Finding a beat you can dance to 

Live music

I know it takes a little more than turning on the tube, but heading out for live music is so good for you. Plus the audience (you) is an integral part of each performance. You'll help the performer avoid philosophical conundrums like, "If no one's here to hear me, will I still make a sound?" and, "Were my parents right about that whole job thing?"

So curb your boredom while saving our many talented entertainers from these torturous questions at any number of live joints sprinkled throughout Rochester. Here is a partial list. You can find all the info in the music pages of the weekly issue of City.

Acoustic and folk

California Brew Haus (402 Ridge Road West, 627-1480): one of Rochester's older bars, in the Kodak Park area; acoustic and louder rock entertainment on weekends

Daily Perks Coffeehouse (389 Gregory Street, 271-2340) folk, rock, spoken word, poetry, comedy; open mic night every Wednesday; a coffee house with a real stage

Earthtones Coffeehouse (1217 Bay Road, 671-3060): live acoustic; intimate, caffeinated

Spot Coffee (200 East Avenue, 232-7768): spacious atmosphere offers anonymity in the cavernous art-deco echoes; coffee and food accented by stripped-down acoustic talent

Starry Nites Café (696 University Avenue, 271-2630): jazz, bluegrass, acoustic, and blues complement nights of tealeaf and tarot card readings and homemade desserts


Beale St. Café (689 South Avenue, 271-4650): blues (with some Zydeco thrown in) Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays along with delicious Cajun cuisine

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court Street, 325-7090): blues (from rookie to royalty) from next door and around the world

NOLA's BBQ (4775 Lake Avenue, 663-3375): New Orleans fare with a recent stab at live zydeco and blues; near enough to the Lake to walk it off

Rab's Woodshed (4440 Lake Avenue, 663-4610): blues with a roadhouse feel; near the lake

SmokehouseBBQ (48 Merchant Street, Brockport, 637-6020): the new kid on the BBQ and blues block --- but hell, there's always room for more

Smokin' Joe's (425 Lyell Avenue, 647-1540): live, local blues; Some of Rochester's heavy hitters are there on Thursdays for open-jam night


Josie's Country Jukebox (5435 Ridge Road West, 352-4505): a real live-music roadhouse that caters to the whole family, not just the rowdies; only 20 minutes from downtown

The Roost (4853 West Henrietta Road, 321-1170): karaoke, dancing, and live entertainment all centered on country music.

Sandra's Saloon (276 Smith Street, 436-1929): live country music in one of Rochester's oldest bars


Bop Shop Atrium (274 North Goodman Street, 271-3354): national and international jazz heroes, from the traditional to the insane; some of the best talent brought into Rochester, for free

Horizons at Woodcliff (199 Woodcliff Drive, 381-4000): rotating roster of local jazz piano talent, with the occasional national act thrown in

Java's (18 Gibbs Street, 232-4820):Often taps the talent in the Eastman School of Music's jazz department; dark, eclectic, downright cool; lots of older-acting kids, and vice versa.

Little Theatre Café (240 East Avenue, 258-0412): an intimate spot to catch some great local jazz before or after your movie

Pop and rock

The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Avenue, 454-2966): Underground, independent rock 'n' roll from Rochester and around the world is alive and well; local and national DJs on Wednesdays and Fridays; frequent all-ages shows. If musicians aren't playing here, they're at least hanging out. Wake up on the floor and you'll think you're on the ceiling.

Honeoye Pub (125 East Lake Road, 229-4535): live music and American fare in a rural setting; This joint jumps in the summer.

Johnny's Irish Pub (1382 Culver Road, 224-0990): acoustic, light rock music and friendly folks; nice neighborhood feel, even if you don't live nearby

McGhan's (11 West Main Street, Victor, 924-3660): rock and blues on weekends; 20 minutes outside Rochester

Milestones (170 East Avenue, 325-6490): all live-music venue with something for everyone: rockers, hippies, swing-dancers, yuppies, and freaks

Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Avenue, 271-7050): live, local rock 'n' roll in an intimate, pro-drinking establishment with a nice Blue Velvet feel

The Penny Arcade (4785 Lake Avenue, 621-7625): a Rochester institution; huge national, cover, tribute, and throwback metal bands mixed in with a lot of the younger, heavy bands here and there

Richmond's (21 Richmond Street, 454-4612): They may apologize for being open, but c'mon in anyway. This is downtown's mucho-cool neighborhood bar. Great bar food, parlor games, and a deck. Uncle Ralph's Steakout is a Sunday tradition, replacing church for many.

Steel Music Hall (1509 Scottsville Road, 436-7573): live, local, and national hard rock and alternative bands; if '80s hair metal is going anywhere, it's here; killer sound system and stage

Water Street Music Hall and The Club at Water Street (204 North Water Street, 325-5600): best place to see larger bands, national and larger regional talent, and, of course, Rochester's favorite bartender, Chops. Usually, ages 18 and up admitted. The Club hosts open jams and local and national shows when a smaller room is appropriate. Combined with the main room, it can handle multi-staged events and festivals. Rattlesnake Pete's portrait oversees the goings-on at the bar.


Bullwinkle's Café (627 Lake Avenue, 458-5530): Part David Lynch movie, part MGM musical, this is the place of eclectic, noirish dreams, with big hats for everyone, cabaret-style sing-a-longs, and fun, all led by an enchanting, accordion-playing hostess.

Six Pockets (716 East Ridge Road, 266-1440): great prime rib and tons of pool tables; live blues and rock. Rock 'em while you rack 'em.


Home to the renowned Eastman School of Music, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Hochstein School, Rochester is spoiled by a huge number of top-quality classical concerts. In addition, there are many community choral, instrumental, and operatic ensembles that perform in venues throughout the city and throughout the year. Here is a sampling of what you might hear.


Eastman School of Music (26 Gibbs Street, 274-1100, vocal, choral, chamber, orchestral, and other ensembles; opera, organ, jazz, contemporary music performances by students, internationally known faculty members, and guest artists from around the world; Notable Eastman groups include Musica Nova, the student-run OSSIA, and the popular Ying Quartet.

Hochstein Music School (50 North Plymouth Avenue, 454-4596, Catch Live from Hochstein, the free lunchtime concerts on Wednesdays; many other concerts by faculty, students, and guest artists


Chamber Music Rochester (244-2554, performs at the Hochstein School and the Memorial Art Gallery

Equinox Orchestra (264-1705): freelance orchestra; performs the Mostly Mozart Festival

Rochester Chamber Orchestra (328-5895, 40-year-old group; concerts at Hochstein School

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (454-2100, classical, pops, and Casual Classics concerts; OrKIDStra series for children; mainly in Eastman Theatre (26 Gibbs Street), summer series at Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua


Mercury Opera (473-6567): Newly formed opera company with inaugural season in spring 2005


Irondequoit Chorale (266-5018): Irondequoit United Church of Christ, 644 Titus Avenue

Madrigalia (234-4283, 18-voice chamber ensemble, various local venues

Musica Spei ( sacred choral music of the Renaissance

Rochester Oratorio Society (473-2234, usually at Hochstein School

Schola Cantorum (454-3878): Medieval and Renaissance music Sunday evenings at 9 p.m. in Christ Church, 141 East Avenue

Early music

Publick Musick (671-6612, Baroque vocal and instrumental music on period instruments

Rochester Bach Festival (377-3537, weekends in March

Community orchestras

Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus (223-9006,; Roberts Wesleyan College-Community Orchestra (594-6008); symphony orchestras in Brighton (248-0680,, Penfield (872-0774), and Greece (234-5636).

In This Guide...

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