The Best LA Bars & Restaurants With Live Music guide image

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The Best LA Bars & Restaurants With Live Music

20 of our favorite spots to catch a live set without buying a ticket.

Seeing big-name artists at giant venues can be fun. But sometimes it's great to experience live music in a setting where you can actually see the faces of the people on stage. Fortunately, LA is full of great bars and restaurants where you can do just that. From old-school steakhouses to swanky, subterranean cocktail bars, here are the best places to eat and drink while listening to live music.

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photo credit: Richard Stowe

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The Chap

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1607 N Cahuenga St, Los Angeles
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There's always something going on at The Chap, whether it's drinking pints at trivia night, bingo games, or live performances by the in-house Irish rock band. Starting at 9pm on Thursdays to Saturdays, this British pub in Hollywood becomes a stage for Fiddler & The Chap, a fiddle and banjo group that covers hits from England and Ireland. It's not every day you hear someone go to town on the fiddle  (unless you're a hardcore Renaissance Faire fan), so catching it live with a round of drinks is a special treat. It also helps that The Chap has a solid draft beer selection and great cocktails, including a refreshing Pimms drink that you should definitely order in a teapot. 

Kibitz Room is not where you start the night. It’s where you end it after getting dropped off in front of Canter’s Deli at 1:15am and realize you might have one more drink left in you. Attached to the all-night Fairfax deli, this classic, grungy dive promises cheap beer, bartenders who don’t care about you, and some weird dude plucking an electric guitar in the corner who probably headlined Whiskey A-Go-Go earlier that night. The short ten-yard walk to a pastrami sandwich afterward is the cherry on top.

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Tower Bar

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This West Hollywood restaurant might be most famous for its debaucherous entertainment industry clientele, but there’s also a softer side to Tower Bar. Jazz pianists play for the crowds cozying up to roaring fireplaces, while over on the terrace, a stringed quartet serenades as the sun sets over the city. It’s a one-of-a-kind, essentially LA restaurant setting and a place that, regardless if you’ve lived here your whole life or are just visiting for the weekend, never gets old.

Walking into Tramp Stamp Granny’s in Hollywood is like walking into the most insane high school theater cast party of all time. Here you’ll find bartenders belting Celine Dion and pouring shots, strangers having Missy Elliot rap-offs, and every single person singing Seasons of Love in unison. This rowdy piano bar is the kind of place you peek your head into because you hear noise from the sidewalk and wake up the next morning with a text from an unknown number asking if you’re still on for the Dear Evan Hansen matinee.

Townhouse is a dark and narrow Venice bar where you’ll often find young tech professionals logging off Slack and kickstarting the weekend with a round of tequila. But there’s a lot more to this popular Westside spot than Happy Hour drinks, including its history as a Prohibition-era speakeasy that dates back over a century. Nowadays, Townhouse is more speakeasy-themed than actual speakeasy, but its past lives on in Del Monte: a dark, low-ceiling bar in the basement that hosts all kinds of acts throughout the week. Check their website for a full calendar and catch anything from jazz bands to acoustic guitarists to stand-up comedy in a venue that still feels like a well-kept secret.

Hotel Cafe is one of our favorite live music venues in the city, and the kind of place you go to see an indie band with your music-obsessed friend and end up watching Jack Antonoff do a surprise acoustic set at 11:30pm. The small space along Cahuenga (the entrance is in the back alley) has shows every day of the week, and while some will sell out, it’s also possible to just walk in, grab a strong cocktail from the bar, and check out who’s playing that night.

This dark, basement bar in DTLA feels like the kind of place where Miles Davis would have performed in the 1950s. The spacious room is surrounded by comfy leather booths, candlelit tables, and a couple of regulars drinking whiskey neat. There’s a different live jazz band performing every night, and since there’s no cover, you can stroll right in and find a seat whenever you want to be seduced by a saxophone. It’s the perfect place to bring a date after dinner, or just drop by for a solo nightcap. Be sure to check out The Stowaway’s website for the full calendar of events.

The menu at this industrial spot is an ever-changing list of inventive cocktails, but the main draw at Harvard & Stone is the entertainment. This Thai Town bar does live music the majority of the week, with a blues or rock band playing up front near the entrance. Although it's usually low-key, it’s always more fun than you’d think. People here aren’t afraid to get down on the makeshift dance floor and things can get downright wild if you stick around for one of their late-night DJ sets.

Self-described as "a little bit country, a little bit rock-and-roll," Desert 5 is a Pioneertown-inspired rooftop bar in Hollywood that is committed to the bit. There are glowing neon signs, cocktail glasses shaped like cacti and boots, and a stage where some band you've never heard of plays their heart and soul out while rocking cowboy hats. It gets crowded here on weeknights, so probably come then. Weekends are packed, packed, packed.

This cute, checker-floored wine bar on York Blvd. in Highland Park has live music shows almost every night. Most of the weeknight performances are free, but on weekends they charge a $12 cover. In general, you can expect to see a blue-haired vocalist performing lo-fi indie rock under a disco ball while you eat solid food from Sticky Rice, the popular Thai mini-chain that serves from a takeout window out front.

The food at Pip's is pretty good—think racks of lamb, creole fettuccine, and tiramisu—but you’re here for the incredible jazz performances. Since opening in 2010, this jazz club/restaurant has become a go-to casual hangout spot, a place where you’ll hear blues, R&B, or dinner showcases any night of the week. They have patio and indoor seating, and unlike other jazz clubs, Pips sticks to a strict weekly schedule.

This swanky DTLA cocktail bar is truly underground: you’ll find the entrance through a dark staircase in an alley. But once you’re inside, it’ll feel like a big nightclub. Stop by on Thursday nights for live jazz performed by local musicians. It never gets too crowded and we’re always blown away by the raw talent on stage, so remember this spot for a last-minute date. There’s never a cover charge to get in on jazz nights, but drinks typically cost around $20.

A bunch of local indie, rock, and funk bands perform on Wednesdays at Good Times At Davey Wayne’s. On these nights, this infamous party bar offers Happy Hour specials that run from 8pm until the show begins around 10pm. Chill out in the living room and listen to the live band, or get rowdy in the backyard with the boozy snow-cone machine and maybe another band on the roof. It’s all insane and gimmicky, but if you can’t find fun at Davey Wayne’s, we can’t help you.

From the outside, El Cid appears as just a random door frame along Sunset Blvd. But walk down the staircase and you’ll find yourself in a hidden dinner theater featuring weekly live music and professional flamenco shows. The dinner-and-a-show setup runs Saturday and Sunday nights, with solid-enough Spanish food that will keep everybody in your group happy. Once the show is over, grab a  cocktail from the bar, and take it outside to one of our favorite patios in the city.

Every Sunday night there’s a live music act performing under the disco ball at Club Tee Gee. The musicians range from acoustic duos to disco pop vocalists, and there’s usually a decent-sized crowd here to discover new music. This legendary drinking spot in Atwater Village also hosts monthly dance parties, weekly karaoke nights, and the occasional restaurant pop-up, so be sure to follow their Instagram for updates.

If a classic steakhouse with live music and a view sounds like your speed, it doesn’t get much better than Mastro’s in Malibu. Every night at 6pm, you’ll find someone singing R&B covers while playing the piano by the bar. Order a martini, take in the ocean view, and eat steak like you’re celebrating an imaginary birthday.

Opened by the legendary American trumpet player, Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill is anything but mellow. Any dinner at this Bel-Air restaurant is a full-blown event. As soon as you enter, you’ll be greeted by a glittering ballroom and a live jazz band upfront. People are wearing suits, jackets, and dresses they found in the “evening wear” section at a department store, and everything, from the steak to the calamari tastes perfectly acceptable, sometimes even good. Be prepared to spend money and have fun.

Delilah is an upscale restaurant in West Hollywood where you might spot a celebrity sitting across the bar. The food is solid, the waitstaff is attentive, and there’s usually a jazz singer crooning in the corner. Live music is a fixture during dinner service every night, but around 9pm, a DJ steps in and the whole space transitions into something of a club lounge. So if you want to eat tuna tartare and catch a show at this swanky dinner spot, be sure to get here around 7pm.

On Saturday nights, this Argentinian steakhouse in Beverly Grove usually has live music during dinner. Sometimes it happens inside their charming little dining room and other times it happens out back on their beautiful, fully-enclosed back patio. These nights are ideal for a romantic dinner with someone who would appreciate a giant wine list filled with dozens of Argentinian reds, and a menu with no shortage of meat.

Located on Vermont Ave. in the middle of Los Feliz, The Dresden is broken up into two distinct areas: the main dining room and the bar/lounge. And while you can have a decent enough prime rib dinner here, the real move is to skip the dining room altogether and head right to the lounge. The iconic lounge is a great place to drink old-school cocktails like the rum-infused Blood & Sand and catch a live jazz show.

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