Venue Highlight: Light Club Lamp Shop (Burlington, VT)

It has been a long, long while since we have delved back into highlighting a venue here on RLR and given our experience with today’s venue, we felt it due time to shine a little light on our favorite little spot to catch a show and grab a drink up in Burlington: Light Club Lamp Shop.

The “Vibe”: Its hard to lend any sort of comparison to this room until you have been there. Mere explanation doesn’t really do it justice. Picture hundreds of lamps hanging from the ceiling of a speakeasy meets your cool friend’s basement growing up…you know the one who had the chilled out finished basement room with Nintendo and oversized armchairs with a thick, spongy carpet? Man, those were the days. But, just because there are shitton of lamps, doesn’t mean blinding light. They are rigged up so that the bartender can adjust accordingly and the lighting is always on point, dim enough to make you relaxed and feel a sense of privacy among strangers, but not so dark that you trip over your feet and spill your drink.

What is perhaps most convenient about this place is the vicinity to another great spot in town (and the delectable restaurant that connects the two) Radio Bean. When the weather is warmer and the show times start earlier, the Mrs. and I will come up early, grab a bite and jump back and forth between Radio Bean and LCLS all evening from 6 PM until closing, catching the different acts, staying for a few songs (or the whole set if we really dig the artist) and always THROWING TIPS IN THE TIP BUCKET. That should be an unsaid rule, but the amount of people that adhere to it, well that can be iffy.

LCLS has the comfort of your living room with a variety of seating scattered throughout the long space. Comfy couches placed about the main stage area with booths along the left wall to either side of the stage, creating a space to meet with friends and quietly enjoy a drink or a bite to eat while still being able to take in the performers on stage. Two front booths with cut out walls lend a sense of privacy and allow a group of folks to listen to the music and have some conversation without being rude to the artist, which I think all venues who host music should have. It seems that it was well thought out when LCLS made the decision to be a music venue over a cocktail bar. Our favorite little spot is a step up to the side of the bar. A wrap around bar top with stools that perches a bit above the stage area and gives you the perfect vantage point to sip on a craft cocktail or beer and listen to the fantastic line up. Which brings us to…


The Artists. Who you’ll see?: While I will say that Burlington seems to have a plague of “tips only” music venues, Lamp Shop is still able to bring in a host of talent ranging from local heroes to out of town Radio Bean graduates to some pretty well known acts. Thinking back on a handful of acts I have seen in the last year at LCLS shows a diverse variety of songwriters and bands. Anthony daCosta who is a fantastic singer/songwriter but also performs alongside Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’ Donovan, West Coast bluegrass and folk legends Sean Watkins and Tom Brosseau, the incomparable Dr. Gasp (which was the most full I have ever seen that room) and instrumentalist and piano slayer Ben Cosgrove (who seems to bounce back and forth between this room and Radio Bean two doors down each time he comes back to Burlington). Its quite an array of talent gracing that stage night after night.

Taking a look at their calendar shows everything from traditional Irish Sessions to rock n’ roll bands to bluegrass outfits and of course…DJs late night and game nights on Sunday. Its a veritable smorgasboard of genre jumping artists that is, for lack of a better term, something for everyone.

The Grub/Drinks. What to eat and drink? Food wise there is a limited menu from next door at Duino (Duende) until pretty late in the evening. The Duino menu courts everything from curries to burgers for your grumbling belly. Its fusion at its finest and the prices are right for the amount of food they serve. When the lady and I first moved up to Vermont we were still vegetarians and this spot really treated our tastebuds. Even now, I still go for the pupusas or the cubano with seitan instead of pork. The food in just delicious.

Don’t go asking for a Heady Topper here. Also…there is much more that VT has to offer in hoppy goodness than the HT (also, much more that The Alchemist has to offer as well!). The beer cans and bottle list is ever evolving at the Light Club. Beers from Vermont and beyond line the list and whether you fancy a hop bomb or a savory stout, they have you covered. In terms of the cocktail menu…yeah, they have put a lot of thought into this. Bitters, ginger beer, elderflower. You really can’t go wrong with their craft drinks here. Delicious concoctions to leave you a little looser and your mouth a little happier.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the staff when mentioned the drinks and food as well. The bartenders in the LCLS have always been friendly and provide excellent service no matter how busy (or not busy) the room is. At one show it was the artist on stage, myself and the gent behind the bar. We talked a bit, I had a special drink made based on my personal preferences in booze and flavors and his knowledge and caring enough to make up something delicious on the spot made me love this place just a little bit more than I already do. Inviting and warm, just like the vibe of this place and probably a big reason why it feels that way/

How do I play here? Shoot an email to (it goes to the same place as Radio Bean as they are owned by the same folks). In my experience they are always quick to respond and willing to discuss the show. If you haven’t played Burlington they may suggest playing Radio Bean before stepping onto the LCLS stage.

In conclusion: This is my personal favorite listening room venue that I have ever taken in a show in. Its comfortable, but there is still room to dance if you want it. There is a selection of seating based on how you tend to take in music (front and center on a comfy couch or off in the corner). The sound is great, the vibe is unrivaled, the line up is varied and the food and drinks are phenomenal.