San Diego Acoustic Music Venues ~ Finding Acoustic Venues in San Diego!


San Diego Acoustic Music Venues

"Everything in the mix has to support the vocal. The main thing is to understand the words."
Morgan Taylor, Sound Engineer at Arlene's Grocery
"The best sounding small club in NYC"
Performing Songwriter, Nov. 2005

Anthology (Downtown)
Belly Up Tavern (Solana Beach)
Cosmos Coffee Cafe (La Mesa) Every Saturday evening, some Friday afternoons (free or low cover)
E Street Cafe (Encinitas) Every Fri/Sat (free)
Lestat's (Normal Heights)  Nightly, open 24 hours 
Mueller College (Park Blvd location in University Heights) Several nights a week

Pannikin Cafe 858-481-8007 (Del Mar) Friday nights, 8pm (free)

San Diego County Library Acoustic Showcase 4-5 shows per month at libraries across the county

San Diego Folk Heritage (several venues)

House Concerts (Links to some of San Diego's best house concert series)
Open Mics (Links to some of San Diego's singer/songwriter open mics)


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H |  I  |  J  | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | X |Y | Z


AMSD (Acoustic Music San Diego) hosted by Carey Driscoll (Normal Heights)

Plugged/Unplugged Venue Type Time Charge Contact
Amplified Sound Church 7:30 pm $18 - $25 (619) 303-8176 - WEBSITE

Hosted in (but in no way affiliated with) a beautiful circa 1913 Methodist church, Acoustic Music San is a not-for-profit, all volunteer series run by the seemingly tireless Carey Driscoll. AMSD showcases national touring artists that you probably will not find at any other San Diego venue. Performances here are always "plugged in" but the amplified sound in this medium-sized venue (seats maybe 250?) is good and the ambiance of vaulted ceilings, stained glass, and wooden beams is lovely. I like that the shows start at an early hour - 7:30pm. This concert series is an acoustic bonanza for the San Diego music scene.


Anthology (Downtown)

Plugged/Unplugged Venue Type Time Charge Contact
Amplified Sound Dinner Club 7-8pm Varies 619-595-0300 - WEBSITE

My new favorite venue! Be aware! It's a dinner club so there is a $15 Food and Beverage minimum for any seat with a good view. But the food and service are fantastic. Here's how I rationalize the price tag: I spent about $80 total at the Anais Mitchell show. That included the $15 ticket, service charge, a $12 sangria, a Caesar salad, an entree, a mocha and tip. And I had one of the best concert experiences of my life! A hundred times better than any $150 stadium show. It was SO worth the price.

And that's partly because Anthology has The Best Sound of any venue I've been to in San Diego. Don't faint at this but... you can actually hear the lyrics! As well as each individual instrument with clarity and truth. They provide stunning video work during the show as well. Sometimes the close-ups of the musicians on the video wall are so compelling you'll forget to look back at the live musicians on the stage.

I understand that quarters can be very tight during a full show. Take a look at the photo gallery on the website. Seating is first come, first served, so get there early to have a better choice of seats. Final word? It's wonderful!



Belly Up Tavern (Solana Beach)

Plugged/Unplugged Venue Type Time Charge Contact
Amplified Sound Bar Late evening Varies (858) 481-8140 - WEBSITE

Well, the Belly Up Tavern (aka the BUT) is not the most pleasant venue to listen to singer/songwriters.  It's a bar with a dance floor and what little seating they have is not particularly fabulous.  In fact, they rarely set up listening seating on their dance floor even during singer/songwriter shows so you end up having to stand around a big empty space to listen to the music. People go to the Belly Up to drink and talk and have a good time, and it can be pretty annoying if you're there to hear a favorite songwriter.  The performances are always amplified through an electronic sound system which is very good but also very loud.  That all said, this is sometimes the only venue that can bring some of the bigger name singer/songwriters to town especially in the alt-country genre.  The Belly Up is also wonderful about providing opportunities for local artists as opening acts and in occasional showcases.



Cosmos Coffee Cafe (La Mesa)

Plugged/Unplugged Venue Type Time Charge Contact
Amplified Sound Coffee House Evening and afternoon Tip Jar or inexpensive (619) 698-4217 - WEBSITE

A classical coffee house venue! It's warm and comfortable and casual. The sound is great and the espresso drinks are great, too. It can get crowded for popular artists so you may want to arrive early.



E Street Cafe (Encinitas)

Plugged/Unplugged Venue Type Time Charge Contact
Amplified Sound Coffee House Early vening Tip Jar! (760) 230-2038 - WEBSITE

A real coffee house venue in the classic style, there is the to-be-expected competition between the music and the shushing of the milk steamers and the chatting of the coffee drinkers. But the not-too-loud amplification helps and the music is free for the customers (1 drink minimum). You'll find music there several nights a week and always on Friday's and Saturday's. I've gotten in the habit of dropping in after dinner when there's nothing else on the calendar. A very fun place to be~ join me sometime!



Lestat's Coffee House (Normal Heights)

Plugged/Unplugged Venue Type Time Charge Contact
Amplified Sound Coffee House Listening Room Late evening Varies (619) 282-0437 - WEBSITE

Lestat's is an electrically amplified venue but the sound here is very good due to legendary sound man Lou Brazier's efforts. The listening room is separate from the coffee house so that conversations and cappuccino machines don't interfere with the music. Because of the small setting, Lestat's is an excellent place to listen to singer/songwriters (and I'm a big fan of their skinny cappuccino's, too). They feature San Diego's finest as well as lesser-known, high-level touring artists. The shows do start a bit late for me. They're usually scheduled for 9 pm but somehow always seem to start later!






KyM - Kelley Martin, Acoustic Pie

Home | Radio| San Diego Scene| Calendar| Artists| Photos | Contact/About

Search the web Search Acoustic Pie only!

© 2002-2012 Kelley Martin

San Diego Acoustic Music Venues ~ Finding Acoustic Venues in San Diego!