17. El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles
After almost 60 years as a first-run movie house in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile theatre district, the El Rey reinvented itself as a live-music club in 1994 – and hired Bob Dylan to christen its new stage with five shows. The club maintains its classic touches, including a giant staircase, ornate lobby and VIP balcony lounge, but the grand ballroom is simple, narrow and great for shows. Indie-rock agent Tom Windish calls the El Rey and the equally historic Henry Fonda Theatre "the best mid-sized venues in LA." Coming up this year: Dale Earnhart Jr. Jr., Shuggie Otis and, befitting its location, actor Jeff Bridges' band.
Fun Fact: At one point in its history, the space served as a flophouse.