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Lend us your ears: 7 underrated live-music venues
The Loft Map It
1135 S. Lamar St.
214-421-2021
The Loft at Gilley's in Dallas

Wedged between two much more high-profile venues, Palladium Ballroom and Gilley’s, the oft-overlooked Loft is a more intimate space. It has been rigged for everything from weddings to beer-hurling, old-school mosh pits that churn while The Buzzcocks play. The deck has a great view of downtown, the bartenders are quick and there’s doable bar food downstairs.

Curtain Club Map It
2800 Main St.
214-742-6207
Curtain Club in Dallas

The Curtain Club historically has relied on one genre, which includes heavy acts like Drowning Pool and Slow Roosevelt. Truth is, the well-laid-out Curtain Club is one of the best live-music venues in Texas, and this place is open to all kinds of music. One other-than-metal example: the “Ghost of Blind Lemon” assembly of bands, an ode to the gone-but-not-forgotten venue that used to be across the street.

Lola's Fort Worth Map It
2736 W. Sixth St.
817-877-0666

In Fort Worth, this is a pretty heralded spot. But if you’re looking at it through a Dallas lens, it seems like a normal bar with an average stage and an Old West-style rear deck. But local promoters have brought in some great national touring acts who could have played a place with more square feet but far less personality. It’s one of the biggest little venues in Texas.

El Sibil Map It
122 E. Fifth St.

It might not hold a liquor license or a typical schedule of shows. (Monthly is the norm.) But considering the vibe, great lighting and decent acoustics, those are but minor flaws for what is a very, very special place to see live music. The creative epicenter of video whiz Jason Whitbeck and crew’s YesGo Productions, El Sibl is part video studio, part house party and part happy accident.

Foundation Room Map It
2200 N. Lamar St.
214-978-4870

Like The Loft in the Gilley’s complex, the Foundation Room gets overshadowed by its big brother, the House of Blues main stage. But the Foundation Room has got it where it counts: a big, solid-wood, general-admission floor; above-average acoustics; a stage at one end; and a big bar at the other. If you must, there are seats flanking each side. (Wuss!)

The Foundry Map It
2303 Pittman St.
214-749-1112
Interior of The Foundry bar in Dallas

Why this open-air fest is downplayed as a live-music venue (and cast as a patio bar attached to a hell of a family restaurant called Chicken Scratch) is beyond us music geeks. With gravel under your feet, picnic tables galore, a mile-long list of beers and plenty of diversity on stage – from electronic and avant-garde duos to indie-rock acts from Austin – this isn’t the first time someone has written that The Foundry begs to be a legit live-music venue.

The Boiler Room Map It
2723 Elm St.
214-758-0104

Like its Deep Ellum neighbor Curtain Club, the Boiler Room is typecast as a rock bar. (It doesn’t help that one of the owners is in Drowning Pool.) Truth is, this place is down for whatever, and while the Boiler Room does end up booking a lot of rock, it’s not so unusual to find other types of acts on stage. The lounge side is cozy and plastered with big screens, and the burgers are mighty fine. Plus it has a fairly spacious stage for a place this size.

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