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.


430 E. Fifth St., Dayton


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


5418 Burkhardt Road, Riverside


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


1106 E. Third St., Dayton


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


320 N. Dixie Drive, Vandalia


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


936 Brown St., Dayton


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


104 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs


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


2931 E. Third St., Dayton


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


132 S. Jefferson St., Dayton


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.


336 E. Fifth St., Dayton


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


700 E. Fourth St., Dayton


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


530 E. Fifth St., Dayton


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


3979 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Beavercreek


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


2529 Patterson Road, Kettering


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. 


7902 N. Dixie Dr., Dayton


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


1221 E. Stroop Rd., Kettering


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.

Trending - Most Read Stories

New Dayton Inspires mural revealed for local brewpub’s 6th birthday

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 9:04 AM

This Saturday, Dayton's first co-op brewery will celebrate their sixth birthday with the unveiling of a new Dayton Inspires mural.
Fifth Street Brewpub Facebook
This Saturday, Dayton's first co-op brewery will celebrate their sixth birthday with the unveiling of a new Dayton Inspires mural.(Fifth Street Brewpub Facebook)

They’re big, they’re iconic and they’re one of people’s favorite ways to flaunt their Gem City swagger. 

>>Dayton Inspires wants your crazy, ‘off-the-wall’ photos

The Dayton Inspires murals can be spotted around downtown Dayton, where people frequently stop to pose beneath the scrawled slogan. Announced earlier this week, a brand new mural is in the works at Fifth Street Brewpub

The Mural Machine painted the newest Dayton Inspires mural at The Cannery Lofts in downtown Dayton. PHOTO / Dayton Inspires Facebook

>>These 3 projects to make Dayton better just won funding

“No we aren't entering a blue period or feeling sad. We are preparing for the upcoming installation of our patio mural with Dayton Inspires. Thanks to member-owner Caleb Stapleton for doing the base painting today,” read a Fifth Street Brewpub Facebook post. 

In addition to unveiling the brand new ink, Fifth Street Brew will be celebrating their sixth anniversary all day Saturday, June 23rd. 

“Come celebrate all day long as we have a tap list full of FSB beers including some new and some throwbacks, a special food menu, live music 6 to 9 p.m. with Nothing But Treble, and Dayton-centric prize giveaways,” read a Fifth Street Brewpub Facebook post.

>>Mexican restaurant to build a new area location 

In 2012, Fifth Street Brewpub, located at 1600 E. Fifth Street, opened in the St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood as Dayton’s first co-op brewery. The initiative started to save a historic building, and has since grown to be a whistle-wetting staple in the community. 

Soon, the brewery will add to the collection of Dayton Inspires murals scattered about the city including 5th Street in the Oregon District on the side of Brim, one on the side of the Cannery building on 3rd St. and one located on Courthouse Square at the entrance of Catapult Creative’s office.


WHAT: FSB Sixth Birthday Celebration

WHEN: 11 a.m.- 11:59 p.m. Saturday, June 23rd
WHERE: Fifth Street Brewpub, 1600 E. 5th St., Dayton

INFO: Facebook

Trending - Most Read Stories

8 refreshing Dayton drinks to help you celebrate World Cucumber Day today

Published: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

"The Black Watch" at The Highland Stag, 75 N. Main St., Springboro. The drink is made with Hendrick's Gin, Drambuie Liqueur, Blackberry Brandy, muddled blackberries and a blend of fruit juices. CONTRIBUTED

Today, June 14th the humble cucumber will be fêted when World Cucumber Day is celebrated.

Some may choose to slap a few slices on their eyes or on a salad, while several bars across Dayton will be featuring a variety of Hendrick's gin cocktails to celebrate. 

>> Downtown Dayton restaurant closing for good

The popular gin, which William Grant & Sons in Girvan, Scotland launched in 1999, puts cucumber to good use adding soothing flavor to the makeup of the popular gin. 

"Hendrick’s Gin has always held the cucumber in the highest regard. The spirit’s unusual distillation process includes an infusion of rose and cucumber, which yields an extraordinarily smooth gin that is a rare union of lightness and complexity. Not only that, but there is simply no better way to cap off a Hendrick’s cocktail than with a little green garnish cut from the same fruit that gives Hendrick’s its pleasingly unusual flavour," said Rachel Anne Jensen, Ohio Division Representative for Republic National Distributing Co. 

>> New tavern opens in former Phone Booth space

Hendrick's Gin celebrates World Cucumber Day. CONTRIBUTED

According to the Hendrick's website, "Cucumber Day was invented by cucumber growers, in England in 2011, to extol the virtues of the gallant cucumber. For several years now we celebrate this day to hero this remarkable fruit. We wish to spread love, understanding and appreciation for cucumbers everywhere and invite all those with a curious mind to celebrate World Cucumber Day on June 14 to cultivate and embrace their very own unusual side." 

Here are eight places to grab a special Hendrick's cocktail and toast the mighty, green, healthy, crunchy, soothing cucumber. 

"Hendrick's Cucumber Strawberry Old Fashioned" at Lily's Bistro 329 E. Fifth St., Dayton. The cocktail is made with Hendrick's Gin, freshly muddled strawberries and cucumber, simple syrup and Angostura Bitters. Served on the rocks and garnished with a strawberry and cucumber slice. CONTRIBUTED


"Hendrick's Cucumber Strawberry Old Fashioned" 

Lily's Bistro 

329 E. Fifth St., Dayton 

Hendrick's Gin, freshly muddled strawberries and cucumber, simple syrup and Angostura Bitters. Served on the rocks and garnished with a strawberry and cucumber slice. 


"The Sarla" 

Sky Asian Cuisine 

4090 Wilmington Pike, Dayton 

Hendrick's Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh mint, fresh lime and house made cucumber puree. 


"The Sarla"at Sky Asian Cuisine, 4090 Wilmington Pike, Dayton. The cocktail is made with Hendrick's Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh mint, fresh lime and house-made cucumber puree. CONTRIBUTED

"Cool as a Cucumber Soda" 

Patterson Pub 

970 Patterson Road, Dayton 

Hendrick's Gin, lemonade, lime juice, fresh cucumber and a hint of club soda. 


"G&T Mojito" 

Trolley Stop 

530 E. Fifth St, Dayton 

Hendrick's Gin, freshly muddled mint and lemon, simple syrup and tonic water. Garnished with a fresh cucumber slice. 


"The Black Watch" 

The Highland Stag 

75 N. Main St., Springboro 

Hendrick's Gin, Drambuie Liqueur, Blackberry Brandy, muddled blackberries and a blend of fruit juices. 


"Laid Back" Lemonade 

Hole in the Wall 

423 E. Fifth St, Dayton 

Hendrick's Gin, cucumber syrup, fresh cucumber, lemonade and club soda. Garnished with a lemon wedge. 


"The William Wallace" 

Carvers Steaks & Chops 

1535 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Dayton 

Hendrick's Gin, St. Germain Elder Flower Liqueur, fresh squeezed lime, rhubarb bitters, fresh cucumber and an egg white. 


"Know it all Hipster" 

Canal St. Arcade & Deli 

308 E. First St, Dayton 

A shot of Hendrick's Gin paired with Steigl Radler Grapefruit Beer. 

Trending - Most Read Stories

6 bar and gaming arcades to visit in Dayton

Published: Saturday, June 03, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 4:32 PM

Drinking tasty beverages while enjoying video and board games is no longer relegated to your dining room or your mom's basement. Dayton's fully on the arcade bar scene, and we've got where you need to go. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

While by now you’ve surely made the trip out to Scene 75 and had a mega(bit) of great time, maybe you’re looking for a more intimate gaming experience for your next outing.

>> The oldest bars in downtown Dayton

Have no fear, our socially competitive friends, as we have a round up of the Dayton area’s gaming bars and arcades ready for you.

1.) D20: A Bar with Characters

The gamers’ paradise bar called “D20: A Bar with Characters” at 2144 E. Whipp Road in the Oak Creek Plaza will host a euchre tournament and beer event at 7 p.m. next Monday, Feb. 20. SUBMITTED(Staff Writer)

2144 E. Whipp Road, DaytonFacebook

If you’re looking for a distraction-free zone to get your hard core board gaming on, then you need to head over to Kettering. D20 is a bar that offers an extensive beer selection and over 300 board games that prides itself on not having a single television in the entire place. The bar is even family-friendly during the daytime hours, serving coffee and tea and “mocktails” for kids. Popular titles include Twilight Imperium, Pandemic, Joking Hazard, Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, League of Legends, Settlers of Catan, Fluxx, and the more throwback favorites such as Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders and CandyLand.

>> Kettering bar has 300 board games, craft beers and no TVs

2.) Bar 145/Reset

Bar 145/Reset Bar is poised to open fully to the public on Tuesday, Nov. 22 in the Austin Landing development on Ohio 741 in Miami Twp. Its hours will be 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The bar will feature live music as well as vintage arcade games and electronic board games. Photos by MARK FISHER/STAFF

10259 Penny Lane, Miamisburg | Website

 At the tail end of last year, Bar 145 opened at Austin Landing offering a nice-sized menu. The restaurant is attached to Reset — a bar within a bar boasting a full slate of vintage arcade games including The Simpsons, Street Fighter, Frogger and Off Road and many others. It bills itself as gastropub specializing in “Burgers, Bands, and Bourbon.” For the most part, the food is just OK, but the sides are a lot of fun if you head there for happy hour and some gaming with friends. Fried cheese curds ($7.99), tempura green beans ($6.99), buffalo chicken dip ($8.99), white truffle french fries ($6.99) and bar nachos ($6.99, with shredded pork, spicy chicken or beef added for $3 more) are good options to split and share. For families, Bar 145 has some nice built-in entertainment options for restless kids who will enjoy the novelty of these old-school hits.

>>  Your guide to the best pizza restaurants in and around Dayton

3.) Hole In The Wall

Hole In The Wall touts itself as "Dayton Ohio's first Bar Arcade." (photo source: Facebook)

423 E. Fifth St, Dayton Facebook

This Oregon District bar bills itself as "Dayton Ohio's first Bar Arcade."

Hole in the Wall is the kind of dive bar where adults can go to find their inner child and a stiff drink that’s priced right. 

Fans of the Mario Brothers game will love the bar and the lighting. It’s a fun stop before or after dinner in the district if you are looking for something that’s colorful and different. If it’s packed with people (and you’re a little claustrophobic), steer clear. But if it’s early and it’s open, it’s a fun spot to schedule a stop.

>> RELATED: What to know about Downtown’s best bars

4.) Canal Street Arcade and Deli

Rob Strong stands in the former Canal Street Tavern space in November 2016.Strong will open Canal Street Arcade & Deli in the space in early 2017. MARK FISHER/STAFF(Staff Writer)

308 E. First St, DaytonWebsite  

The building that formerly housed Canal Street Tavern found new life over the summer when Canal Street Arcade and Deli opened.  

When owner Rob Strong closed his Fifth Street Wine and Deli early this year, I was sad to see his deli sandwiches go, but with the opening of Canal Street Arcade and Deli they are back and better than ever.  

Deli sandwiches served up hot come in three sizes — a small half-sandwich ($6.25), a medium full-sized sandwich ($8.25) and a large sandwich ($9.25). Wraps, subs, salads and pizzas, as well as build-your-own breakfast or grilled cheese sandwiches, are also available. This spot has quickly turned into a favorite destination to pick up a sandwich and hang-out on unprogrammed weekends. In addition to the games, this has one of the best jukeboxes in town.

>> 5 amazing sandwiches at Canal Street Arcade and Deli

5.) DK Effect

We take a look at some of the video games to be featured in DK Effect in Dayton's Huffman neighborhood.(Photo by Amelia Robinson)

1600 E. Third St, DaytonFacebook

This Huffman Historic District hot spot that opened over the summer features 40 beers on tap, a full bar and a slew of classic arcade hits. 

Sit at the bar and play or grab a drink and make your way to the vintage gaming titles around the room.  

This venue does not have a kitchen, but pizza delivers there and it’s right across the street from the inexpensive and very tasty Taqueria Mixteca (1609 E. Third St., Dayton). 

>> Have you been to the ‘Best Dive Bar’ in Dayton yet?

A margarita and tacos from Taqueria Mixteca on a recent visit to DK effect in Huffman Historic District. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen

Grab a large burrito for $6.49 and some of the best guacamole in town ($2.99) and head across the street for your margarita and some gaming. DK Effect has been doing some Tacos and Tequila events where you can purchase Taqueria tacos there and order one of seven specialty margaritas.  

Owner Tony Clark has plans to open a spot next door that will serve food, but with that happening some time away, some Taqueria Mixteca will hit the spot for now.

>> PHOTOS: See the stunning transformation of DK Effect

6.) Proto BuildBar

This LED blinking heart is a project you can easily make on a first date at Proto Build Bar in Dayton. (TABATHA WHARTON/STAFF)

While not your typical arcade, Proto is the world’s first BuildBar, a creative experience center featuring hands-on technology experimentation with 3D printing, electronics kits, and micro-computing in a full service café environment. With a stocked bar for when you need something a little stronger than coffee, Proto houses the World’s Largest Claw game and their homemade Edison vs Tesla arcade-style game with a shocking twist. If you’re looking for a more laid-back vibe, Proto is definitely your place.

>> Best of Dayton 2017 winners: Bars & Nightlife

>> According to Thrillist, this is the best friend chicken -- and you can try it right here in Dayton

Know of a spot we missed? Send us a note at

Trending - Most Read Stories

5 area bars that know their Scotch whisky

Published: Friday, July 24, 2015 @ 10:07 AM
Updated: Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 10:08 AM reporter Vivienne Machi stopped by a couple of Dayton restaurants and bars to get a Scotch whisky lesson for National Scotch Day. Beavercreek bar King's Table and their bartender Joshua Hawker graciously obliged.

There are conveniently many bars and restaurants in the Miami Valley that have a variety of Scotches behind the bar, but we sought out the places that really know their whisky . They’re spread out, allowing you to enjoy your Scotch no matter where you live.

>> Your guide to Dayton’s craft beer trail

Century Bar co-owner Joseph Head with the Summer Cocktail "Remember the Maine," made with Rye Whiskey, Cherry Liqueur, Bitters, Bulleit Rye and Sweet Vermouth. JIM WITMER/STAFF

Ollie’s Place

518-520 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Centerville. (937) 723-8998.

Ollie’s Place is known for the two “b” beverages — beer and bourbon — but the month-old Washington Twp. craft beer room and eatery also boasts over 45 Scotches on its spirit list, ranging in price from $5 for a two-ounce glass of Ballantines, to $50 to sip on some Johnnie Walker Blue. If you’re not ready to take on a neat Scotch though, ease into the flavor with their signature cocktail, “May The Schwartz Be With You,” an original created by owner Mike Schwartz created with Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch with a sample pour of Great Divide’s Yeti Stout on the side. Let your server explain the drink, but it’s well worth it!
>> The best of the best food in Dayton, as voted by our readers

Jameson whiskey defines the style for many American drinkers. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post.(For The Washington Post)

The Dublin Pub

300 Wayne Ave. (937) 224-7822.

Though Jameson may be first on our minds when we head to the Dub Pub, Scotch drinkers have at least 30 options to choose from. True connoisseurs will appreciate the Macallan 25 year on the list, but there’s something for every level of knowledge and enjoyment.

Coincidentally, this month the Dublin Pub’s hosts a cigar event paired with Scotch whisky: stop by on July 28 for four courses of delish food specially paired with Glenmorangie Scotches and Altadis cigars.
>> Where to get Dayton’s best-loved cheese fries

Bottles of whisky on display in the Diageo Claive Vidiz Collection, the world's largest collection of Scottish Whisky on display at The Scotch Whisky Experience on March 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Pub at The Greene

39 Greene Blvd., Beavercreek. (937) 320-1199.

The Pub is already your go-to spot for all things UK, so it makes sense that you’d gravitate toward it for scotch as well. The Pub serves 19 types of single-malt Scotch alone, and selections from each of the Scotch producing areas. For the newbies, they offer a sampler of three 1-oz. pours of any Scotches under 13 years for $16.

A special treat for the Scotch and water lovers: order a Speyside-based whisky like Balvenie, Macallan or Glenfiddich, and get it served with water from the Speyside region. You don’t even have to buy a plane ticket to have a near authentic experience.

>> Meet the maker of the best, but also the worst, BBQ rub in America

(Gabi Porter)

King’s Table

2348 Grange Hall Road, Beavercreek. (937) 431-1700.

You know what goes great with King’s Table’s tots? Well, actually probably not a glass of Scotch, but maybe after the tots. The Beavercreek tavern is known for its pool tables, beer menu and yes, those glorious tots, and their full whisky menu is often ignored. Choose from 33 different Scotches starting at $5 for Dewar’s, Famous Grouse, or Johnnie Walker Red. Your eyes might pop a bit as you scan the menu: Why yes, that is a $500 glass of Macallan “M,” a single malt containing whisky from seven different casks, the oldest distilled in 1940. CNN Money called it “the most world’s expensive whisky.” Now, that’s a glass of Scotch.

>> Here’s where to get the best bloody marys in Dayton

Century Bar's summer cocktail "Remember the Maine" made with Rye Whiskey, Cherry Liqueur, Bitters, Bulleit Rye and Sweet Vermouth. JIM WITMER/STAFF

Century Bar

1o S. Jefferson St. (937) 223-3382. 

The Century Bar is nationally recognized for its extensive bourbon menu, but they know how to pour a good Scotch as well. Order a Godfather — Scotch with amaretto — and you won’t be sorry.

Trending - Most Read Stories