Just a short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge from the south or down the 101 from the north and you’ll find yourself in the quaint small towns of Southern Marin. Mill Valley has redwoods and Mt Tamalpais, while Sausalito has sailboats, a short ferry ride to Angel Island, and more ice cream than you can possibly eat: both towns offer music venues both modern and steeped in a vibrant history.
142 Throckmorton Theatre
Originally called The Hub Theater when it opened in 1915, 142 Throckmorton Theatre is a one stop shop for all things creative – there’s Tuesday comedy night, youth musical theatre productions, classes, and art exhibits. Within that lively calendar is an abundant spattering of live music performances – check out their website to find record releases and concerts, as well as the revival of their beloved free noon concert series on Wednesdays running through May 2023 that highlight high quality Bay Area classical musicians. Check website for show times.
142 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley, 415.383.9600
No Name Bar
The No Name Bar has been a most-beloved neighborhood hang-out since 1959. This location was one of the favorite watering holes for famed musicians and artists, including Lenny Bruce, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Charles Mingus. It has traditionally featured quality jazz, blues, and rock acts without charging a cover. Today, this small location is a hot-spot for live music and an eclectic atmosphere. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Check website for showtimes.
757 Bridgeway, Sausalito, 415.332.1392
Nestled in the heart of Sausalito, Divino serves as a destination for locals and worldly travelers to settle in and enjoy the heart and soul experienced in this special place. Built with the unity of music and food as the foundation, this successful sixteen-year-old restaurant features some of the best jazz and latin talent in the Bay Area, all accompanied by exceptional organic and locally sourced Florentine cuisine. Open Wednesday and Thursday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner. Check website for show times.
37 Caledonia St, Sausalito, 415.331.9355
Sausalito Seahorse has been serving up excellent Tuscan cuisine and lively evenings of music for over 20 years. They are known not only for the delicious menu overseen by owner Mauro Dusolini, but also for a calendar of events that includes world-renowned flamenco music and dancing, jazz and blues nights, and Sunday evenings devoted to salsa. Restaurant and bar hours are Monday 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Check website for show times.
305 Harbor Drive, Sausalito, 415.331.2899
Sweetwater Music Hall
The original Sweetwater Music Hall was established at a different address in Mill Valley in 1972 and was deemed one of the best live music venues in America with performers including Bob Weir, Etta James, Gregg Allman, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison and many more. It closed its doors in 2007 and reopened 5 years later in its current location. Sweetwater Music Hall continues to be a legendary venue, often referred to by agents and artists as a “Jewel of America.” It is a gathering place for the community and committed to presenting all genres of music and arts, steeped in history while simultaneously making history. Open Thursday and Friday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner, and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Check website for showtimes.
19 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley, 415.388.3850
Once a junkyard, The Junction is now a sprawling beer garden and outdoor music venue with Mt Tam views. It offers a highly curated beer list with 30 taps of local beer and Neapolitan pies from PizzaHacker. Firepits, permanent patio heaters and starry skies make for truly magical evenings. Catch free shows on the Beer Garden stage Tuesdays and Sundays and look out to buy tickets to bimonthly House Parties with some of your favorite bands. Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check the website for show times.
226 CA-1, Mill Valley, 415.888.3544
Emilie Rohrbach has taught music and theatre to grades pre-school through 8th in San Francisco and Marin counties for the last twenty years. She has been a freelance writer for Divine Caroline for five years, and her writing has appeared in Narratively, Hippocampus, Common Ground, Travelers’ Tales, and Marin Magazine, among others. She is passionate about Room to Read, Shanti Bhavan, and Destiny Arts and serves on the board of Knighthorse Theatre Company.