Here are the 4 best places to catch good music in Carbondale

Concertgoers react to rapper Lil Wayne on stage early Tuesday morning in Levels nightclub in Carbondale. 

Concertgoers react to rapper Lil Wayne on stage early Tuesday morning in Levels nightclub in Carbondale. 

By Jose Perez, @JosePerezDE_

Carbondale is known for its rich music scene. Showcasing national and local bands for decades, it has become a nurturing ground for many genres.

Nightlife in Carbondale consists of house parties, the local bar scene and whatever musical acts are in town. On any weekend, people can listen to a variety of genres such as folk, rock, country, bluegrass, hip-hop, punk and even electronic music.

Here are the best places in Carbondale to catch your favorite music.


Folk and country — Pinch Penny Pub & Beer Garden 

Pinch Penny Pub & Beer Garden opened its doors more than 40 years ago.

It now serves as a bar and restaurant with more than 20 beer brands, sandwiches, burgers and pizza. The local bar also hosts live music and televised sports both inside and outside. 

Musical acts such as Granger Smith, Ryan Ideus and The Hillbillys, Murphy500 and Keller Williams have performed at Pinch Penny, making it the best place to catch folk and country music. Especially if you’re outside in one of the biggest beer gardens the city has to offer. 

Rap and hip-hop — Levels 

Levels bar and nightclub, located on Grand Avenue, is one of the bars in Carbondale that doesn’t consistently offer live music.


The last performer to visit the nightclub was rapper Lil Wayne in April of 2015. Rap group the Ying Yang Twins also graced the stage in 2014 back when it was called Cali’s.

The bar has a large dance floor and DJs that keep the party going throughout the weekend. The DJs routinely play hip-hop and rap music so fans of the two genres will never leave disappointed.

Punk music — The Lost Cross house

Founded in 1986 by Chris Cross and Mikey Snot, Lost Cross is one of the “do-it-yourself” houses in Carbondale, location undisclosed.

For 30 years, Lost Cross has nurtured Carbondale’s underground punk scene and served as a hangout for SIU students.

From the outside, Lost Cross looks more like a regular, older house than a music venue. But once you step inside you’ll find walls riddled with graffiti and a grimy basement that screams punk louder than the music.

Notable acts have included a variety of local punk bands, such as The Jukebox Romantics, The Gunshy, Obsidian Sword and Pass the Flask.

Bluegrass and rock music — Hangar 9

Located on the Strip, Hangar 9 bar and live music venue was founded in 1978. Since then, the bar has showcased a variety of music, including hip-hop open mics, bluegrass, rock, and tribute and cover bands.

Hangar 9 has hosted bands such as Aaron Kamm and The One Drops, Porch Fire, Old Shoe, Future Rock, Crosseyed & Phishless (Phish cover band) and Till the Morning Comes (Grateful Dead cover band) among many others.

Apart from music, Hangar 9 prides itself in being the first bar in Carbondale to offer craft beers. 

Jose Perez can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.