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The best places to enjoy live local music in Dayton

Published: Thursday, May 11, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, July 07, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Some Dayton-area venues for local music.

Let’s suppose you’re new to the Dayton area and looking to catch some live local music. Or perhaps you’ve lived here all your life, but have been otherwise unaware of the existence of certain venues. 

Here is a list of places to catch local music in the Dayton area. Shows, genres and times will vary, so call ahead or research lineups and times.

BLIND BOB’S BAR

430 E. Fifth St., Dayton

937-938-6405

National and regionally touring bands share the Blind Bob's stage with local acts regularly.(Contributed)

Bob’s, remodeled and reconceived from the old Nite Owl jazz and blues club, is a bar in Dayton’s Oregon District with a strong sense of community. Not only do local musicians perform and hang out here, but many are employees. So they take their venue seriously. Regionally touring bands make Bob’s a must on their itinerary. There’s a nice gated patio to cool off on between sets, and the kitchen cranks out great food.

>> BURGER GUIDE: Blind Bob’s has one of the best burgers around town

ODDBODY’S

5418 Burkhardt Road, Riverside

937-813-4272

You can catch acts representing music of various genres at Oddbody's Music Room in Riverside.(Contributed)

Once known as McGuffy’s House of DraftOddbody’s took the old ownership’s model and ran it their way. Well-known national and regionally touring acts who are either on their way up of hanging on otherwise often headline with several local acts supporting the bill. Rock, metal, blues, funk, punk and other genres will be featured on the stage at any given time.

>> DAYTON MUSIC: Daytonian of the Week: Sharon Lane

ROCK STAR PRO ARENA

1106 E. Third St., Dayton

937-867-0183

Rock Star Pro Arena, which doubles as both a music and pro wrestling venue, attracts well-known acts while enlisting local support.(Steve Maguire)

A relatively newer venue in Dayton is Rock Star Pro Arena, which has been very good at attracting major names over the last few years, while giving local acts a place to show what they can do. Located in an unassuming industrial part of town, it may not look like a place to rock out from the outside, but trust me on this. The venue is unique in that it also doubles as a local pro wrestling arena. 

>> DAYTON MUSIC: 5 Dayton rock bands who have gone international

OSCAR’S  BAR & GRILL

320 N. Dixie Drive, Vandalia

937-890-8655

We visit Oscar's in this Digging Dayton-area dives.

Another newcomer to the list is this quaint bar and grill in Vandalia. Management has put in a lot of time and effort over the last year or so to turn Oscar’s from a dive bar that once had no stage to a favored place to perform and see shows. The menu and beer selection are great and local musicians have nothing but rave reviews for the place.

>> RELATED: Dayton Musicians Co-Op has a new home

>> MORE: Digging Dayton-area dive bars: Oscar's Bar & Grill

JIMMIE’S LADDER 11

936 Brown St., Dayton

937-424-1784

All types of bands grace the stage at Jimmie's.(Contributed)

Rebuilt from an old firehouse dating back to 1892, Jimmie’s welcomes bands of all genres. This club also has artist residencies from time to time, so if you see a group you really like on a Monday, you can see them all week if you wish. A good craft beer selection and solid menu add to the listening experience.

>> RELATED: The one must-try sandwich at Jimmie’s Ladder 11

PEACH’S GRILL

104 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs

937-767-4850

Worth the drive to Yellow Springs, Peach's Grill is a great place to catch a show and grab some grub.(Jim Ingram/Jim Ingram)

Peach’s Grill is a bit off the beaten path, but musicians seem to love playing there. Music fans seem to love going there as well. It helps that they are well known for their great food, too. It’s worth the drive to Yellow Springs.

>> RELATED: 5 things to do in Yellow Springs

JAZZ CENTRAL

2931 E. Third St., Dayton

937-254-8130

Whether it's big band, blues or free form, Jazz Central has been offering musicians and fans alike a genuine outlet since 1974.(Contributed)

For more than 40 years, Jazz Central has been just that to many music lovers. On any given night you could see a soloist on up to a big band performing. This is about as pure a jazz club as you’ll find anywhere. Their website is not always up to date, so it’s best to call ahead.

>> RELATED: Through the years: Canal Public House/Canal Street Tavern

GILLY’S

132 S. Jefferson St., Dayton

937-228-8414

Known mostly for jazz music, Gilly's has held shows featuring other types of music in recent years.(Contributed)

Also primarily known for giving jazz and blues acts a great stage over the years, Gilly’s has opened up its programming more to allow artists from different genres to perform in recent years. Owned and operated by the beloved Jerry Gillotti, the downtown Dayton club has been bringing some of the biggest names in music to town since 1972.

OREGON EXPRESS

336 E. Fifth St., Dayton

937-223-9205

The Oregon Express packs a lot of rock onto its small stage every week.(Randy Jennings)

This bar and restaurant has been operating in Dayton’s Oregon District since 1976 and shows no signs of slowing down. Every Friday and Saturday night you can find great local acts playing on the diminutive O.E. stage. Somehow, both the bands and the club make it work, so people keep coming out for the shows. While there, you HAVE to try the pizza.

>> RELATED: A look at what this former music venue is morphing into now

YELLOW CAB TAVERN

700 E. Fourth St., Dayton

937-424-3870

Harold Hensley from the Repeating Arms is the organizer of WinterFolk, which returns the “Old” Yellow Cab Bldg. in Dayton on Saturday, Jan. 16. CONTRIBUTED

What once was an abandoned old cab garage has become one of Dayton’s best success stories. Years of hard work, sweat and fundraising have transformed this one-time eyesore into a venue that tries its best to be all things to everyone. As such, the music shows are a little more sporadic. So it’s best to check the venue’s website before heading out. 

>> MORE: It’s food truck season at the Yellow Cab

ONE EYED JACK’S

2638 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Fairborn

937-426-3100

Located in the University shopping center across from Wright State, One Eyed Jack's is in its ninth year of operation.(Jim Ingram)

Though you’d never know it from the street, One Eyed Jack’s is more than just a bar and restaurant. The venue has been host to live rock, dance bands and open mic nights in the past. However, they seem to be moving in a mostly jam band area these days.

TROLLEY STOP

530 E. Fifth St., Dayton

937-461-1101

Trolley Stop, known for their incredible food and having one of Dayton's best bar patios, is a great place to see everything from rock and hip hop to zydeco.(Contributed)

Another gem of the Oregon District, you can hear everything from rock to zydeco and everything in between at Trolley Stop. The patio is arguably the best in the Dayton area when the weather’s right and their food is the bomb. 

>> MORE: The BEST patios in Dayton

W.O. WRIGHTS GRILL & PUB

3979 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Beavercreek

937-427-0101

The stage at W.O. Wrights Grill & Pub is a favorite of many local musicians.(Jim Ingram/Jim Ingram)

Local bands praise the large stage, concert lights and sound system of this sports bar, which has been operation since 1989. W.O. Wrights, located within the shadow of Wright State University, boasts a menu almost as big as its stage. 

>> MORE: The best places to eat near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

HANK’S PUB

2529 Patterson Road, Kettering

937-254-7527

An unassuming venue, Hank's Pub is all about the no-frills good time.(Jim Ingram/Jim Ingram)

Possibly the unlikeliest of spots on the list to host live music, Hank’s Pub is the current home of the nomadic Brown Street Breakdown Blues Jam. But the modest no-frills bar known for cheap drinks will seemingly host just about any show despite not having a stage. Metal, folk, country, jam and cover bands all have a place to play at Hank’s as long as they have a PA on a pole. 

WINGS BAR & GRILLE

7902 N. Dixie Dr., Dayton

937-898-0280

The plane atop The Hangar greets you as you enter the Wing Walker Patio.(Jim Ingram)

Founded in 1998, this sports bar doubles as a place to see live acts, both indoors and outdoors during the warm months. The outdoor stage is part of a 7500-square foot patio that is a shrine to relaxation. Indoors is more intimate, but with three full-service bars.

>> MORE: 9 places to go in Dayton’s beer epicenter

KATZ LOUNGE

1221 E. Stroop Rd., Kettering

937-294-9554

Katz Lounge provides a mix of both original and cover bands most weekends.(Don Rose)

Some venues focus on original acts while others seem to prefer hiring cover bands. Katz Lounge in Kettering offers both, so it’s best to call ahead or go to their Facebook site when planning a night out for live music.

This neighborhood spot is ‘Dayton’s best Browns bar’

Published: Thursday, August 10, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Is this Dayton's BEST Browns bar?

Hope springs eternal for Cleveland Browns fans as another NFL season approaches with the urgency of a gritty four-yard run by two-time Pro Bowler Kevin Mack. 

After all, this year’s team has to be at least a little better than last year’s one-win campaign, right? And just as high hopes in August are a Browns fan tradition, so are football Sundays at Patterson Pub at 970 Patterson Road in Dayton.

>> Downtown Dayton brunch restaurants seek earlier start time for alcohol

Widely regarded as one of — if not the — best Browns bars in the area, Patterson Pub will be accepting members into its Cleveland Browns Sunday viewing club again this preseason. It’s a club that, for a fee, has many benefits. Members get a table for the game that week, a personalized shirt, drink specials, grilled burgers and hot dogs and entry into the various door prize drawings.

Think of it as a PSL with drink specials and more. 

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It’s a tradition that’s been going on since the Browns returned to Cleveland in 1999. Back then the bar was known as Taggart’s Pub, and the owner Mike Taggart had hoped to make it an official bar of the Browns Backers — the official fan club of the team that hosts watch parties at preferred watering holes.

Things went over like an errant Tim Couch pass, however.

The door prizes at Patterson Pub are worth the entry fee alone.(Contributed)

>> Digging Dayton-area dive bars: Oscar’s Bar & Grill

“The impetus of the whole thing was the Browns Backers were looking for home bars to watch the games in the area, and I was the first person to call and say I was interested. So they said they would come check my bar out,” Taggart remembered. “A few weeks went by and I hadn’t heard anything. So I called them and I found out they selected three other bars.”

Win or lose, the Browns Club has been a successful tradition at Patterson Pub.(Contributed)

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So Taggart spent the money to get all the games on satellite (including preseason), added three high-definition projection screens, hoisted two giant Browns flags outside his business and started up his own club anyway. “A couple years later, I had 160 members and the Browns Backers were contacting me asking if they could promote their events in my bar,” Taggart said.

>>This little dive bar in Dayton has a FREE hot dog bar

Despite the bar changing hands in 2014 and operating under a different name, the tradition now continues with longtime Taggart’s patron and Browns fan Brian Rinderle — who Taggart called his “right-hand man” — now organizing things. It’s not uncommon to drive by and see a long line waiting to get in before kickoff.

Win or lose, the Browns Club has been a successful tradition at Patterson Pub.(Contributed)

>> What are the oldest bars in Dayton?

Though he doesn’t run the show anymore, Taggart has fond memories of his former business and an experiment that turned into a success that’s lasted 18 years and counting.

“I was there for almost 20 years and had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends,” he said. “But I think that became the Browns bar.” 

Fans interested in joining the Browns Club should contact Patterson Pub at (937) 296-9476 or in person. 

You won’t want to miss this club’s big anniversary party this weekend

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

The Blue Note Bistro and Lounge celebrates its one-year anniversary this weekend.
AJ Waltz/Contributed
The Blue Note Bistro and Lounge celebrates its one-year anniversary this weekend.(AJ Waltz/Contributed)

Restaurant and nightclub owners know the importance of getting through that first year of a new business. That’s why it’s worth noting the Blue Note Bistro and Lounge Anniversary Gala this weekend. The upscale club at 23 E. Central Ave. in Miamisburg has a big night planned for the one-year celebration Saturday, Aug. 19 beginning at 5 p.m.

>>New restaurant and jazz club in Miamisburg already expanding

Dayton’s Todd the Fox will help the Blue Note Bistro and Lounge celebrate its one-year anniversary. JIM WITMER / STAFF(Jim Witmer)

A dinner will kick things off with champagne, free hors d’oeuvres and games, with some of the proceeds going to help support next year’s Miamisburg Bicentennial celebration. The club, which strives to support both local and out-of-town musicians, will feature the music of Chuck Evans, Todd the Fox and Kelsey Mira throughout the evening.  

>>Dayton Music Insider: Wham, Bam & Juicy Jams

Blue Note’s owners also told this news organization it plans to update the facility with patio renovations next year.

WANT TO GO?

What: Blue Note Anniversary Gala

Where: 23 E. Central Ave., Miamisburg

When: Saturday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m.

Info: Website | 937-247-3000

JUST IN: Popular Dayton venue expanding its schedule

Published: Thursday, August 10, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

The Yellow Cab is expanding their hours.

Dayton’s venue that has morphed to become all things to all people is expanding its schedule. The Yellow Cab Building, which hosts various music, art, food and beer events, announced a new expanded weekly schedule this month.

>>Kick off Dayton Beer Week with this epic new event at Dayton Yellow Cab

Starting Aug. 17, Yellow Cab will be open Thursdays through Sundays. Currently, the schedule varies based on special events.

“We’ve loved getting to know so many people through hosting all of the great local events that have called Yellow Cab home,” Tara Moore, co-owner of the Yellow Cab, said in a press release.

>>You won’t go hungry in August thanks to the amount of INSANE food events 

Last year’s Ladyfest, hosted at the Yellow Cab Tavern, took place over two days and featured over 30 musical acts, visual artists, burlesque dancers, comedians, an adult and children’s fashion show, and much more.  Both men and women of Dayton came together to support this celebration of women in the arts.(Allegra Czerwinski)

Recent developments involving the venue’s capacity to sell alcohol prompted the decision, according to Moore.

“Now with our full liquor license, we’re excited to become a neighborhood tavern for all of our friends.”

Yellow Cab still plans to hold special events throughout the week as they are scheduled. In addition to the new hours, the owners also announced they will be a hub for Dayton Premiere League soccer fans.

>>Your guide to Dayton food truck events in August

Local vendors set up shop with handmade wares to give and get for the holidays at the Old Yellow Cab Tavern in Dayton. (TOM GILLIAM)

“If the Premier League is on, The Yellow Cab will be open. It’s basically getting an excuse to watch a ton of soccer this season with no guilt,” Mark Jeffers, co-owner of the Yellow Cab, said. “After all, it'll be my job.”

You can learn more about the new schedule and related festivities here.

The expanded schedule breakdown:

  • Thursday: 4 p.m.-12 a.m.
  • Friday: 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: 12 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
  • Sunday: 12 p.m.-12 a.m.

>> The best places to see live local music in Dayton

You’re in for a surprise with Century Bar’s newest cocktail lineup 

Published: Monday, August 07, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Century Bar co-owner Joe Head pours his seasonal cocktail the Sleepy Holler. JIM WITMER/STAFF
JIM WITMER
Century Bar co-owner Joe Head pours his seasonal cocktail the Sleepy Holler. JIM WITMER/STAFF(JIM WITMER)

Joe Head, Century Bar’s co-owner, encourages his crew behind the bar to take risks and channel their most creative self when concocting new cocktails.

>> Downtown bar makes ‘best of’ national list

The downtown Dayton bar, which claims it “can make a bourbon drinker from even the most discriminating of palettes,” has also been surprising guests with seasonal cocktail menus that have been anything but boring.

Joseph Head, Century Bar. (Source: Jim Witmer/Staff)(HANDOUT)

>> Century bar named one of eight best U.S. whisky bars

Last Thursday, Aug. 3, Century Bar unveiled their “Summer Part 2” cocktail menu which includes 9 brand new, hand-crafted spirits.

>> Daytonian of the Week: Century’s Joseph Head

”Summer can be long and there’s so many flavors in the summer. So we knew all along that we would do two menus because we have so many flavors we wanted to try,” Head said. 

While the bar specializes in their top-shelf whisky and bourbon selection, they’ve been particularly into cocktail experimentation as they prepare for the highly anticipated opening of their Kettes’ Candies, Spirits & Treats cocktail speakeasy. The speakeasy is planned to be ready for opening later this fall, Head said.

“Nick likes setting stuff (drinks) on fire and I’m like, okay, now’s the time to try that if you want,” Head said.

>> What are the oldest bars in downtown Dayton? 

Patrons going in to taste what the new menu is all about can expect “interesting things done with Jägermeister,” an introduction to the bar’s first “Tiki” drinks and other summery, tropical flavors. 

As always, Sundays at Century are still “Sunday Night Revivals,” where the bar whips up a different specialty cocktail each week.