Best Place to Hear Live Music

Top Hat Lounge

Since early 2013, the Top Hat’s new owner, Nick Checota, has transformed the historic bar into a tapas restaurant and top-notch music venue. Audiences have been treated to major acts like Sarah Jarosz, Shooter Jennings, Elephant Revival, the Heartless Bastards and Greg Brown, plus picking circles, album-release parties for local bands and a family-friendly Friday where kids can dance to live music early in the evening. Unlike so many things in life, the atmosphere at the new Top Hat never gets old. One night, you could be sipping a PBR watching Polyphonic Spree, the next a gin and tonic at a sit-down concert for some acoustic act. And the future looks bright with Jolie Holland, Charles Bradley, Robert Earl Keen, Robert Cray, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears and Trombone Shorty on deck for later this month and next. Top Hat Lounge: 134 W. Front St, 728-9865,

Finalists, Best Place to Hear Live Music

2. Union Club: 208 E. Main St, 728-7980

3. Wilma Theatre: 131 S. Higgins, 728-2521,


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