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Best Live Music

IOTA Club & Café

Even with a standing-room-only crowd, fewer than 200 people can shoehorn themselves into IOTA. Yet in the last 20 years, this intimate venue has hosted John Mayer, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz and Rufus Wainwright—not to mention local bands, touring acts and any future stars who try their luck at Wednesday’s open-mic night.

Brother and sister co-owners Stephen Negrey and Jane Negrey Inge book all genres of music into the club. “I was listening to NPR,” recalls Jane, “and an announcer says that Matt Haimovitz, the classical cellist, is coming to some big venue downtown. And then he says, ‘The last time I heard him, he was at some bar in Arlington.’ And I love that!”

IOTA presents live music six nights a week, with cover charges ranging from $10 to $15, although open-mic nights and the poetry series are free. One of Stephen’s favorite things about the club is seeing a customer come in, pay the cover charge and only then turn around to ask the doorman who’s playing. “They just know it’s gonna be great,” he says.

2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-522-8340, www.iotaclubandcafe.com


Other top vote-getters:

The State Theatre
The Birchmere
Whitlow’s on Wilson