Top 10 Spots For Live Music In Little Rock

Andrea Henthorn

Little Rock is the bustling capital of the state of Arkansas, a hub of creativity which is home to the Arkansas Arts Center, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. A perfect place for the performing arts, this is a city which also prides itself on its vibrant live music scene. At almost every venue on any night of the week visitors can enjoy blues bands, sultry singers, and cool crooners throughout Little Rock. With that in mind, here is Culture Trip’s guide to the best live music venues Little Rock has to offer.

1. The Afterthought Bar and Bistro

The Afterthought Bar and Bistro

The Afterthought should actually be the first thought on your mind when deciding where to see live music in Little Rock. In addition to classic dinner items such as fish tacos and burgers, guests can enjoy an array of cocktails whilst listening to live music most nights of the week. Anything from folk music to jazz can be heard at The Afterthought.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, 4:30 pm to 2 am, Sunday Brunch, 10:30 am to 2 pm

Watch out for: homemade potato chip starters, open mic nights and jam sessions with visiting artists

Address and telephone number:

2721 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, AR 72205, (501) 663-1196

©Sebastiaan ter Burg/FlickrGuitar I ©Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr

2. Ron Robinson Theater

Market, Theater

Little Rock I
©Antonius Armand/Flickr
The Ron Robinson Theater is a newer venue located in the Little Rock River Market District. Equipped with a high-tech sound system and a screen and digital projection system, Ron Robinson Theater is a very versatile venue for a range of performances. Some of the upcoming music groups which will be featured here are The Cate Brothers Band, The Dave Rosen Big Band and various soul artists.

Price: Budget- Mid-range

Opening hours: dependent on showtimes

Watch out for: movie screenings and plays at the theater in addition to live musical groups

3. White Water Tavern

Bar, Nightclub, American, Pub Grub, Cocktails, Wine, Beer

Night bar
© Pod talk/Wiki Commons
This seemingly inconspicuous bar houses some of the best live music nights in Little Rock. The simple, standalone building may not even seem like a bar from the outside, but on the inside plays host to talented musician after talented musician, and serves tasty, cheap beer to please the crowds. The laidback atmosphere here makes White Water Tavern seem like everyone’s old hangout, even if it’s the first time they’ve stepped foot in the place.

Price: Budget

Opening hours: Mon-Thurs. 2pm-2am, Fri until 1am, Sat 6am-12am

Watch out for: a pretty, open outside patio, rock bands and benefit shows

4. Willy D’s Piano Bar

Willy D’s Piano Bar

If you’re in the mood for rock-and-roll music, Willy D’s is the place to be. What’s better, this dueling piano bar doesn’t limit the fun to the performers; audience participation is highly encouraged at this venue, with enthusiastic locals often singing on stage, and the talented pianists willing to play a variety of song requests. Guests can also go downstairs to listen to a DJ and dance to hip-hop music.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: Tues-Sat 7pm-2am

Watch out for: no night is complete here without a round of beer pong

Address and telephone number: 322 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 244-9550

©Daniel Lu/FlickrWilly D’s Piano Bar I ©Daniel Lu/Flickr

5. Vino’s Brew Pub

Vino’s Brew Pub

At least twice a week, usually more, Vino’s Brew Pub is the place to listen to live music. This Italian-style pub exudes a punk vibe, created by the wide variety of rock musicians that perform at the venue. Vino’s proves to be a great place to kick back with a freshly brewed beer and listen to some unique local talent.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-11pm, Fri and Sat 11am-midnight

Watch out for: vinyl nights and rock band performances. Don’t forget to try the delicious calzones.

Address and telephone number: 923 W 7th St, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 375-8466

©Kevin Riley/FlickrVino’s Brew Pub I ©Kevin Riley/Flickr

6. Juanita’s Cafe and Bar

Juanita’s Cafe and Bar

By day Juanita’s is an authentic Mexican restaurant, but by night it is a nightclub featuring a wide range of talented performers. When the venue isn’t hosting salsa dancing lessons, it features performers including singer-songwriter country artists, indie rock groups and folk singers. Be sure to book tickets in advance to guarantee a spot at Juanita’s.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: Tues-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat until 10pm

Watch out for: great authentic Mexican food during the day, salsa lessons and folk singers

Address and telephone number: 614 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 372-1228

©erika taylor/FlickrPerformance at Juanita’s I ©erika taylor/Flickr

7. Thirst N’ Howl

Thirst N’ Howl

The Thirst N’ Howl is a locally owned bar and grill exuding a welcoming, family feel. This venue values having live music almost every night of the week they are open, featuring artists like blues bands and rock-and-roll groups, and even hosting open mic nights. Customers can enjoy Arkansas Razorback game day specials here too.

Price: Budget

Opening hours: Wed. 4pm-12am, Thurs.-Sat. until 2am

Watch out for: live local bands, and the catfish special

Address and telephone number: 14710 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock, AR 72223, (501) 379-8189

©Adam Bartlett/FlickrLittle Rock I ©Adam Bartlett/Flickr

8. Grumpy’s Too

Bar, American

Bridge in Little Rock I
A renowned bar and grill, Grumpy’s Too is the place to be if you want to grab a burger and a drink whilst enjoying live music. Although performances most often occur on the weekends, Grumpy’s Too offers deals and specials every day of the week, with Thursdays boasting tasty tacos for 50 cents and refreshing coronas for just 3 dollars.

Price: Budget

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 3:30pm-2am, Sat 4pm-1am

Watch out for: happy hour Monday- Friday from 4pm-7pm

9. The Joint

Shop, Theater

Little Rock sign I
©Sean Davis/Flickr
The Joint is in equal parts a theater and a coffeehouse. If you are in the mood for something a bit stronger than coffee or tea, however, The Joint still offers a variety of tap beer, wine, champagne and cocktails. An 100-seat theater is attached to the coffee shop and bar here, with nationally touring artists performing at The Joint every third Thursday of every month. The Joint is a cool, trendy venue which offers a laid back vibe more relaxed than other places.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: Tues-Fri 7am-11pm, Sat 8:30am-11pm

Watch out for: skits and comedy performances in addition to musical groups

10. Cajun’s Wharf

Cajun’s Wharf

Cajun’s Wharf offers an alluring blend of delicious Cajun-style seafood, great live music, and an atmosphere made beautiful by its proximity to the Little Rock waterfront. Cajun’s Wharf features artists and groups almost every night through October, including bands such as Rustenhaven and Katmandu, both rock-and-roll groups. Relax with a steak, look out at the river and listen to the tunes Cajun Wharf has to offer; a top live music choice when in Little Rock.

Price: Fine-dining

Opening hours: Mon.-Thurs. 4:30pm-10pm, Fri.-Sat. until 11pm

Watch out for: the deck overlooking the Arkansas River, a wide array of live bands

Address and telephone number: 2400 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock, AR 72202, (501) 375-5351

©sfgamchick/FlikrLittle Rock scenery I ©sfgamchick/Flikr
landscape with balloons floating in the air


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