DC music venues can vary widely. Some spaces which feel crowded with a couple dozen people, while others can hold thousands. Some have music that is played so softly that a quiet cough can be highly disruptive, while other play music so loudly that people standing next to one another have to yell into each other’s ear to be heard. In some venues, every audience member strives to hear every note of music, while in others the vast majority of people in the room act as though the musicians aren’t even there.

This diversity of music experiences makes it difficult to break venues into categories, but with over 100 music venues in the District, we thought it necessary to try. We came up with 7 categories, breaking them down according to how the space is designed for music. Note that some venues appear in more than one category, as they have more than one stage and the stages offer different experiences. A good example is the Kennedy Center, where the theaters have a much different feel than the KC Jazz Club or the Millennium stage.

Our categories are as follows:

Performance Halls Icon   Performance Halls – the most formal of the spaces, performance halls are auditoriums in which all seats are focused toward the stage.
Supper Club Icon   Supper Clubs – supper clubs essentially strive to combine the attributes of a performance hall and a restaurant.
Megavenues Icon   Mega Venues – big spaces, big acts, big sound systems, and much less formal than performance halls.
Outdoor Venues Icon   Outdoor Venues – since these are warm weather venues, they’ll be added to the site in the spring.
Venues w Music   Venues with Music – these spaces are multi-purpose; they’re not solely designed to direct an audience’s attention to a performance.
Music w Food Icon   Music w/ Food &/or Drinks – bars or restaurants in which live music events dominate the room.
Food w Music Icon   Food &/or Drinks w/ Music – bars or restaurants in which live music tends to be in the background.