Where to Eat, Drink and Catch Live Music

Enjoy stellar shows alongside your drinks and dinner at these local restaurants and bars. 🎹
Sofar 2/2023

Love live music? So do dozens of bars and restaurants around Arlington. Scores of regional and touring musicians, such as folk/rock project Howling at the Earth, help make the town a sought-after music destination. (Photo courtesy of Howling at the Earth)

Looking to support local musicians while enjoying a craft cocktail, bar munchies or even a three-course dinner? Look no further than these Arlington restaurants and watering holes, all of which host live tunes. Whether you’re in the mood for a chill acoustic set, piano bar fun or a boisterous cover band, you’ve got options.

Ballston Local

Days and Times Vary

In addition to a weekly open mic night and monthly karaoke party, Ballston Local also hosts live bands most Fridays, with an occasional Saturday night show as well. Order a plate of poutine or a New York-style pizza and find your jam in acts such as ’80s alt-rock cover band Champagne Velvet or Arlington dad band Manther. You can keep tabs on the restaurant website to see who’s playing next. // 900 N. Glebe Road (Ballston)

B Live

Friday & Saturday | 9:30 p.m.

If you love a good cover band, make a date with this Clarendon nightspot in the former Whitlows space. Each weekend, local and regional bands like Run for Cover and Lush tear up the stage while patrons dig into loaded cheese fries and White Claws. Check the website for details. // 2854 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington (Clarendon)

Bronson Bierhall

Wednesday-Saturday | Times vary

Come for the loaded pretzels and hefty list of brews on tap, stay for the performances at this modern beer hall. Accompanying your socializing are local musicians such as fiddle-guitar duo Christian and Nyke and folk/rock project Howling at the Earth. Head to their website to see who’s playing this week. // 4100 Fairfax Drive, Arlington (Ballston) 

The Birchmere

Nightly | Times vary

Few venues do live music quite like The Birchmere. The storied club that opened in 1966 hosts music nearly every night of the week—with names such as Lalah Hathaway, Lyle Lovett and America on its roster—and is also a full-service restaurant. Expect more than mere bar food here, with dishes like Louisiana shrimp & chicken alfredo and homemade meatloaf (plus beer and vino.) Bookmark their online calendar to ensure you don’t miss one of your favorite artists. // 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Ticket prices vary.

Cafe Sazon

Last Saturday of Month  | 7-9 p.m.

On the final Saturday of each month, enjoy a side of live music with your pupusa or empanada at this South American eatery on the Pike. Performers such as bluesy rock outfit Jeff Smith and The Human Wilderness String Band will keep the tunes going. // 4704 Columbia Pike, Arlington


The Jared Stout Band, “bringing the beat of the mountains to the rhythm of your everyday blues,” is one of many regional bands hitting Arlington stages. (Photo courtesy of The Renegade)

The Celtic House

Thursday-Saturday | Times vary

Pop by this Irish pub  on the Pike Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. for traditional Irish tunes, or on Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30 p.m.-midnight for a wider array of music genres, such as cover band Sugar Coat or the bluesy Curbfeelers. Feeling peckish? Try an order of beer-battered bangers or Galway fish tacos, paired with a pint of Guinness or Kilkenny.  Check the Celtic House website for the latest on who’s performing. // 2500 Columbia Pike, Arlington

Clare and Don’s Beach Shack

Friday & Saturday | Times vary

Known for its fish tacos, orange crushes, fried gator and shrimp baskets, David and Rebecca Tax’s summer-vibes bar hosts an array of live tunes, from blues outfits and chill acoustic sets to cover bands. The colorful cantina features both indoor and outdoor stages and is conveniently located next door to The State Theatre, so you can expect a veritable block party in warm-weather months. Check the website to see who’s next on the bill. // 130 N. Washington St., Falls Church City

Cloud Lounge

Days and Times Vary

This destination for hookah, mezze, tea and cocktails (see the Heat Wave, a blend of tequila, agave nectar, jalapeno, basil and tajin) often hosts live music. Follow their Facebook page to note upcoming performances from artists such as Syrian American singer-songwriter Fadi Jano and Arabic music duo Asmae and Chakib. // 2515 Langston Blvd., Arlington

Dogwood Tavern

Days and Times Vary

This Little City pub keeps the music going multiple nights a week, both in its dining room and, in warmer months, at its outdoor skybar. Bop to the tunes with an order of oysters, Angus steak nachos or a tuna poke bowl. And stay current on the lineup with their website. // 132 W. Broad St., Falls Church City

Evening Star

Days and Times Vary

This beloved, 26-year-old Del Ray restaurant serves cheffy dishes like smoked duck confit and braised pork belly, but it’s also home to an upstairs lounge that stages performances by blues, jazz and acoustic singer-songwriters and more. Follow their Facebook page for the latest. // 2000 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria (Del Ray)

Freddie’s Beach Bar

Days and Times Vary

Freddie Lutz’s  “gay, straight-friendly” bar on Crystal City’s 23rd Street Restaurant Row is known for karaoke and kitsch, but it also hosts plenty of other music-centric events each week, including drag shows, piano bar nights and a jazz brunch. Check the Facebook page for details. // 555 23rd St. S., Arlington (Crystal City)

Ireland’s Four Provinces

Dates and Times Vary

Dig into potato croquettes and Kinsale seafood stew at this Irish tavern in the heart of Falls Church City. The atmosphere rings traditional with mostly Irish music from artists such as Northern Ireland native Gerry Timlin and multi-genre musician Lenny Burridge. To see who’s up next, check their Facebook page. // 105 W. Broad St., Falls Church City


Nightly | Times vary

Their motto is “ageless charm without yuppie bastardization.” That about sums up the vibe of this longtime (75+ years) establishment near Seven Corners. Feed your appetite with options like pork chops, meatloaf, strawberry rhubarb pie (the kitchen stays open until 1:30 a.m. nightly) while jammin’ to live blues, country and rock and roll. Find their music calendar on their site. // 6666 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church

Mattie and Eddie’s

Thursday-Saturday | 7-10 p.m.

You’ll find proper fish and chips, Irish breakfast all day and plenty of Guinness on tap at chef Cathal Armstrong’s Westpost pub—not to mention an ongoing Irish music and arts series, featuring three-night mini residencies from Irish musicians such as Conor Malone. Take a peek at the Facebook page to see who’s playing next. // 1301 S. Joyce St., Arlington (Westpost)


Friday & Saturday | 9:30 p.m.

Expect a variety of acoustic and cover band performances at this Clarendon institution, which servesIrish beef dip, Black Velvets (Guinness and Magners) and more than 130 whiskeys. Check the Facebook page for the latest performance lineup, which includes acts such as The David Thong Band and The Dad Guys. // 3207 Washington Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon)

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Cover bands such as Run for Cover (above) perform at venues throughout Arlington, including B Live and The Renegade. (Photo courtesy of Run For Cover)

Open Road

Friday & Saturday | 8 p.m.

The Merrifield location of Open Road hosts live music Friday and Saturday nights and posts the lineup on its website. (Psst … if you like Billie Eilish covers, this Open Road performer is one for your next playlist.) The wide-ranging menu includes all manner of bar munchies (including nearly a dozen different kinds of wings), entrees and salads, plus proper cocktails. Try a maple old fashioned. // 8100 Lee Highway, Falls Church

Pistone’s Italian Inn

Nightly | Times vary

There’s music most nights of the week in the lounge of this nearly 50-year-old restaurant, where regulars go for burrata, gnocchi, lobster linguini and more. On a given night, you may enjoy jazz standards, pop covers or a bit of country-western. For specifics, give them a call (703-533-1885). // 6320 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church


Friday & Saturday | 9 p.m.

You may hear a bit of actual ragtime at Ragtime, but you can also catch plenty of other genres, including Americana and blues, at this New Orleans-style barroom, which hosts a Bourbon Street brunch on weekends. Follow the restaurant’s Facebook page to stay in-the-know on performances from artists such as rootsy singer-songwriter Rogue Johnsen. // 1345 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington (Courthouse)

The Renegade

Thursday-Saturday | Times vary

Equipped with a permanent 20-foot stage, Patrick Crump’s hopping cafe and music venue hosts a range of artists three nights a week, including great cover bands from around the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast. See who’s up next on their website, and be sure to sample the globally inspired munchies from the food menu, including choices such as shiitake lo mein and Fattoush chopped salad. // 3100 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon). $5 cover charge Friday and Saturday.

Rhodeside Grill

Days and Times Vary

Consummate open-mic host Alex “The Red” Parez hosts regular open mics at Rhodeside—where you can find crab and artichoke dip and a double-decker burger known as The Big Dubs. The restaurant also hosts bands and solo artists, such as singer-songwriter James Stevens and Americana artist Holly Montgomery. Check their website for the latest. // 1836 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Courthouse)

Samuel Beckett’s

Friday & Saturday | 8:30 p.m.

Catch artists such as singer/guitarists Matt Burridge and Spike Burton at this Shirlington gastro pub, where the eats include Irish baked brie and blackened cod. Find out who’s playing each month on their website. // 2800 S. Randolph St., Suite 110, Arlington (Shirlington)

Settle Down Easy

Days and Times Vary

This Merrifield microbrewery offers plenty of great choices when it comes to beer, including the Bunnyman Settles Down brown ale and the signature Hop-Wah Phonic West Coast IPA. It’s also home to a weekly open mic and other performances from a variety of acts, such as Americana artist Sam C. Jones. Follow the brewery’s Facebook page for details on upcoming shows. // 2822 Fallfax Drive, Falls Church

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American artist Holly Montgomery is one of several touring and regional artists to play at Rhodeside Grill. (Photo courtesy of Holly Montgomery)

Star Nut Gourmet

Friday | 4-6 p.m.

Star Nut serves an enticing menu of chocolates, gelato and other decadent treats, and with live music there’s yet another reason to stop by. On Fridays, the cafe often transforms into a performance space. Check their Facebook page to see what’s planned next. // 1445 Laughlin Ave., McLean

Starr Hill Biergarten

Days and Times Vary

Take your evenings and weekends to new heights at this lofty beer garden, featuring 11-story views and overlooking a 2.5 acre skypark. The beer garden sits next to an outdoor amphitheater that stages live music multiple nights a week in spring, summer and fall. Keep an eye on their website for show info. // The Perch, 1805 Capital One Drive, Tysons

Three Whistles

Friday & Saturday | 8 p.m.

Why can’t a co-working space double as a concert venue? This one does just that, with open mic and karaoke nights, as well as performances from local bands and solo artists such as roots trio Crooked Sparrow. Head to their website for details. // 2719 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon)

Westover Market Beer Garden

Wednesday, Friday & Saturday | Times vary

The musical guests are as eclectic as the beer in this intimate outdoor performance space adorned with picnic tables and twinkling lights. Grab a pint of your favorite draft brew (you’ll find 10 drafts inside and another six in the garden proper), pair it with some cheese curds, and settle in for a night of great tunes from artists such as acoustic duo Felix Pickles and Liz Taylor and the Husbands (cue the band-name envy).  For the latest, check their website. // 5863 Washington Blvd., Arlington (Westover)

William Jeffrey’s Tavern

Friday & Saturday | 9:30 p.m.

Relax to the tunes of acoustic artists over popcorn shrimp, French dips and appletinis. The Columbia Pike restaurant posts its slate of performers (such as cover outfit The Too Extra Band) on its website calendar. // 2301 Columbia Pike, Suite 101, Arlington 

See a venue not listed here? Tell us about it at eliza.tebo@arlingtonmagazine.com.


Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink