Drawn to its reputation as a laid-back, creative-thinking community, Marin County has long been a gathering ground for musicians (The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin, David Crosby, Van Morrison, and Huey Lewis are just a few of the rock legends who have lived and played here.)
From the 1960s through 80s, Marin's music scene thrived in clubs like the Lion's Share in San Anselmo, Sleeping Lady in Fairfax, Uncle Charlies in Corte Madera, the Sweetwater in Mill Valley and New George's in San Rafael. Furthering this rich legacy, the live music scene continues on here in taverns, nightclubs and music venues on an almost daily basis.
Here are four of Marin's newest spots to enjoy live music:
The Fenix Supper Club is the newest star to appear in Marin's vibrant music universe. The club showcases local and national musicians in an intimate, elegant setting in downtown San Rafael. Music programs are directed by industry veteran and general manager Merle Saunders, and the Fenix's stage hosts jazz, blues, reggae and rock musicians six nights a week.
Novato's Hopmonk Tavern is the latest incarnation of the tavern, beer garden and live music venue (they also have locations in Sonoma and Sebastopol.) From reggae to rock, this is the place to hear music in northern Marin.
Sweetwater Music Hall is Mill Valley's favorite music venue and has been reborn in the town's renovated Masonic Hall. Partly owned by Bob Weir (the Grateful Dead, Furthur), the club is a state-of-the-art nightclub and presents nationally recognized, top-quality entertainment. It's also a showcase for local and emerging talent, including Open Mic Mondays. The restaurant is the culinary domain of renowned chef-restaurateur Gordon Drysdale (Pizza Antica, Café de Amis), who creates delicious fare crafted from fresh, locally sourced and organic ingredients.
Terrapin Crossroads is the musical playground of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. This casual, canal-side eatery and music hall in San Rafael attracts some the best roots musicians around. The house band is fronted by Lesh's son, Grahame, and is often heard fueling music fans with roots-influenced music during happy hour. Keep an eye on their calendar for performances featuring "special guests" and you may be in for a surprise.
For complete visitor and overnight lodging information, see the website of the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.visitmarin.org.