Back in the 1930s, the historic Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom (169 Ocean Blvd., Hampton Beach, 603/929-4100, www.hamptonbeachcasino.com ) featured big-band headliners from Count Basie to Duke Ellington. Nowadays, it’s more like Meatloaf and Hootie and the Blowfish. The current management, however, has been working hard to get hipper acts such as the Strokes. Any way you cut it, the historic 2,000-seat ballroom is a great place to see a show.
Less-exalted names (usually local bands) play live at Wally’s Pub (144 Ashworth Ave., Hampton Beach, 603/926-6954, www.wallyspubnh.com ), where you’ll never have difficulty securing a seat or a cold beer. Some nights can get a little raucous (as on pig roast nights, for example).