Terrapin Crossroads Day Trip (welcome “back”, Phil!)

Maverick Kelly’s 52 Day Trips
5 min readJan 18, 2020

For New Year’s Day, our mission to take 52 awesome Bay Area day trips took us to Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. This is the music/restaurant venue founded by Grateful Dead bassist and singer Phil Lesh. We’re calling this a “day trip” because there are day-time shows at the “The Backyard” stage outside.

3 Stages to See Music!

There are 3 places to see music at Terrapin Crossroads: The Backyard, The Terrapin Crossroads Bar and The Grate Room:

Stage #1: The Backyard

The New Year’s Day show we attended was Phil Lesh with Stu Allen and Lebo (Dan Lebowitz), multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby and drummer John Molo.

The Backyard venue is so small that you can walk right up to the front couple of rows:

Stu Allen , Phil Lesh and Lebo (Dan Lebowitz)

Below is a shot from the rear of The Backyard — the capacity appears to be about 200 people.

They have a nice section on the side for folks with a physical disability:

This was Phil Lesh’s first show back after a back surgery so this Terrapin was walking around:

We saw some killer artwork!

For you dead heads out there, here Is the setlist for this January 1, 2020 show:

Set 1:

Jack Straw
Big Railroad Blues
Friend of the Devil
Stagger Lee
Viola Lee Blues

Set 2:

Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
The Wheel
Here Comes Sunshine
China Cat Sunflower
Shakedown Street

The Backyard is Super Family-Friendly

We were amazed how family-friendly Terrapin Crossroads is. There’s this ship-like play structure towards the rear of the Backyard:

Our 4-year old and numerous other kids were happy playing on it for the entire show (2 hours).

The play structure is close enough to the stage that you can stay with your child and easily enjoy the show:

Terrapin Crossroads is on a canal near the San Rafael Yacht Club. Here’s a view of the Yacht Club from the Backyard:

The Backyard has a bocce ball court too (though no one was playing when were there):

A view of Terrapin Crossroad’s Backyard Stage from the very back (behind the outside bar and, yes, those are bocce ball courts)

Food to Eat During the Backyard Shows

There’s a ton to eat if you’re attending the Backyard shows. They have a food truck set up outside and we had the Fish Tacos ($14).

We also ordered a pizza from inside and it was super-yummy!

Pic of a Terrapin Crossroads pizza from Alesis G of Rodeo, CA

But you can also order many things from the Terrapin Crossroads menu (from the restaurant inside) which has a bunch of food such as:

  • Fish N’ Chips ($19)
  • Carnitas Tacos ($14)
  • Fried Chicken ($19)
  • Burgers ($15 to $17)
  • Vegan/Vegetarian-friendly items like Tempura Cauliflower ($9), Creamy Hummus ($15); Vegetable Buddha Bowl and Vegetable Fried Rice ($17)
  • Gluten-Free? — I didn’t see anything highlighted “Gluten Free”

When you’re at the Backyard shows, you get to go in and out of the restaurant (see pics below) at will.

Stage #2: The Bar/ Restaurant

There are also bands that play “Bar Shows” during the day, afternoon and night. The Bar is inside and here’s a band that was playing the day we were seeing Phil in the Backyard:

The Bar has an actual bar:

And the Bar is part of the larger indoor restaurant area (so you can be eating a meal and catching some music too).

The band start times of the Bar shows I’ve seen listed are:

  • 12:30pm
  • 4:20pm
  • 6:45pm
  • 7:30pm

Stage #3: The Grate Room

The biggest stage at Terrapin Crossroads is the Grate Room (“Grate”ful Dead — get it? I’m a Deadhead and it took me a few months to get the connection. :)

Phil Lesh & Friends performing at Terrapin Crossroads Dec. 6 2013. (left to right) Jimmy Herring, John Molo, Warren Haynes, Phil Lesh and Neal Casal. Dec. 11, 2013; Source: SaltyBoatr

The Grate Room capacity is about 150 people. The beauty of the Grate Room is that the stage is very wide so that you can always have a 6th row or better view of the band.

Most Grate Room shows start at 7pm

Tip: if a Backyard Stage show is sold out…

You might want to try eating at the restaurant and ask to sit out on the patio. If there is a band playing on the Backyard Stage that day you can hear and see the music from most of the patio. Here’s a photo from the patio looking at the Backyard Stage. You can’t enter the Backyard area but you’re only about 50 yards away and there’s a speaker about 50 feet away.

A view of the Backyard Stage from The Patio

Some vitals:

Terrapin Crossroads is located at 100 Yacht Club Dr, San Rafael, CA 94901

Hours: 4pm to 9:30pm on Monday to Friday and 11am to 9:30pm Saturday and Sunday.

Other useful links:

Things to Do Next Time

Next time we go we’d like to try a lot more of the food.

And also walk through the door of the door of this Terrapin Station shack:

I have no idea where this leads to…I’ll walk through the door next time!

As we left Terrapin Station, the storm clouds were rolling in and the neon light of one of their signs lit up — cool!

Have fun at Terrapin Crossroads! We will surely be back!



Maverick Kelly’s 52 Day Trips

Hi! I’m Maverick. My mommy, daddy & me are on a mission to take 52 day trips around the San Francisco Bay Area! Thx for joining in the fun!