In a dozen cities around the country, House of Blues strives to bring the hottest musical acts of nearly every genre to the people in a comfortable, clean, and lively environment. Sadly, nowhere does the venue fall shorter of that goal than in San Diego. Like its nationwide counterparts, HOB San Diego is clean, has a pretty solid sound system, and is decorated with slightly cajun-inspired, pantheistic ornamentation. Unlike the other HOB venues, our version has quite a bit of trouble with that “hottest musical acts” bit, booking a shocking number of duds in what could be a stacked calendar.

Opened in 2005, the 1,100-capacity venue sits on the Northern edge of the Gaslamp, on 5th Avenue and Broadway. The main music hall sits underground with a small seated balcony overlooking the stage from three sides. With a New-Orleans-inspired restaurant in the back, it aims to be an all-night hotspot where you can enjoy a meal and a concert afterwards. Not quite. As a little treat, if you decide to eat there and spend over $20, you get to skip the line getting into the show!

Unfortunately, in this day and age, many acts who are touring the country in rooms this size end up skipping San Diego, playing only Los Angeles and maybe even Anaheim’s HOB. I’m not quite sure why our House of Blues has remained so disappointing over the years. The slightly grimy location combined with an odd size, and an inability to attract up-and-coming indie acts has sadly left this venue gathering dust.

For all the trash-talking I just did, their Sunday Gospel brunch is a can’t miss. Where else can you eat sliders and shrimp while hearing live gospel music?

Venue Specs

Price: Most ticket prices range between $20-40, with some high profile shows a bit pricier

Parking: Street parking only (good luck). Horton Plaza’s huge lot is a short walk away

What it is: A medium-sized, slightly overpriced location that is great when they manage to book someone exciting

What it’s not: A venue to see up-and-coming indie acts

Most likely to: Hear a band on good speakers / pay too much for their “Rockin'” food

Least likely to: Find out about a new band you like

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