Munich has a constant stream of both international and local musicians. Venues for live music range from a former gas station, to warehouses, to stadiums. As a man who loves live music and attends at least a few concerts a month, I think it’s high time I give some feedback to the visiting community as to where you should look for live music in Munich. Even if the band is great, if the sound is awful it might not be worth going, so have a look at the top venues in Munich:
- The Backstage – This is my personal favorite venue, due to its sound system, visibility to the stage, and location. The Backstage is located at a former gas station just north of the S-bahn station called “Hirschgarten.” It has several areas for live music and often bands from completely different genres in each area. The largest area is called the Werk, the mid-size hall is simply called the Halle, and the smallest stage is the club. In the summer there is also an outdoor stage. I would argue this venue has the best sound in town, is the easiest venue for a tourist to find, and offers the best viewing possibilities in case you actually want to see the band.
- The Feierwerk – Like the Backstage, the Feierwerk has a few different venues at one location. The largest is called Hansa 39, the mid-size venue is the Orange House, and the small cellar club is called Sunny Red. None of these venues look like they were in any way intended to ever host concerts of any kind. Each awkward in their own way, the Feierwerk hosts equal amounts of touring bands and local bands and even offers a small skateboarding area just in front of Hansa 39. The closest U-bahn stop is Heimeranplatz, but make sure to map your route from there with google maps (or your GPS-enabled phone) as there are no signs to point you to the Feierwerk.
- The Zenith – The Zenith is a huge old factory building on the northern edge of Munich. It hosts top pop, rock, and hip-hop bands. It is just one small step down from the Olympic Hall as far as size, but I must warn you: this is my least favorite music venue as the sound is horrible at best. Former factories were not meant for high quality sound and as this is just one long metal building, your ears will suffer even if it is one of your favorite bands. Also, if you’re less than seven feet tall, you probably won’t be able to see the band.
- Kultfabrik/Optimalwerke – This is a series of clubs, most of which do not have live music, but there are a few that do. The two largest concert halls in the KultFabrik and Optimalwerke area are the Tonhalle (on the KultFabrik side) and the Muffathalle (on the Optimalwerke side). The reason I throw these two together is that they really are right next door to each other and to the untrained eye seem to be part of the same thing, yet they are technically separate. These are large rectangular halls in old factory buildings, but with pretty decent sound. If talking to locals, sometimes they call it Kunstpark Ost. which used to be the areas
- Olympic stadium / Olympic Hall – This is where the largest of Munich’s concerts are held. The Olympic Hall is an indoor venue where as the stadium is outdoor. Only a few shows a year are held at the stadium, but the Olympic Hall is used pretty constantly throughout the year. The stadium has over 69,000 seats while the Hall has only 15,500.