Admittedly, Phoenix doesn’t have the deep roots of music towns such as New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago, but it does have a surprisingly vibrant and diverse music scene for music-lovers who know where to look. Whether it’s country, jazz, blues, soul, alt-rock or electronic pop, Phoenix has it all, found in smaller venues — typically bars and restaurants — that make a music-oriented night out less expensive and more fun. Check out these top spots to have a drink and a bite (maybe even a full-blown dinner) while catching a show.Read More
10 Exceptional Bars and Restaurants for Live Music in Phoenix
Where to eat, drink, and enjoy a great show
With locations in Florida, Nevada and soon Georgia, Blue Martini aims to bring customers the best of both worlds: an upscale lounge with a local bar vibe. Catering to slightly more mature audiences who like to dress up and hit the dance floor, the venue books popular local acts such as Young Country and Nineball, serving up contemporary country and alt-rock. The beverage menu offers wines, pricy Champagnes, and a lengthy list of specialty martinis, while trendy light bites include baked Brie, beet and burrata salad, Thai chicken, and lollipop lamb chops.
West Side Blues & Jazz
Small tables facing the stage not only lend this cozy nightclub with great acoustics an old-school supper-club atmosphere, but also guarantee there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Of course, when Arizona-based and nationally recognized musicians show up — Francine Reed, Alice Tatum, Chuck Hall and Big Pete Pearson, for example — the place is packed with lines out the door. Although there’s plenty of liquor (beer, wine, and classic cocktails), “jazzy tapas” are limited to wings, fries, cod sliders, bangers and mash, and grilled cheese.
Cowboy hats hang from the rafters at this family-owned honkytonk, a 48-year-old Scottsdale institution famous for its country music and down-home eats, including barbecued ribs, steaks, fried chicken, and biscuits. Customers boot-scoot to the Herndon Brothers house band as well as to other local groups such as Hillbilly Deluxe and Dirty Yachtin’ Scoundrels, specialists in yacht rock.
Created as an homage to the revered but defunct 60s-era lounge Chez Nous, this low-ceilinged, dimly lit haven (name-checking Chez Nous owners Andy and Maureen Womack) miraculously captures its cool, retro vibe. Cocktails, named for famous singers and musicians, are reinterpreted classics, while food selections include truffle popcorn, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail, and a meat and cheese board. Local pop-ups bring new options every week. The R&B-styled Roscoe Taylor Band plays every Saturday night at 9 p.m.; DJs take over at midnight.
After nearly 45 years, Char’s Has the Blues, the iconic blues joint in the Melrose District, closed its doors during the pandemic, reopening in 2022 under new ownership as Chars Live. The space and cocktail menu have been modernized, and the musical lineup — traditionally limited to funk, soul, and R&B — has been expanded to include jazz, ska, reggae, DJ sets, and more. Food trucks from the Phoenix Street Food Coalition also provide a rotating selection of eats.
The Vig Arcadia
Although The Vig (now with six locations) has long been popular as a neighborhood watering hole and hangout — offering cornhole, bocce ball, and live music on the patio — it’s also a bona fide restaurant with an extensive menu, turning out crab and shrimp enchiladas, hot honey chicken, birria empanadas, and grilled fish. Come for live music on the first Saturday of every month, and on Friday nights from 6-9 p.m. Alt-rockers Elvis Before Noon play there often, and Scotty Johnson of the Gin Blossoms has been known to show up and join in.
Fuego at The Clarendon
Located in the historical Clarendon Hotel, this light, airy, Latin-influenced restaurant featuring Cubano sliders, short rib enchiladas, pernil asado, peasant paella, and green chile cornbread, also dishes out live music every night of the week. Depending on the weather, local musicians such as Jimmy Pines and Washboard Jere (stripped down hillbilly blues) and Adam Smith (music with a James Taylor vibe) or the Rita Rose Band (vintage country, country swing and old-time) play indoors or out on the cozy covered patio.
The Nash Jazz Club
Listed five times by Downbeat Magazine as one of the world’s great jazz venues, this quirky, intimate spot — a non-profit and educational facility devoted to promoting jazz — is considered a Phoenix treasure, named for legendary drummer and Phoenix native Lewis Nash. Nobody minds the slim pickings regarding beer, wine and food (the latter limited to movie theater-style snacks) because they’re there to see jazz veterans from around the country (particularly New York, Chicago and Los Angeles) give mind-bending performances in every jazz genre. Many just grab a bite in the neighborhood before the show.
Housed in a former auto garage built in 1917, 12-year-old Crescent is famous for bringing in original, innovative music and up-and-coming new artists receiving national attention. Concert promoter and owner Charlie Levy organizes an ever-changing roster of groups such as Jockstrap (experimental pop), Krooked Kings (indie beach-rock), Youth Lagoon (dream pop, neo-psychedelia) and Lastlings (electronic pop). Meanwhile, the venue’s in-house Mexican restaurant Cocina 10 wins respect for its elote, molletes, ceviche, and barbacoa tacos.
Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen
Reached by escalator, this loud, crowded entertainment venue, located on the second floor of CityScape, offers great views of downtown Phoenix and various forms of entertainment, including drag brunch, live band karaoke, DJs, and energetic performances from local groups such as The Instant Classics (a popular local wedding band). An impressive selection of craft beers on tap and higher-end pub grub (think Parmesan truffle fries and hummus with tapenade) fuel the fun.