May 6, 2024 - Things to Do

The most underrated Portland venues for live music

A photo of a two-story brick building.

Polaris Hall routinely hosts touring acts and local talent. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

We get it: Concerts are expensive these days, and sometimes you just want to enjoy live music without selling a kidney first.

That's why we put together a list of six venues around town where tickets are never too steep and you can pop in whenever the mood strikes.

Mississippi Studios

3939 N Mississippi Ave.

Known as a "musician's music venue," this spot is probably the closest you can get to your favorite artist without getting a restraining order — it can be that intimate.

  • Bonus points because it's connected to Bar Bar, so you can get a burger, hang out on the patio and maybe buy the drummer a beer after the show.

Polaris Hall

635 N Killingsworth Ct.

This striking brick building is known for hosting touring indie artists of all kinds in a living-room-sized space where a massive gold and crystal chandelier glistens above like a French baroque disco ball.

The Goodfoot

2845 SE Stark St.

Primarily known for its revolving cast of local DJs, this Kerns hot spot also hosts a weekly standup comedy show, '80s-era cover bands, and themed, late-night dance parties where the cover charge is never more than $10.

Alberta Street Pub

1036 NE Alberta St.

If you've ever dined at the Alberta Carts in the evening, you may have felt compelled to pop into this bar across the street just based on the sounds coming out of it.

  • There's live music every night of the week, and sometimes no cover charge. The vibe leans toward jazz, folk and soul tunes.

The Jack London Revue

529 SW Fourth Ave.

This is where you can find sultry melodies in a dark, speakeasy-style basement venue with deep-ties to Portland's jazz heyday.

  • Legends B.B. King and the Allman Brothers have played here, as well as locals like trumpeter Farnell Newton and drummer Mel Brown.

Lollipop Shoppe

736 SE Grand Ave.

Portland's local musical talent — from rock to hip-hop, punk to trance — is on full display at this trendy Central Eastside scene.

  • Plus, the bar fare is from the same folks behind Tulip Shop Tavern, with Southern-inspired menu items like po'boys, popcorn shrimp and gumbo — making it the ultimate spot for dinner and a show.

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