by Britt Chester


It’s not a secret that the Tavern in the upstairs portion of Ziggy’s plays host to live music, but the spot is still a diamond in the rough on random weekend and weekday nights. Tickets to anything going on in the Tavern rarely exceed $10, if that, and there is almost zero sound bleed from the adjacent big room where headlining acts typically play, so the Tavern is very much a congregational spot with affordable drinks, good live music, and an assortment of music fans. The venue also does some open jam nights during the week that are free, making it a great place to see local musicians working out kinks in their craft.


This isn’t really a hidden gem, but it’s one that gets overlooked a lot by rookie vinyl hunters. The dollar bins at CFBG and Underdog are the shiny “lost and found” of the music world. If someone lost their enthusiasm for a record after playing it hundreds of times, then you can find it in the dollar bins. One argument that people make nowadays about purchasing music is that it’s too expensive to buy hard copies, and more efficient to just download it. Sadly, that is true, but the dollar bins at your local record shop are what dreams are made of. Where else can you purchase a slightly used copy of Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions,” or a scuffed sleeve-wearing limited edition Danny Tenaglia imprint? The dollar bins. Save yourself a couple bucks, and a couple gigs of data, and go thumb through the slightly used records.


The small record shop located on the edge of downtown Winston-Salem sells a lot of records, but some people aren’t aware that the place also doubles as a venue. You know what’s great about a venue that isn’t really a venue? It makes a great venue. The sound stays in the small space, the bands are rising acts looking for places to play, and the crowd is always going to be a bunch of like-minded music lovers who want to be surrounded (quite literally) with music. If you get the chance, go check a show out (and while you’re there, browse the dollar records.)


Longshanks is a second story bar in downtown Greensboro that is also the coolest pool hall in the area. You can get cheap Coors Banquet, round it out with a whiskey shot, and party with your friends. What some people don’t seem to know is that Longshanks is also a fringe venue that hosts some of the areas best local DJ talent on weeknights. Tuesday’s are dedicated to the Gate City Get Down crew, while other nights feature open mic events with some area talent.


Buskers are anyone who sings, dances, or recites on the street or in a public place, and they provide a wonderful soundtrack for downtown life. In Winston-Salem, the corner of 4th and Spruce Streets provide a great stage for busking, and you can almost always find a musician performing there. Sure, it’s unorthodox, and some businesses that are near the busking corner are not fans of the sound bleed, but that doesn’t stop people from stopping and enjoying the music. Many cities have found a way to manage buskers by implementing a “busker permit,” but Winston-Salem has yet to adopt this and instead allows buskers to obtain a foot peddler’s permit, which forces them to stop playing after midnight. Former YES! Weekly writer Brittany Mollis wrote about the buskers at 4th and Spruce last year, and though some people aren’t fans, the music still plays on. !