.Best of Santa Cruz County 2019: Music & Nightlife


Best Craft Brewer (local)

Discretion Brewing

  1. A local community-oriented business, Discretion Brewing is operated by generations of the local Genco family and their brewers.
  2. Discretion Brewery uses only organic ingredients in their brews, and also has a beer-centered kitchen operation specializing in snacks and shareable comfort food.
  3. The first brewery in Santa Cruz to invest in solar power to brew its beer.
  4. One hundred percent of all the used grain goes to local pigs instead of in the trash. That adds up to 225,000 pounds diverted from landfills annually.
  5. Discretion hosts “Love Monday” each Monday, where they feature—and donate to—a local non-profit.


Best Live Music Venue

Moe’s Alley

  1. Moe’s features live music four or five nights a week, often from nationally or internationally prominent performers who’ve been making regular visits to Santa Cruz for years. Among those who have played Moe’s often enough to be honorary locals include Dave Wakeling of the English Beat, Jerry Garcia sideman Melvin Seals, reggae stars such as the Mighty Diamonds and Sly & Robbie, and blues greats like Chris Cain and Coco Montoya, among many others. best of santa cruz moe's alley
  2. Moe’s originally opened its doors in 1991, first as a straight blues club to showcase the surviving-but-often-overlooked masters of the mid-century blues boom, such as Pinetop Perkins, Albert Collins and Jimmy Rogers. The club also provided a stage for underappreciated local greats like Bob Lowery and Virgil Thrasher.
  3. The club soon diversified its sound and gave local audiences the opportunity to experience a number of amazing acts they could not see otherwise, like the kitschy Russian surf band the Red Elvises. It also became the home stage for such acts as SambaDa and B-Side Players.
  4. Moe’s was the organizer of the Santa Cruz Blues Festival during that festival’s 20-plus-year run in Aptos. The festival gave locals a chance to experience such giants in concert as Ray Charles, Etta James and B.B. King.
  5. Among the treats in store at Moe’s in 2019 is a two-show night with Los Lobos (pictured), a performance by Shooter (son of Waylon) Jennings, the great California roots rockers the Blasters, and back-to-back shows with Metalachi, the world’s only heavy metal mariachi band.




515 Kitchen & Cocktails

515 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 425-5051, 515santacruz.com

secure document shredding

RUNNERS-UP The Crow’s Nest, Red Room  



Molly McVeigh @ Rush Inn

RUNNERS-UP Manny Mescalito @ Front & Cooper, Josh Youngblood @ Oswald


Craft Brewer (local)

Discretion Brewing

2703 41st Ave. Suite A, Soquel, 316-0662, discretionbrewing.com

RUNNERS-UP Humble Sea, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales


Dance Club


1209 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 429-8070, motivsc.com

RUNNERS-UP Blue Lagoon, Moe’s Alley


Fancy Cocktails

515 Kitchen & Cocktails

515 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 425-5051, 515santacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Front & Cooper, Oswald


Happy Hour

Hula’s Island Grill  

221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz, 426-4852, hulastiki.com

RUNNERS-UP The Crow’s Nest, Shadowbrook



Boardwalk Bowl / Coasters Bar & Grill

115 Cliff St., Santa Cruz, 423-5590, beachboardwalk.com

RUNNERS-UP Blue Lounge, I Love Sushi


Live Music

Moe’s Alley

1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz,

479-1854, moesalley.com

RUNNERS-UP Catalyst, Kuumbwa Jazz


Local Band

Extra Large


RUNNERS-UP Coffis Brothers, Sambada


Local Musician

Jesse Daniel


RUNNERS-UP Alex Lucero, Joe Ferrara, Patti Maxine



El Palomar

1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz,

425-7575, elpalomarsantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Margaritaville, Tortilla Flats


Place to Play Pool

Fast Eddy’s

4300 Capitola Rd., Capitola, 462-1882, fasteddysbilliards.net

RUNNERS-UP Brady’s Yacht Club, Surf City Billiards


Place to Play Darts

Poet & Patriot Irish Pub

320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 426-8620

RUNNERS-UP One Double Oh Seven Club, Surf City Billiards



Parish Publick House

841 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-8620, theparishpublick.com

RUNNERS-UP Poet & Patriot, Rosie McCann’s  


Tap Room

Beer Thirty

2504 S Main St., Soquel, 477-9967, beerthirtysantacruz.com

RUNNERS-UP Lupulo Craft Beer House, West End Tap & Kitchen





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