Rukkus’ 100 Favorite Places To See Live Music


In this day and age, you never know where the night can take you. I’m sure we’ve all ended one night or another thinking to ourselves–how did we end up at this random spot where the music was way too loud and the food way too mediocre?!

Luckily for you, the Rukkus team scoured the country for the best places to listen to live music while enjoying a cold drink. So next time we hope you won’t find yourself standing in a corner at an overpriced club drinking a $47 appletini. Cheers!

#1: Moonshine Flats

If you can’t decide between a country hoedown and crazy dance party, Moonshine Flats is your place to go.  This San Diego bar also houses “The Deck”, an open-air extension with backyard style games perfect for tailgating in.

#2: Moe’s Tavern

Moe’s Tavern is the goto place in Chicago.  The dive bar features the neighborhood’s most talented musicians. Moe’s changes it up every night, whether you’re in the mood for jazz or blues Moe’s has it all. And maybe most importantly. they get lots of points for cheap drinks.

#3: Joe’s Pub


Joe’s Pub is a classic New York cozy, intimate joint to enjoy the music of popular and up-and-coming artists, as well as some delicious burgers.  Stars like Lady GaGa, Alicia Keys, and Leonard Cohen can be spotted in this top rated NYC landmark.

#4: City Winery
City Winery Soho takes their winery tour to a whole new level with how-to wine classes and live music. Who could ask for more?

#5: Le Poisson Rouge

Time Out New York named Le Poisson Rouge ‘Best Music Venue of 2014’, and it’s easy to see why. Le Poisson Rouge is a fun, exciting environment for live music, and it has something for everyone- including an 80’s/90’s night every weekend.

#6: Brooklyn Bowl
Brooklyn Bowl offers a fun atmosphere for a reasonable price. Their dance floor is pretty spacious, and they’ve hosted some popular musical acts in the past. If you’re looking to bowl, dine, or just enjoy the music, Brooklyn Bowl is definitely worth checking out.

#7: World Cafe Live

Along with professional music performances, this Philadelphia venue hosts regular ‘Peanut Butter and Jams’ for musicians who just want to have some fun.

#8: Mesa Arts Center 

Whether you’re into comedy or dramatic theater, jazz or classical music, Arizona’s Mesa Arts Center is guaranteed to have something for everyone.

#9: First Avenue
Because they feature newcomers as well as established artists, First Avenue has seen many musicians rise to stardom. The fame and musical history make this rock club worth visiting. This Minneapolis bar has been rated as one of the best all-around bars in the Twin Cities.

#10: Portico
Portico has three locations in Louisiana, all of them are a great place to enjoy a nice craft beer.  Plus, everything on the menu is delicious. On Wednesday nights, Portico has some fantastic live music.

#11: DNA Lounge

The DNA Lounge in San Francisco offers a variety of musical performances every night. And when you can’t dance anymore, go next door for some DNA Pizza- a tasty way to end a great night.

#12: Muse Music Cafe
This college town bar is the place to be on the weekends.  This Provo bar has a great live music and a chill atmosphere.

#13: Infinity Hall

There’s always something exciting going at Infinity. This place defines ‘dinner and a show’- you can enjoy something to eat while watching a great live performance.  This music hall & bistro has a location in both Norfolk and Hartford.

#14: Johnny Brenda’s
Johnny Brenda’s is a unique Philadelphia venue with true community pride- they even serve beer from local breweries. And if you need a little fresh air, you can always step onto the balcony.

#15: The Pressroom
Phoenix’s The Pressroom always has something exciting going on whether it be an awesome cover band or a popular DJ.  Also, the food trucks onsite are to die for.

#16:  Pianos 
This venue on the Lower East side is a great place to discover new music, or enjoy some of your favorites- Passion Pit and Cold War Kids are just a couple of the big names this place has featured. And before the show, you can enjoy some great food!

#17: Pappy & Harriet’s

Pappy & Harriet’s is the perfect combination of delicious food and great music- their shows feature up-and-coming artists and big names.  This Southern California joint is a relaxing spot to go to any day of the week!

#18: Club Passim

Club Passim, located in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge, is the successor venue to the venerable Club 47, where Joan Baez got her start and Bob Dylan, Jimmy Buffett, Taj Mahal, and a host of others played before they made it big.  The nonprofit Club puts on 400+ live concerts a year and also runs a series of festivals and outdoor concerts, including Boston’s Celtic Music Festival.  There’s also a school of music for members of the surrounding community.  Passim’s mission is to provide an exceptional music experience, nurture artists at all stages of their development, and build a vibrant music community.

#19: Tarrytown Music Hall
Tarrytown Music Hall is a small venue with a big history. The Hall was built in 1885, and has been hosting shows ever since. There are also some great local restaurants, so if you’re looking for a night out, get dinner and check out the Tarrytown Music Hall.

#20: Wild Wing Cafe
Wild Wing Cafe features great local artists, and they’ve got some seriously good wings (all-you-can-eat on weekdays).  I may go back to Charleston just for the wings alone.

#21: Avalon
Avalon offers rotating DJ’s, burlesque events, and themed parties. If you want in on the Hollywood nightlife, Avalon is the place to be.

#22: Johnny D’s
Johnny D’s is a family-owned restaurant with live music music every night. On open mic night, you can listen to some local Massachusetts artists, and enjoy some great jazz tunes during Jazz Brunch.

#23: Drom
Drom is a great little music venue hidden in NYC that has awesome drinks. I saw Walking Shapes perform there, and it was a really nice, intimate show.

#24: The Cedar Cultural Center
Go on a musical tour of the world at The Cedar. It’s an affordable, all-ages music venue that promotes genres from all over the globe. The Cedar is like a mini getaway from Minneapolis.

#25: The Capitol Theatre

The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester is a great venue for live music. You’re going to enjoy the show from anywhere in the auditorium, whether you’re in general admission or the seats. I saw The Strokes when they came through, and the show was amazing.

#26: Blueberry Hill
Blueberry Hill is an award-winning restaurant and live music venue in St. Louis. Chuck Berry is a regular performer, and he keeps coming back for the wings!

#27: The Delancey
The Delancey has three floors, and performers can be seen from anywhere in the venue. I saw quite a few bands at a CMJ event there, and the sound quality was superb. There’s a bar on each floor and DJ’s on the weekend, and the rooftop is heated. The Delancey is the place to hang in New York.

#28: State Theatre Portland
Part of a recent expansion of The Bowery Presents in New York, State Theatre Portland attracts music lovers with a wide range of national artists.

#29: Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
If you like beer, check out Half Moon in SF Bay area- they offer some amazing brews, not to mention great live music. And if you’re feeling inclined, participate in ‘Brews and Views’, where beer enthusiasts can discuss politics in their natural habitat.  Also, the bar has an outdoor patio that is dog friendly so feel free to bring your pooch!

#30: Fontana’s
Fontana’s supports local NYC bands, presenting live music almost every night of the week. In addition, Fontana’s hosts comic book talks and vegan drink meetups. There’s something for everyone.

#31: Rock ‘n’ Bowl
The Rock ‘n’ Bowl is a great place to bowl, dine, and enjoy live music. If you’re looking for good old-fashioned New Orleans fun, be sure to check it out!

#32: Fremont Abbey Arts Center
Fremont Abbey Arts Center in Seattle offers live music, dance, culinary classes, and art exhibits. One of the most unique monthly events is ‘The Round’, in which musicians, painters, and poets gather on stage to collaborate on live performances.

#33: The Green Parrot Bar
Commonly said to be the best dive bar in Key West, this place is a good time, any time. Play bingo for a good cause and enjoy great live music.

#34: The Kessler
The Kessler’s wide variety of musical genres attracts all sorts, so you’re bound to discover new music when you visit.  This Dallas joint also serves up a mean margarita.

#35: Gypsy Sally’s
At Gypsy Sally’s, you’ll have a great music experience. There are three different spaces to watch performances, so you can find a spot that suits your comfort zone. Each space has quirky decor- you can’t miss the antique Volkswagen van.  Definitely a goto spot of DC.

#36:  Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Sands is a roomy venue in Bethlehem, PA with everything from live music to stand-up comedy. No matter what the show, you’re going to have a great experience. Sands also has a killer casino.

#37: Mountain State Brewing Company
With three locations, two in West Virginia and one in Maryland, there’s no excuse not to visit MSBC. Tasty craft brews, live music, bingo, and brewery tours are just a few of the reasons your first visit won’t be your last!

#38: The Bushwick Starr
Visit the Bushwick Starr for a genuine Brooklyn theatre experience. Check out the Monday reading series- it’s free!

#39: Skully’s
If you’re in Columbus and looking for a night of fun and dancing, Skully’s is the place to be. Great happy hour offers and a wide range of live events- what’s not to love?

#40: The Walnut Room
At this place, stage meets dinner table- enjoy great food while you listen to intimate live music performances. The very best Colorado has to offer.

#41: The Sky Room
The Sky Room Long Beach’s romantic venue for dancing and dining. Try your hand at swing dancing or relax and enjoy the live music.

#42: Natasha’s Bistro and Bar
Natasha’s offers great theater and food with a local Kentucky flavor.

#43: EastBurn
EastBurn boasts live music, free stand-up comedy, and beer festivals- and when the holidays roll around, there’s no better place in Oregon for an unforgettable party.

#44: Crown and Harp
Crown & Harp was awarded ‘Best New Live Music Venue’ and ‘Best Weekly DJ Night’, and it’s not hard to see why. In addition to live music, they offer karaoke, theme nights, and some of the best drink specials in Dallas. I saw Local Natives at Crown & Harp and it was an awesome show.

#45: Thalia Hall

The charming Thalia Hall is an elegant Chicago theater where there’s always live music at an affordable price.

#46: Michael’s on East
Every month, this restaurant ‘travels’ from Florida to different spots across the globe and adds that country’s food to the menu. Enjoy a culturally educational meal and listen to some tunes on live piano.

#47: Toad Cambridge
Friendly staff, zero cover charge, and great food make this bar an ideal place to enjoy live music.

#48: Seville Quarter
Everything on the menu is delicious, but what makes the Seville Quarter a truly unforgettable venue is their dueling pianos.

#49: San Pedro Square Market
San Pedro Square Market is home to over twenty vendors. Offering live music and art exhibits weekly, the Market is a great place for San Jose-ans to meet to kindred creative spirits.

#50: Coohills
This restaurant always has something going on. My favorite is their summer concert series, ‘Beats on the Creek’. If you’re visiting Denver, make sure you don’t miss this place!

#51: Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza 
Natalie’s brings New York style pizza to Ohio with her coal-oven cooking technique. Enjoy pizza and a show! There’s always something going on- music, theater, dance, and more.

#52: The Slidebar
The Slidebar has a whole lot of rock and roll edge, and that attracts a lot of big names in music. And when there’s not a killer show going on, there’s karaoke! If you’re looking for a memorable time, this Orange County spot is the place to go.

#53: Hilo Farmers Market
This weekly farmers’ market offers a native Hawaiian atmosphere with unique goods and talented local musicians.

#54: The Brass Tap
This Florida based spot has a great loyalty program- for each beer you buy, you get points, and the beer selection is huge. Every one of their locations offers live music. Don’t pass this one up!

#55: Wild Bills

Wild Bills is a great spot to experience the Atlanta nightlife. From live music to fight nights to line dance lessons and more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

#56: Fenix 
Fenix of California caters to established and new musicians alike, hosting live shows in an upscale dining environment. Don’t miss their awesome desserts!

#57: Grand Jazz Fest
This free two-day jazz festival in Grand Rapids attracts both established and new artists, so jazz enthusiasts and newcomers alike will hear something fresh from the jazz scene. The festival is downtown, so after a show you can check out the local shopping scene.

#58: McGinty’s
There’s always something to do at McGinty’s Irish Pub in Silver Spring, Maryland. Live music, sports events, you name it- it’s happening this month. Enjoy any meal of the day at McGinty’s. You won’t regret it!

#59: Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation
Concerts in the Village puts on an unbelievable live show every Thursday. Members get in free, and non-members pay a small fee. Through Concerts in the Village, children in the Florida area are offered free art lessons.

#60: Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre
For 15 years, Cerqua has been putting on some of the best dance theatre in Chicago. The choreography is a seamless blend of new and classical dance.

#61: Bright Box Winchester
This lively venue boasts one of the best sound systems in Virginia. A variety of events take place here, from stand-up comedy to live music.

#62: Aztec Theatre
This newly-renovated Aztec Theatre is quickly becoming one of the lead music venues in San Antonio.

#63: Tony Starlight’s Showroom
Tony Starlight’s Showroom is bringing Vegas to Portland! This place goes above and beyond to make patrons feel welcome- they offer loyalty points, referrals, a VIP experience, and their menu includes vegan and gluten free options.

#64: Bocktown Beer & Grill
From live music to brewing classes, this Pennsylvania branch always has something going on. And there are two locations, so you never have an excuse to miss the action!

#65: Cloud 9 Adventures
Live music is always great- but how about live music on a cruise? Based in Boca Raton Florida, Cloud 9 has shows running round the clock, and nothing’s better than relaxing to some live music on vacation.

#66: Sticky Lips BBQ
Enjoy some great live music at Rochester’s own Sticky Lips. And if you’re feeling brave, take the Atomic Bomb food challenge!

#67: Sola Coffee Cafe
Sola Coffee Cafe is a relaxed, family-owned live music venue in Raleigh. And with vegetarian and gluten free options on the menu, there’s no excuse to pass up a night of great food and music.

#68: Rush Hour
By offering the public free access to live music, Rush Hour is going to dramatically change the music scene in Chicago.

#69: The Blue Rooster
A comfort food favorite, the Blue Rooster offers live music every week at their Sunday Gospel Brunch, complete with a Southern buffet.

#70: An Beal Bocht Cafe
A Bronx favorite, An Beal Bocht is renowned for excellent Irish food and a wide variety of entertainment. Poor Mouth Theatre Company and a host of musical and comedic acts call An Beal Bocht home.

#71: Little Gem Saloon
The Little Gem Saloon truly is a gem of New Orleans jazz. Enjoy great food and live jazz classics within blocks of the French Quarter.

#72: 89 North

Stellar sound equipment and lighting make 89 North the ideal Long Island music venue, and the atmosphere is local and friendly.

#73: White Rock Coffee
White Rock Coffee’s open mic night boasts some of the best live music in Texas. Grab a delicious cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy the show.

#74: The Riptide
If you’re in the San Francisco area, don’t miss The Riptide. With daily live music, food specials, and no cover charge, it’s definitely worth a visit.

#75: Southern Junction
If you like dancing to country music, and if you’re in Texas you probably do, Southern Junction is the place for you. There is always live music, and free dance lessons are offered once a week.

#76: Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe 
The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe has hosted a ton of legendary musicians, making it Michigan’s hotspot for live jazz. Some of the shows have zero cover charge, so the Dirty Dog is the place to get your jazz fix.

#77: Haymarket Whiskey Bar
Haymarket Whiskey Bar hosted some of the best concerts in 2014. If you like whiskey and good music, Haymarket is the place to be. Also, this Louisville joint hosts a mean Happy Hour.

#78: Bake’s Place
If you find yourself in Washington looking for a good spot to relax and lose yourself in music, check out Bake’s Place. The atmosphere is comfortable but sophisticated, and it’s a perfect spot to meet up with friends.

#79: Ron’s Original Bar and Grille
At Ron’s Original Bar and Grill, there’s great food for affordable prices and non-stop entertainment. From trivia nights to karaoke and live music, Ron’s of PA goes above and beyond to make your experience memorable.

#80: McLadden’s Irish Publick House
Offering trivia nights, dart league, beer flights and great live music, McLadden’s isn’t your average Irish Pub. McFadden’s has been voted one of the best spots to go to in the Hartford area, and rightfully so! Also on Wednesdays, you can enjoy a traditional Irish entree for only $11!

#81: Auburn Public Theater
Auburn Public Theater offers film, live music, theater, stand up comedy, and more. Tickets are affordable, and there’s a show to suit every taste.

#82: Blackwall Hitch
You will leave Blackwall Hitch with a new favorite place for live music. Hang out in this Maryland joint and watch a show, or hit the rooftop patio for some fresh air.

#83: The Skylark Lounge

The Skylark Lounge is a great little bar tucked away in Austin. Enjoy one night of live blues, and you’ll be back for more.

#84: JacksonHoleLive
JacksonHoleLive is the best outdoor concert series in Wyoming. See some great new music in a beautiful spot. It’s free!

#85: The Terrace Room
Located on the scenic Lake Merritt, the Terrace Room has nonstop music events in a variety of genres, so there’s something for everybody.

#86: Rula Bula 
Want to escape Arizona and visit Ireland? Check out Rula Bula. You can enjoy a cold Guinness and hear great live music.

#87: Peter’s Players
At Peter’s Players, it’s clear he goes the extra mile to ensure his patrons’ satisfaction. Every show features high-quality musicians. If you’re looking for good live music, Peter’s won’t disappoint.

#88: Red Pepper Taqueria
In the mood for some live music and organic food? Check out Red Pepper Taqueria. Enjoy a daily special and listen to some relaxing acoustic music. A little taste of Mexico in the heart of Georgia.

#89: Carroll Place
At this restaurant and live music venue, you’ll find classic Italian food and great new music. The building is rich with history, so keep an eye out- artifacts from the 1800’s are on display throughout the restaurant.

#90: Gallagher’s Irish Pub
With weekly events, music, and fun, Gallagher’s Irish Pub of San Diego is like a playground for grownups. You’ll be treated like family here- the atmosphere is welcoming and comfortable.

#91: The Wormhole
The eclectic Wormhole Bar treats their patrons well, but they also respect their community by sound-proofing the venue. This Georgia bar is a great place to see live music- the bands and events are always a ton of fun.

#92: Old Crow Smokehouse
Satisfying portions of incredible barbecue, whiskey tasting and free live music? Head over to Chicago to go to the Old Crow for fun like you’ve never seen it before!

#93: Morgantown Farmers’ Market
Morgantown Farmers’ Market offers the best organic produce in town. And when you’re finished shopping, stick around for some great live music.

#94: Alligator Cafe
Get a taste of New Orleans without leaving Texas! All the food is made from scratch, and there’s always live music to enjoy.

#95: Plymouth Coffee Bean
Plymouth Coffee Bean is longest running independent coffeeshop in Michigan, and it’s not hard to see why. With over twenty roasts to choose from, you can enjoy a great drink while you listen to local musicians and check out the artwork displays.

#96: The Famished Frog 
The Famished Frog offers live music, sports specials, and other events, and the friendly staff makes you feel right at home. It’s one of my favorite sports bars in New Jersey.

#97: Vino at the Landing
Vino at the Landing offers happy hour, great live music, and wine tastings. Join the Wine Club, where you can get discounts on all your favorite wines. If you’re in Washington, Vino’s is the place to go!

#98: The Watermark Center

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In December, I went to this Michigan bar and saw The Truth in Jazz Orchestra at The Watermark Center. Since I’m a student, admission was only $2! It was an amazing show and the place had a great atmosphere. Highly recommended.

#99: The Compound Grill
This venue has some of the best live music in Arizona. Not only do they have awesome music, The Compound Grill is a wonderful place to enjoy a variety of healthy and organic food options.

#100: Beaver Creek Brewery
Beaver Creek of Montana has a unique music experience where they discourage talking during a show for everyone’s pleasure. So many amazing craft beers on tap, how could you go wrong choosing this Brewery.

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