The Best Clubs in America

Our insider picks for the most rocking small rooms in the country


40 Watt Club in Athens, Ga.

Forty Watt Club, Athens, GA
CC Image courtesy SoStark on Flickr

Years before Michael Stipe used to stage-dive into the crowd at this legendary Georgia nightclub, the future R.E.M. frontman would count pennies to get in as doormen stared him down. (He later befriended Nirvana's Dave Grohl over veggie sausage at a restaurant the morning after the Seattle band performed at the 40 Watt.) Originally the rehearsal space for local rock heroes Pylon, the 40 Watt morphed into a bona fide club in 1979, drawing the B-52's, Sonic Youth, X, Patti Smith and Drive-By Truckers.

Capacity: 500
Fun Fact: The 40 Watt Club has changed hands a few times in its 35 year history, but it’s currently owned by Barrie Buck, Peter Buck's ex-wife.

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