Show days are mostly weekend nights, with a consistently cheap cost of admission. Tickets range from $10 to $20. SOMA intersperses local bands with major artists, occasionally hosting shows for acts like Switchfoot and Chelsea Grin. It’s the largest venue on this list, with a guest capacity of about 3,200.
2501 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. 21 and up.
(619) 232-4355 www.casbahmusic.com
The Casbah is a 21-and-up venue featuring bands both local and nationally known. With a capacity of around 200 guests, it’s one of the more spacious locations on this list. Appealing mostly to rock and punk genres, over the years it has hosted bands such as Social Distortion, The White Stripes, Weezer, OK Go and The Black Keys. Besides live music, it also has a bar, pool tables and arcade machines. Although its cover fee is usually between $0 to $15, some shows are as much as $25, so while this establishment is a little more prestigious, it tends to be pricier.
Brick by Brick
1130 Buenos Ave., Morena. 21 and up.
(619) 276-3990 www.brickbybrick.com
If you’re looking for hard rock and metal, Brick by Brick is a great place to meet up with your local moshers and head-bangers. Featuring a variety of artists both local and national, it also features a bar, pool tables and pinball machines. Tickets can be bought at the door, but it is cheaper to do so online or at the door beforehand. Admission usually runs between $10 and $25, depending on the act.
1717 Morena Blvd., Morena. All ages.
(858) 270-7467 www.dizzysjazz.com
An all-ages venue, Dizzy’s Jazz is the heart and soul of San Diego’s local jazz and folk scenes. It’s all about the music here, with no bar or flashy lighting to distract the clientele. Located in Arias Hall behind the Musician’s Association building, its shows are mostly limited to weekend nights. Tickets can be purchased at the door, typically running between $10 to $25. Many of its events offer a $5 discount with display of a student ID, however.
The Holding Company
5046 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach. 21 and up.
(619) 341-5898 www.thcob.com
Once known as Gallagher’s Pub, The Holding Company is an intimate venue in Ocean Beach. A 21-and-up establishment, it is somewhat unique in San Diego for its plethora of “no cover fee” shows, meaning entrance is free. It hosts a variety of local artists and cover bands, but managed to fill the joint a number of times in 2016 with acts like Afroman, Janis Joplin’s Big Brother and The Ataris. Most notably, The Holding Company hosts a “Kerry-Oke” Pizza Party every Monday at 9:00 PM, where guests can come to get their fill of free pizza and karaoke.