Best of 2003: Best First-Gig Bar

Etta's Place
6179 University Avenue, College Area
619-582-6730

Etta's Place books bands five nights a week, and owner Etta Keeler is proud that she's given first-time exposure to local acts including Beer Money, the Fremonts, Collage Menage, Beyond Blue (who have a CD called Live At Etta's), and Deeper Purple. "A lot of clubs don't give newer bands a chance, but everybody has to start somewhere," she says. "Anybody that wants to play here can just give me a demo tape. I'm usually at the bar on Sunday afternoons and evenings. I go by how they sound and what I think will appeal to my customers. We mostly do blues and rock and roll. The bar doesn't have a cover charge so bands don't get a gate percentage. I guarantee them a set amount and they get more based on drink sales. I tell them the more friends you get in here buying drinks, the more often your band will get booked!"

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