Selecting Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2012 wasn't easy. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this RFT Music series, we're beeboping and scattin' our way through notable runners-up in a number of categories. This week: The ten best rock clubs in St. Louis.
See Also: - The Ten Best Dive Bars in St. Louis - The Eight Bars With the Best Beer Selections in St. Louis - The Five Best Places for Karaoke in St. Louis - The Ten Best 3 a.m. Bars in St. Louis: 2013 - The Eight Best Gay Bars in St. Louis
The Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard; 314-726-6161)
St. Louis' premier mid-sized venue, the Pageant is likely to book the national acts that you've been waiting to pass through this part of the country. Due to the big names, you'll mostly show your dedication by waiting in line for tickets or arriving right as doors open. There's enough room for everyone in the array of seating, standing and dancing room, but you'll still battle to reach the front of the dance pit in hopes that Die Antwoord's Zef (Roger Ballen) strips right before your eyes. The balcony is perfect for those craving a full shot of the action during a packed show. If seeking a break from the action, drinking-age patrons can step in the venue's attached Halo Bar. As the Loop's premier concert spot, the venue is a well worth a visit -- especially given that the space is listed as one of the top ten club-level venues in the world, in terms of ticket sales.
The Firebird (2706 Olive Street; 314-535-0353)
The focus may be rock, but even if it's indie, hip-hop, metal, folk or something beyond obscure (that all the cool kids are listening to these days), the Firebird probably has a show you'd enjoy. The 2012 calender featured Naked Raygun, Gaslight Anthem, Lil B, Mission of Burma, Doomtree, Mayer Hawthorne and the County, Propagandhi and more. It was voted 2012's all around best rock club in our reader's poll and housed the 2012 best show, when Big Freedia sissy-bounced her way into town. The Firebird is a class act when it comes to music selection. The staff's tendency to books bands that have already developed a following based solely on a five-song EP demonstrates the Firebird's top-notch abilities in discovering the next big thing. Pass through the dark, low ceiling-ed venue to experience a night of close dancing, headbanging or whatever it is that you're in to -- you'll find it all here.
Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-4444)
Don't let the family atmosphere burger joint and late-night Delmar Loop hotspot upstairs trick you. Blueberry Hill is home to one of the finest small-sized venues in the city: the Duck Room. The space is named after Chuck Berry's classic guitar walk and is where the rock & roll godfather and St. Louis native happens to play monthly shows. The tastefully hung neon "Duck Room" sign elicits the air of an old school secret basement club amid the walls littered with records, posters comic books and more. But all vintage impressions aside, Blueberry Hill draws in terrific and current local and national acts. Make sure you peruse the photos by the bathrooms that show off the famous folks who have dropped in while you scarf down one of Blueberry Hill's world class burgers as a mid-set snack.
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