37 W. Pine St., 407-999-2570; backbooth.com
Backbooth's personality comes from its wildly varying atmosphere – on Mondays, Midnight Mass features pop, rock and Motown, while Sundays are for Shake 'n' Bass, a moombahton dance party that's off the hook. This year has also brought new booking energy to the club, which is hosting a Homegrown local hip-hop showcase, as well as some of the best in cutting-edge live acts (XXYYXX and Astronautilus) and established bands with cred (Agnostic Front).
B.B. King's Blues Club
9101 International Drive, 407-370-4550; bbkingclubs.com
Live music nightly is the hallmark of this massive blues club, which is part of the B.B. King's chain that has locations in Nashville, Memphis, Las Vegas and West Palm Beach.
Hard Rock Live
6050 Universal Blvd., 407-351-5483; hardrock.com
This 3,000-capacity concert venue located at Universal's City Walk entertainment complex hosts some of the best touring acts that come to town – upcoming acts we're looking forward to include Todrick Hall and Wilco – as well as cool local showcases and classic albums played live.
Horsepower Bar and Grill
171 S. Orange Ave., 407-985-5814; horsepower-bar-orlando.com
This brand-new to the scene bar located in the heart of downtown offers a menu of soups, sandwiches, wings and salads, as well as a satisfying mix of both craft and macrobrew beers. Thirsty Thursdays feature live acoustic music drink specials, and the space is actively recruiting new bands who want to play a new downtown bar/venue.
House of Blues
1490 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, 407-934-2583; houseofblues.com
From regular Gospel brunches to '80s rewind nights to nostalgic acts and new talent, this can't-be-beat nightlife stalwart located in the heart of downtown Disney does a little bit of everything.
Howl at the Moon Saloon
8815 International Drive, 407-354-5999; howlatthemoon.com
Seriously they had me at "Rock & Roll Dueling Piano Bar." This place is custom made for a high-energy, head-rocking, drunken free-for-all, and is a nostalgic substitute for the good ol' days of Pleasure Island binge-drinking. If pounding your fist in the air and accidentally knocking an 86-ounce bucket onto a sorority girl's belly-cropped chambray is your idea of a good time, then grab some friends and carpool your butts on out to I-Drive. Keep your eyes peeled for all of the fresh-faced Disney International program kids out for a good time.
The Plaza Live
425 N. Bumby Ave., 407-228-1220; plazaliveorlando.com
The Plaza Live is a hidden gem in Orlando's live music scene – it may not be the newest of venues, nor is it found in an obvious nightlife hotspot, but it gives audiences an intimate setting where they can take advantage of the sometimes delightfully eclectic booking – for 2015, its schedule spans Lucinda Williams to Pennywise.
54 N. Orange Ave., 407-246-1419; thesocial.org
Locals bands strive to perform on this stage, the one shared with most of the Pitchfork-worthy bands that come through Orlando. It's a smaller room, which means nine times out of 10, you're shouting the lyrics shoulder-to-shoulder with similarly impassioned fans. Get there early and snag a table in front of the pit.
Stardust Video & Coffee
1842 E. Winter Park Road, 407-623-3393; stardustie.com
The Stardust main room provides a den that welcomes all the weird ideas its devoted community cooks up in terms of live music performances, original plays, performance art and tasteful DJ sets that bring to light underground goodness to get loose while knocking back notoriously stiff drinks.
100 S. Orange Ave., 407-649-8540
One of the few bars downtown you can depend on for live music every night of the week, Tanqueray's provides all the funk, jazz and blues you can handle, including a talented crop of locals like Ancient Sun, Thomas Wynn and the Believers and RJ Harman and Company performing regularly.
8371 International Drive, 321-438-5090; tinroofbars.com
This chain venue, which has its roots in Nashville's Music Row, hasn't even opened its doors in Orlando yet, but people are already buzzing about it. The self-described "live music joint" boasts that it welcomes both local and national acts to play its stage, and we're looking forward to seeing what that means for Orlando musicians and music fans alike.
Uncle Lou's Entertainment Hall
1016 N. Mills Ave.
There is perhaps no private business in the city that has become a DIY community venue so organically and authentically. Besides the street culture that its barflies provide, the fringe edges of the music scene have also adopted this joint as their clubhouse/incubator. Although known for its punk shows, its day-to-day offerings can be disorientingly diverse. Truly the strangest, most raw cross-section of Orlando's music underground.
578 N. Orange Ave., 407-872-0066; venue578.com
Firestone Live morphed into Venue 578 this year, ramping up their live music calendar with increased dates of major rock, hip-hop, pop and, of course, the electronic dance artists that have always been a staple of the venue. With multiple bars and multiple vantage points to enjoy the show, Venue 578 didn't put out Firestone's flame; they cranked up the heat.
1042 N. Mills Ave.; willspub.org
If you are a fan of punk, metal, garage, Americana or all of the above, you need to get down to Will's Pub. This wild, grizzled venue is an Orlando tradition and provides stacked lineups, stocks a huge beer selection and is home to the much-loved Southern Fried Sundays.