When actor Terrence Howard isn’t hustlin’ or flowin’, he likes to wax poetic: “Every one of us is an artist,” he once said. “You really can stroll into any venue that you want as long as you take your time to learn the etiquette of that venue.” So if Mr. Howard is right, which he no doubt is, a successful performance should be a cakewalk for those bands with the confidence to stroll. Here are a handful of venues in and around New Haven with unique etiquettes that you and your band should learn.

Koffee Too?

Want some lyrics with your latte? Melody with your mocha? Jingle with your java? Not only can our local coffee shop get you through an all-nighter, it can also launch your very own singing career. Or more likely, amass an apathetic audience filled with iPod-toting students and germinating couples “grabbing” their very first coffee. The tearoom prefers solo performers to five-piece bands, so grab your guitar (or harmonica) and start writing some soulful folk (or twangy bluegrass). K2 may be no Central Perk, but that doesn’t mean that a Phoebe Buffay does not live among us.

New Haven Green

The Arcade Fire performs impromptu gigs on street corners. So maybe if your band performs on a street corner, you too will be hailed as an indie rock paragon. And what New Haven intersection gets more action than the Green? Exactly. None. Rally the troupes, spam our inboxes and send us heaps of Facebook invites, because no crowd is too big for this friendly and convenient venue. You don’t even have to pay to play! If you’re really into self-promotion, don’t have a big budget and plan to attract thousands, this might be the best venue for you.


Newly remodeled after a house fire last spring, Bar is far more than just mashed potato pizza and home-brewed beer. The restaurant, bar, nightclub and brewery features live bands every Sunday night between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Sign your band up to play in one of Bar’s three copper-adorned industrial spaces. And since Bar got that whole fire business out of the way last year, your band won’t have to worry about the aftermath of a Great White debacle.

Toad’s Place

“History is alive at Toad’s Place,” exclaimed the New York Times in an article last November. But the venue, which can fit 750 of your closest friends, is not just famous for its Saturday Night Dance Party. Over the years, the club has witnessed performances by everyone from Bob Dylan to Bobby Brown, so it only makes sense that your whiny emo band should be next: The club hosts a Battle of the Bands each year. And as for a Toad’s etiquette per Mr. Howard’s pithy remark? You can discover that one on your own.

Firehouse 12

Located at 45 Crown St., Firehouse 12 boasts a recording studio, performance space and bar in one convenient and comfy niche. The club hosts a seasonal weekly jazz series and the performances of bands of a breadth of genres and styles. Seating 75, Firehouse 12 offers an acoustically balanced, soundproofed space, complete with sound and lighting systems to enhance your performance. If your jazz ensemble is looking to host an intimate and swanky affair, this is the ideal venue for you.

But don’t stop there! Scout out Yale’s very own Payne Whitney. Snoop your way through your residential college’s kitchen. Scale the granola bar walls of the A&A; who know what you’ll find on the roof. Point is, whether you’re looking for a sprawling arena, infamous dive or cozy club, opportunities abound in the Elm City.