Best under-21 live-music venue

True Love Coffeehouse

If you happen to be caught in the under-21 bracket and are a live music fan, there are only two legitimate venue choices: Capitol Garage (see “Best place to hear a touring indie-rock band") and the True Love Coffeehouse. Capitol Garage is your spot for louder acts, but the True Love reigns supreme in the under-21 social scene. On any night of the week, the new generation escapes the morass of bad radio, worse television, and inane computer games and converges upon the True Love for an evening of acoustic music and latte-driven conversation. If you want the full experience, try a night where Jonah Matranga (onelinedrawing) performs his up-with-people acoustic set—the favorite of every fairy-winged teen princess in the Sacramento area. Or watch Anton Barbeau confuse and befuddle his confused and befuddled fandom.

The live music happens exclusively inside (so as to not annoy the neighbors) and it is, at the least, an intimate setting—in other words, smaller than some people’s living rooms. But this is part of the True Love’s charm. Take a table, have a half-caff mocha and relax to the sounds of Lee Bob Watson. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in town. Better yet, after the featured bands have played their sets, weekend evenings feature “Waffletainment,” an impromptu set—often several hours long—by local musicians. Look for live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, but keep in mind that owners Kevin and Allyson Seconds have a penchant for creating worthy events even on week nights: from movie nights (hosted by Deathray’s Dana Gumbiner) to Eric Bianchi’s “Nobody Show.”

No matter what night of the week you attend, you are likely to rub elbows with the Sacramento music scene’s famous faces. David Houston has his own table. Kepi (of the Groovie Ghoulies) has his own drink. Bobby Jordan (Mr. T Experience, Red Star Memorial) is in line for a cookie. And, after midnight, there is always the promise of a hot, fresh waffle made by a man who bears a striking resemblance to Big Tom of the Knockoffs. The crowd comes in around 10 p.m., so if you’re jonesin’ for caffeine, you best get there early. The line gets long quickly, but the coffee’s always hot, and the waffles can’t be beat.

2406 J St., (916) 492-9002.