The original Sweetwater opened in 1972, in a rustic, downtown Mill Valley storefront previously occupied by a local watering hole called the Office. On its opening night, the Sweetwater presented an acoustic folk‐rock group that played for a crowd that lined up halfway down the block to get in. While the Sweetwater enjoyed a most auspicious beginning, it wasn’t until a decade later that the tiny 90-seat tavern with a stage earned its rightful place in music history. At the Sweetwater Music Hall, that history continues on today.

The once-in-a-lifetime show was a commonplace occurrence at the original Sweetwater. The roster of artists that have crowded onto the club’s little stage reads like a Who’s Who of roots & rock music: Bob Weir, Aaron Neville, Big Mama Thornton, Carlos Santana, Clarence Clemons, Elvis Costello, Etta James, Gregg Allman, Huey Lewis, Jerry Garcia, John Hiatt, John Lee Hooker, Maria Muldaur, Mimi Fariña, Odetta, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Richie Havens, Robert Cray, Sammy Hagar, Townes Van Zandt, Van Morrison and many more musical luminaries. In the ’80s, the Times of London hailed the Sweetwater as one of the best nightclubs in America.

Sweetwater closed temporarily in 2007 but re-opened at the new location in 2012. The venue faced another challenge with being shuttered during the pandemic. This led to much discussion of how to preserve this institution for the community. To this end, Sweetwater Music Hall Inc. was created.  Sweetwater Music Hall Inc. is a 501(c)(3)  nonprofit arts organization that is fully devoted to advancing education, understanding and appreciation of music, culture and arts through the presentation of a vibrant and diverse range of live performances. We operate a state-of-the-art performing arts music venue and support music education programs for youth and adults in various musical genres including residencies and partnerships with local community groups as well as special needs and at-risk and underserved youth.

Skip to content