Winchester is a town full of opportunities and potential. There are plenty of things to be discovered, but sometimes you don’t know where to look for excitement. In the depths of our beloved city, there’s a new scene brewing that’s just waiting to explode. The best way to explore the music scene is to, of course, go watch bands perform live at a show. This also allows you to meet other musicians and music supporters alike. If you’ve wondered where the best places to see some good music in town are, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a guide to all the up-to-date venues where the great local musicians go to perform. This also includes any businesses that provide a space to see performers that could have different main functions.
Bright Box: This is probably the most well-known venue of Winchester, located downtown along the walking mall. The Bright Box welcomes plenty of different types of acts, ranging from bluegrass and country to punk and hardcore. They also hold several other events, including comedy nights, drag shows, and other forms of entertainment. This is a good venue for sitting and eating while enjoying a show, but they occasionally clear the floor of tables and chairs for bigger acts.
Valley Cat: If you want to discover new underground artists, this is the place to see a show. There’s constantly fresh and upcoming musicians coming through weekly that usually vary from indie to metal (and everything in between). Valley Cat is more low key, but it targets a more specific, younger audience. It’s likely the best place for local bands who want to put themselves out there, so this is the venue to go to as far as supporting the local music scene.
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Blue Fox Billiards: If you enjoy lounges and good music, this is the place to go. They hold shows that are all-ages as well as ones that are 18+, so you should take note of which shows you’re able to attend. Blue Fox has a variety of musicians performing from well-known acts to small, local artists. It can easily shift from laid back games of pool with good music in the background to a full-on venue setting with great bands to watch. It really just depends on what you’re interested in.
Below the Fringe: Run by Phil Zuckerman, this is more of a spunky, underground venue that offers a warm, welcoming atmosphere. To add to its quirkiness, Phil’s wife, Linda Zuckerman owns a hair salon directly above his venue, called Beyond the Fringe (hence Phil’s clever title). Unfortunately, Beyond the Fringe was faced with a devastating fire that closed down the hair salon along with Below the Fringe. The venue will reopen soon, but it hasn’t specified exactly when.
Hopscotch Coffee Roasters: Primarily, Hopscotch is a coffee shop, but they hold plenty of exciting events that are worth seeing. This is where you can find the heart of the scene – a friendly community where everybody knows everybody. Enjoy a cup of coffee while you watch great friends having a great time. Their shows are free, but they do accept donations. Hopscotch offers an incredibly comfortable and artsy atmosphere and is great for artists and musicians to meet and connect.
These are the main places to check out, but there are other businesses that offer live music as well. The Winchester Book Gallery will sometimes hold a punk show or an acoustic act, while Hideaway Cafe has acoustic artists playing about every week. Make sure to keep an eye out for upcoming shows at any of the venues listed.