Nightlife! It may not be at the absolute top of your list of criteria for moving to a new city, but it should be up there. Luckily if you’re moving to Charlotte, NC, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a well-established and lively music scene to keep your nights cultured and your weekends exciting. Just make sure you don’t forget about sleeping, too.
Here are the best places to go to hear some good live music in Charlotte, based on your fellow revelers’ reviews. We’re sure you’ll find something up your alley.
The Evening Muse
Tucked in the NoDa (North Davidson) district of the city, this sweet spot is a wine bar and rock club married in a tiny but hip space. Word on the street is that some of the best local acts have been known to duck in on Monday nights for a few quick songs at Open Mic Night, making the Muse one of the city’s trending gems. Locals say you should plan to go early, though, or you may find yourself unable to get a seat in this intimate setting.
Blue Restaurant & Bar
Voted one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in the city, this spot in the First Ward is your go-to if you’re feeling like an upscale dining experience accompanied by a classy martini menu and live jazz music Wednesday through Saturday. Diners report that the Diver’s Scallops are to die for, and as a result you’ll do best getting a reservation or going early. Do yourself a favor, too, and dress up. At least a little.
The Thirsty Beaver
If loud, raucous, and entertaining are more your scene, head over to The Thirsty Beaver on Central Ave. This fine establishment won the moniker of “Best Stick It To The Man” from Creative Loafing Charlotte because of its rowdy history, which includes erecting a fence to keep a developer from snagging the land. You’ll find the coldest PBRs, the loudest bar rock bands, and an eccentric clientele at one of the funkiest bars in Charlotte.
Every night at Snug Harbor has a little something different. Karaoke Sundays will bring the die-hards out of the woodwork while Thursday night’s “Shiprocked” packs the place to the brim with a cast of – get this – pirate go-go dancers. Not for the faint of heart, the music is guaranteed to be loud and the patrons rowdy, but you can catch some class acts and art exhibits if you pay attention to the schedule.
Say what you will, but sometimes dive bars are the best places to catch a show. With both indoor and outdoor seating, happy hour specials, and an Open Mic night, Tommy’s could become your new favorite spot to take in the Charlotte music scene. It has a collection of Tommy’s die-hards who will welcome you to the scene as you belly up to the bar and you’ll quickly feel right at home.
Cajun Queen (for jazz)
Voted Charlotte’s best cajun restaurant, the Cajun Queen can satisfy both your need for a solid, spicy meal as well as some live jazz music upstairs. Weekends can get extremely busy, so consider making a reservation — especially if you want to sit outside. Try the catfish, of course, and we hear the shrimp and grits are the best in town.
Your more classic music venue, set your sights here if you want to focus on the acts on stage in a more traditional concert setting. The beers are still cheap, though, and there’s even parking across the street. The venue attracts great acts both on the local and national scene and, so we hear, the view is great no matter where you find a place to stand.
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