Where to Listen to Live Music in Charlotte, N.C.

Eliza Jorn

For Charlotte natives, a bar scene is not complete without good company, tasty nibbles, and most importantly, live music. Spacious venues like the Ampitheatre populate the Uptown and smaller alternative haunts are scattered throughout the city. There is all types of music to be heard, from jazz to hip hop, as new talent arrives in the ‘Queen City’ at an exponential rate. Read on to discover the best live music venues in Charlotte.

Concert at the Harbor / Courtesy of The Snug Harbor and BT Twitty

1. Snug Harbor

Snug Harbor

Imagine a bar filled with pirate-themed decor, a beer fridge cluttered with stickers and a live music band playing 12 inches from your stool, and you’ve imagined the Snug Harbor. This hipster hangout sheds all the pretension that often goes along with Plaza Midwood, instead promotes community and camaraderie – and not just because the crowds are packed shoulder-to-shoulder most evenings. The Harbor hosts local bands of every genre, from neo-grunge to pop, and also offers weekly music specials. ‘Knockturnal’ features the best of underground hip hop and electronic artists, and ‘Bone Snugs-N-Harmony’ karaoke is a fantastic night to spend among friends. This venue is 18 and over except during the ‘Shiprocked’ D.J. set on Thursday’s, which is 21 and over. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St, Charlotte, NC, (704) 561-1781

The Evening Muse © Alexander Cason/FlickrThe Evening Muse © Alexander Cason/Flickr

2. The Evening Muse

The Evening Muse

On a corner street in NoDa surrounded by galleries and boutique shops is The Evening Muse, an intimate live music venue. The interior is snug and inviting: string lights hang from the ceiling and exposed brick walls are dotted with local artwork. This spot opened its doors in 2001 and has since been going strong, hosting over a thousand independent, original music and comedy acts. Bands from the Charlotte area as well as touring groups are playing all kinds of music; however, The Muse is best known for hosting superb acoustic sets. Open mics are every Monday, a full bar is available, and it’s only a $5.00 cover charge at the door for all ages. The Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St, Charlotte, NC, (704) 376-3737

The Double Door Inn © Justin Higuchi/FlickrThe Double Door Inn © Justin Higuchi/Flickr

3. Double Door Inn

Music Venue

NC Music Factory
© Justin Ruckman/Flickr
The Double Door Inn is a little white house on the corner in Charlotte that also happens to be one of the best live music venues in the state. Although the exterior looks no different than any house on the block, the interior is deceptively large. Exposed brick walls are covered with autographed photos and contain classic row seating, a full bar, pool tables, and the main stage. Since its inception in 1973, the Double Door is officially the oldest live music venue east of the Mississippi and one of the oldest blues clubs in the U.S. under original ownership. Many famous names have graced the stage, from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughn, and this venue shows no signs of slowing. All genres and bands are welcome for the Monday Night All Stars open mic, and cheap drinks are flowing late. Double Door Inn, 1218 Charlottetowne Ave, Charlotte, NC, (704) 376-1446

4. NC Music Factory

Music Venue, Shop, Theater

Visulite Theater
Visulite Theater
The NC Music Factory is one of the largest compound entertainment venues in the state. No stone is left unturned in this spot – it’s a place to eat, drink, shop, and most importantly, catch some live music. Considering the Factory literally has its own boulevard, it can be somewhat of a maze to navigate, but the music venues include The Uptown Ampitheatre, The Fillmore, and the Fountain Plaza: the Ampitheatre is an extensive outdoor venue that offers staggering views of the city skyline by night, complete with ample seating and concessions; The Fillmore is indoors and is trademarked by the unique decor such as oakwood floors, bright red walls, and low-hanging crystal chandeliers; and the Plaza runs an outdoor ‘Friday LIVE!’ concert series that features local and touring bands of all genres. The Factory is a music festival all year-round, for a fraction of the price. NC Music Factory, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd, Charlotte, NC, (704) 987-0612

5. Visulite Theater

Music Venue, Theater

Contrary to its name, the Visulite Theater is not a theater in the traditional sense. The stage and seating are all on one level, which creates a sense of intimacy between the performers and the crowd. The stage is a classic pop-up with a simple deep blue border and a gilded set of wings in the center, behind which hangs a tiered curtain. Local, regional, and touring acts are welcome, and a full service bar runs every night. The Visulite is an ideal place to spend a low-key evening soaking up some of the best live shows that Charlotte has to offer. Visulite Theater, 1615 Elizabeth Ave, Charlotte, NC, (704) 358-9200 By: Eliza Jorn
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