After decades of touring bands redirecting their schedules around the Scenic City, Chattanooga in recent years has made a name for itself as a city where artists say the crowds are among the most enthusiastic they play for.
For music lovers, that reputation is paying dividends, as the city's club scene is busier than ever and offers venues with acts to suit every taste.
Want rock? Got it. How about jazz? Yep. Do you prefer it hot and swinging or cool and bopping? R&B more your thing? We got you covered. Do you want a chance to get up to sing your own stuff? Step up to the mike. Here are some local venues that showcase the city's musical diversity.
1. Track 29, 1400 Market St. (423-521-2929) -- Chattanooga's newest music venue is also one of its largest. With a moveable stage and a design that maximizes even distribution of sound, Track 29 can accommodate crowds as small as 800 and up to 1,800. Since opening in September 2011, it has brought in acts including Jack White, Ted Nugent, Lucinda Williams, Bassnectar, The Avett Brothers, Florida Georgia Line, Big Boi and Old Crow Medicine Show.
2. Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St. (423-267-4644) -- Live music can be heard almost every night in this venue, pulling from local, regional and national talent pools. Among the artists who've played here are Black Stone Cherry, Todd Snider, Drivin' N Cryin', Paul Thorn, Shovels & Rope, Zack Brown Band, Hank Williams III, Of Montreal and Justin Townes Earle. It is also the site of the popular Road to Nightfall battle of the bands each spring to decide which local artist will earn a headlining spot during the annual summer concert series.
3. JJ's Bohemia, 231 M.L. King Blvd. (423-266-1400) -- When regional bands first visit the Scenic City, their debut performance is often at this tight little place. Among the acts that have hit its stage are power-pop legend Jonathan Richman, "School House Rocks!" songwriter Bob Dorough, blues legend T. Model Ford and famed indie rockers the Meat Puppets. This dive also doubles as a host to the city's burgeoning stand-up comedy scene and as a stage for underground burlesque and sideshow performances. If you come thirsty, don't expect liquor; this place is suds-only.
4. Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave. (423-624-5347) -- From David Grier and Norman Blake to The John Cowan Band and Michael Cleveland, this 175-seat venue is the place to be for acoustic bluegrass, folk and singer/songwriter acts in Chattanooga. This is also among the only sit-down venues in town to host high-profile old-time and Irish musicians and is becoming a destination for regional jazz acts. Barking Legs also doubles as a dance space and frequently hosts avant-garde companies and an open invitational monthly group for improvisational art.
5. Electric Cowboy, 5600 Brainerd Road (423-499-1995) -- Whether you're eager for a ride on a mechanical bull or just a few hours of shaking it on the dance floor to recordings by artists from Alan Jackson to Flo Rida, there are few places as happening as the Electric Cowboy. In keeping with one of Chattanooga's most popular pastimes, the club also has karaoke performances on the weekend and a weekly contest Thursdays.
6. The Camp House, 1427 Williams St. (423-702-8081) -- The Camp House has become a popular gathering place to hear local and regional singers/songwriters, blues musicians, classical duets and trios and independent bands. Although relatively small, the Camp House's modern exposed brick-and-piping interior makes it one of the hipper venues. It also offers poetry and short-story slams, arts forums, open-mike nights and a Sunday worship service. Although it is still renowned as a haven for coffee aficionados, the Camp House now serves beer as well.
7. The Honest Pint, 35 Patten Parkway. (423-468-4192) -- One of the newest music venues/eateries to hit the Scenic City opened in December 2010 as the city's only Irish pub. Along with its food, the venue, born out of the highly renovated ashes of Parkway Billiards Club, is also focusing on serving tunes, offering live music every Wednesday and Thursday as well as a free Sunday show.
8. Raw Sushi Bar and Nightclub, 409 Market St. (423-756-1919) -- From tuna rolls accompanied by performances by singer/songwriters in the chic, narrow confines of its downstairs eatery to a DJ-fueled dance party upstairs, Raw has the night covered from dusk to dawn. The venue features a weekly slate of entertainment ranging from karaoke to singers/songwriters and regional bands brought in by owner Jim Striker, a veteran promoter with a long history on Chattanooga's music scene.
9. The Palms at Hamilton, 6925 Shallowford Road (423-499-5055) -- Located one exit north on Interstate 75 from Hamilton Place mall, The Palms offers fine dining and near nightly entertainment on one of two in-house stages, The Palms Lounge and The Coconut Room. The menu emphasizes surf and turf dishes, but the music schedule is a blend of live performances by area singers/songwriters and lounge acts, as well as weekly swing music by the Monday Nite Big Band.
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.