Yelp Announced its 50 Best Music Venues in the U.S., and Dallas Made the List Twice

The Kessler was a movie house in the 1940s. Now it's one of the country's most popular music venues.EXPAND
The Kessler was a movie house in the 1940s. Now it's one of the country's most popular music venues.
Kathy Tran

The Dallas live music scene has officially earned some bragging rights. Crowdsourced review website Yelp just named the top 50 music venues in the U.S., determined by "number of reviews and overall star rating," and a couple of our hometown favorites made the cut.

Kessler Theater and Granada Theater were named numbers 11 and 42, respectively, in the roundup of small and mid-sized venues from every corner of the country.

The list pays its respects to nearly every genre of music, featuring jazz lounges, traditional saloons and rowdy rock clubs. While a few of the venues on the list might be considered holes in the wall or diamonds in the rough, there are plenty of recognizable names, too. Skylark Lounge in Austin, B.L.U.E.S. in Chicago, The Casbah in San Diego, Freddy’s Bar in Brooklyn and another Texan classic, Gruene Hall, also rightfully earned their ranks.

“Being mentioned in the same breath as some of the venues on this list is truly an honor,” Granada Theater marketing manager Mark Kennedy says. “We always love hosting fun shows and including our fans in everything that we do.”

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The Granada Theater opened in Dallas’ Lower Greenville neighborhood in 1946 as a post-World War II movie theater. It wasn’t until 2004 that it reopened as a music venue. It's fresh off of its second annual Free Week — yep, seven nights of live music at no cost — and we think it’s fair to say that the Granada Theater is experiencing a spectacular 71st year.

“Nowhere else in Dallas-Fort Worth hosts an entire week of concerts for free,” Kennedy said. “It’s for the fans — plain and simple.”

Yelp Announced its 50 Best Music Venues in the U.S., and Dallas Made the List TwiceEXPAND
Danny Fulgencio

Granada Theater has succeeded at attracting concertgoers of all kinds with a diverse calendar that has boasted big-name classics such as Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, as well as modern favorites like alt-J and Tame Impala.

The Kessler Theater, nestled in the Bishop Arts District a stone’s throw away, shares many of the Granada’s outstanding qualities. Also originally a 1940s movie house, the Kessler maintains much of its iconic art-deco flair despite undergoing some recent renovations. It receives praise on Yelp for its cozy atmosphere, stellar acoustics and plethora of local and up-and-coming acts.

“If you’ve never seen a show at the Kessler, do yourself and your friends a favor and see a show,” says Adam Ziegler, a media mogul and blogger at the Granada.

It may be a coincidence that two of Dallas’ three remaining movie theaters turned music venues made Yelp’s top 50 venues in the U.S., but there's clearly something special about these historic digs in Dallas.


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