While there's an undeniable energy to a giant stadium packed with fans singing along to their favorite singer, there's something even more undeniably special about live music performed in an intimate setting.
We asked USA TODAY 10Best readers to vote for their favorite music venue with a capacity of fewer than 1,000 people – no nosebleed section at these concert halls. After four weeks of voting, we have a winner!
It was a close race between the winner and runner-up for Best Small Music Venue, but in the end it was Toad's Place in New Haven, Conn. that came out on top with the most reader votes. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015, Toad's Place often sells out shows for the likes of Wiz Kahlifa, LMFAO, The Kooks, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Jake Miller.
Runner-up for Best Small Music Venue is Beerland, an Austin rock club known for its old school vibe, rock 'n' roll karaoke and arcade games.
The top 10 winners in the category Best Small Music Venue are as follows:
- Toad's Place - New Haven, Conn.
- Beerland - Austin
- The Independent - San Francisco
- Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, Ore.
- 40 Watt Club - Athens, Ga.
- Brighton Music Hall - Allston, Mass.
- Great Scott - Allston, Mass.
- Hideout - Chicago
- Lincoln Hall - Chicago
- Mohawk - Austin
A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Ben Kaye and Adam Kivel (Consequences of Sound) were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of America's live music scene.
Additional nominees for Best Small Music Venue included Baby's All Right in Brooklyn, Black Cat in Washington, Bluebird Theater in Denver, Bowery Ballroom in New York, Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, Crocodile in Seattle, El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles, The Troubadour in West Hollywood and Union Transfer in Philadelphia.
10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners. The contest was promoted on 10Best and USA TODAY.License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo