Top 5 PDX music venues

115 NW Fifth Ave.

Though it is not a general favorite of the Portland music scene, Backspace’s all-ages landscape offers what so many other venues do not—drinks for the of-age and sober fun for the youngsters.
The older crowd might get frustrated with the young’uns kicking the backs of their heads in an attempt to prove that moshing and crowd-surfing are still cool, but it does provide an avenue through which everyone can enjoy local and touring acts.


320 SE Second Ave.

Branx and Rotture is a terrific joint venture: Both are located in the same building, with Branx, the larger of the two, downstairs, and Rotture, which generally houses the 21+ shows, upstairs.

The venues have attracted the likes of Off With Their Heads, Dead To Me, American Steel and The Smoking Popes. This combination venue surely has something for everyone.

350 W Burnside St.

While this is not one for the all-ages crowd, people over 21 will love this venue, if only for the fact that they do not have to be roped off to enjoy a cocktail and a live show. With fire and brimstone as its aesthetic theme, Dante’s provides showgoers with pleasantly hellish interiors and an intimate stage setting for optimal enjoyment.

While the venue has suffered a general lack of big names as of late, the bar has featured acts ranging from The Revival Tour to Nothington.

The Hawthorne Theatre Lounge
1507 SE 39th Ave.

The lounge is in the same building as the theater, and it offers up a much more pleasurable music-going experience. Attracting smaller acts than the theater, the lounge offers an up-close and intimate setting for audience and performer.

Catching a show at the theater? Step over to the lounge for a preconcert beverage; as luck would have it, there are usually smaller acts playing as a prequel to the larger events going on next door.

The Know

2026 NE Alberta St.

Located in the heart of Northeast Portland, The Know is a 21+ venue with more soul than can be contained in one building. The bar generally has excellent and fast service despite the big crowds, and all music takes place in a separate room, so bar-goers can keep bar-going while showgoers can pay the cover and proceed to the performance.

A great place to mingle and enjoy eclectic live music, The Know serves as one of the best places to take in a show in the Portland music scene.