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Top Rock Bars In The Philadelphia Area

In a city rich with musical heritage, there have always been plenty of rock bars, clubs and fans in Philadelphia to support local music and venues. Whether the club has been around since the sixties or just got started in 2011, each venue defines itself by the music it supports. Read more about the city's rocking music venues.

Hours: Mon - Fri  3 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Sat - Sun  12 p.m. – 2 a.m.

On a street famous for it's arts, entertainment, and eclectic culture, and one that's even has a song recorded about it calling it the hippest street in town (South Street by The Orlons), The Legendary Dobbs has been a long-standing institution for artists and music enthusiasts alike. With artists performing there at their start like Green Day, Nirvana, Bo Diddley, and The Offspring, you never know who might go on to become the next great act that once graced Dobbs' stage.

Hours: Daily 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.

Named after the original owner, a Philadelphia boxer, Johnny Brenda's is a bar, restaurant and music venue. It is located in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. The upstairs music hall holds 250 and has played host to indie rock acts like the Walkmen and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth. You must be 21 to enter and enjoy a show here.

Hours: Click here for schedule

Union Transfer is the city's newest rock bar, taking over the Spaghetti Warehouse in 2011. It's no longer a restaurant and only serves up music. It is a general admission venue, meaning all seating is first come first served. However, it's mostly standing room only with limited seating upstairs in the showroom balcony.  There is ample parking in a private lot behind the venue for $10. Concerts feature indie, alternative music like Henry Rollins, Robert Earl Keen, and Moshav.

Hours: Daily 5 p.m – 2 a.m.

Small, local acts and nationally recognized bands play at North Star Bar, one of Philadelphia's best live music clubs. The stage is set high, making it easy to see the bands from anywhere in the main room or looking down from their cozy balcony. Seats are at a premium in the main concert area, but you can find plenty in an adjacent room to the stage, more suitable for conversation and a quick meal before the show.

Hours: Mon - Fri  3 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Sat - Sun  12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

"The Troc" as it is known was once a burlesque theater back in the late 1880s, making it one of the oldest entertainment venues in the city. Nationally known acts frequent this funky club including a now famous appearance by Pearl Jam when they were making their way up. This  intimate venue makes for great views from nearly anywhere in the club, including the seats in the balcony. The venue has a concession stand that serves pizza, hot dogs, pretzels, candies, other snacks and beverages.

Related: Best dive bars in Philadelphia.

Head to Philadelphia's Best Of pages for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!

Cyndy Drue is a longtime radio and TV personality in Philadelphia. She lives in Center City. Visit her website at or check out her work here.

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