Philly livens up with new music venues

Mikey Jr. and the Stone Cold Blues host an open jam session every Sunday night at The Twisted Tail.

 There’s a ton of music hitting Philly this fall thanks to some
noteworthy new venues. Where to catch live tunes — from blues jam
sessions to Pitchfork darlings. 

Union Transfer
1004-26 Spring Garden St.

What Spaghetti Warehouse lacked in decent spaghetti, it more than made up for with its sweet building. Now, a live music venue dream team (Bowery Presents + R5 Productions + Four Corners Management) is capitalizing on the former tourist trap’s Spring Garden digs with Union Transfer, the new all-ages, all-genres, all-out performance space. 

“Something really unique about Union Transfer is the ability for the room to expand if need be,” R5 founder Sean Agnew tells us of the building, which once served as a train station (hence the name). “Union Transfer will hold 600 people; but if we have an artist who is selling more tickets, the stage, sound system and lights can move back so we can accommodate more guests. We hope this new room attracts even more artists who want to play Philly.”

The Twisted Tail
509 S. Second St.

Downstairs, it’s all bourbon and crawfish-topped mac and cheese at this new Headhouse restaurant. But upstairs, the slightly spooky Southern vibe gives way to “The Juke Joint,” a venue hosting a diverse lineup of bluesy local musicians — and plenty of mint juleps, obviously. We asked Twisted Tail owner (and musician) George Reilly for his fall playlist. Put it on at your Halloween gatherings for an instant “Monster Mash” upgrade:

“Couldn’t Stand The Weather,” Stevie Ray Vaughan
“Black Magic Woman,” Carlos Santana
“I Put A Spell On You,” Nina Simone
“Little Red Rooster,” Howlin’ Wolf
“Justify The Thrill,” Blues Traveler
“Rattle These Bones,” Hoots & Hellmouth
“Bottom Of The Barrel,” Amos Lee
“The Story,” Brandi Carlisle
“Marry Me,” Train
“Escaping Sargasso,” Lotus

Milkboy Coffee
1100 Chestnut St.

It used to be that you’d have to hike it to Ardmore if you wanted a little Milkboy in your life. But now the coffee shop/venue has opened a third space in Midtown — and it brought a liquor license along for the ride. That’s right, Ardmore: You can hoard all the grass and fancy schools you want, but your coffee shops will be ours.

Listen up!

Next weekend presents a problem for live music junkies: Popped! Music Festival and Philly F/M are going down at the same time. Our advice? Hit up a little bit of both, because there’s plenty of time if you plan wisely and keep a good cab driver on speed dial. Philly F/M scatters itself across the city Sept. 22-25, while Popped! is posting up at FDR Sept. 23-24. Happy hopping!


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