A city blessed with a thriving arts, entertainment and nightlife scene, Rochester, NY is the place to go if you fancy venturing upstate or just discovering somewhere that’s awash with awesome bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and live music venues – as well as, of course, outstanding Rochester accommodation. Here’s just some of what makes it such a beacon for those who enjoy a great night out…
Live music venues
- Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water Street 14604) – with its 1,000-seater main hall, this is the city’s biggest and most prolific music club, visited as it is by many big -name son the scene today, such as St. Vincent and Jason Isbell; its smaller club stage tends to be frequented by smaller touring acts
- Lovin’ Cup (300 Park Point Drive 14623) – a bistro and brewpub that’s popular with the locals and always a draw for those from out of town, Lovin’ Cup certainly lives up to its name when it comes to the quality and variety of beers it has on top, while its commitment to live entertainment is second none; here then, every night of the week you can enjoy open mics and live music that truly crosses the gamut (local, national-level and international soft-acoustic, blues, rock, indie, Americana, folk, jazz, bluegrass and alt-country acts)
- Bug Jar (219 Monroe Avenue14607) – this eclectic and down-at-heel place is where to head if you’re into acts at the punk and hardcore end of the rock spectrum; all the best local and regional bands play here
- Montage Music Hall (50 Chestnut Street 14604) – another hard rock (and metal) mainstay, this venue seats up to 300 patrons, having served Rochester, NY’s music scene for more than two decades
- Flour City Station (170 East Avenue 14604) – a favorite among jam bands (the sort who love those long improvised stretches in their sets), this is a staple then for groove, funk and rock bands touring both NY state and nationally; with its chilled, convivial atmos, it’s also a great place to check out rotating art exhibits and to delve into a plate of decent pub grub.
- Vinyl Nightclub (291 Alexander Street 14607) – a downtown venue that’s a haven for loves of old-school dance tracks; the hits that populated the charts back in the ‘90s, predominantly
- One Nightclub and Ultra Lounge (1 Ryan Alley 14607) – spanning two floors, this venue boasts a thumping, bumping dancefloor upstairs where electro-house music hits are the order of the day late into the night and VIP rooms (complete with low-lighting fireplaces) downstairs
- Vertex Nightclub (169 N. Chestnut Street 14604) – one of Rochester’s chief goth hang-outs for the past decade, Vertex is an underground club that loves nothing more than hosting special event nights; should somewhere deep-down and dirty be your thing, this may be the place for you, not least as one online reviewer exclaims “if a dive bar and nightclub were to have a child, Vertex would be it”.
(listed according to neighborhood)
- Park Avenue – great for the best hotels in Rochester, as well as shopping, dining and, yes, drinking, this area’s perfect for a relatively quiet night out; try bars like Dragonfly Tavern, Magpie Irish Pub and The Frog Pond
- East End – always popular come the weekend, this district’s packed full of bars and restaurants that appeal to twenty-somethings; favourite establishments include Murphy’s Law and, for a British pub-esque place, there’s always the Old Toad
- Neighborhood of the Arts – an ever growing (and ever more popular) area, this neighborhood’s also ideal for a night out of dining or imbibing; among the best watering holes are the Mexican-themed Salena’s and Nox
- South Wedge – where the city’s youthful arty types hang out, South Wedge is where to head for off-the-beaten-path venues like the craft-beer-toting Tap & Mallet and Lux Lounge, which not only serves up excellent, original cocktails but also offers an outdoor fire pit.