34 Restaurants Where You Can Catch Live Music

Plenty of great performances are happening each week on this side of the Potomac.

Photo by Ben Neale on Unsplash

Longtime Arlington residents and D.C. locals may miss IOTA, a restaurant and live-music venue that brought troves of folks to Clarendon in its 23-year history. The cultural hub was shuttered two years ago, with an active construction site in its place as Market Common continues to expand.

But the loss doesn’t mean live-music lovers have to cross the river to see some great talent. In Arlington, several neighborhood concert series run throughout the year, including Groovin’ on the Pike, Rosslyn Rocks!, the Shirlala Music Festival, Pentagon City’s Rock at the Row and Rock the Loop. And in addition to nearby concert venues that welcome touring groups (looking at you, Birchmere and State Theatre), there are dozens of local restaurants, bars and coffee shops where you can pull up a chair and hear a wide variety of local musicians. Here are 34 to get you started.

Live music at Baba (Photo by Ardent Vibe)


Where: 2901 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon)

When: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8-11 p.m.

Sounds Like: Acoustic, with an emphasis on international music

Cover Charge: None

This swanky basement bar and Balkan restaurant beneath Ambar features live music weekly. Check their Facebook page for updates each Wednesday.

Busboys and Poets

Where: 4251 Campbell Ave, Arlington (Shirlington)

When: Mondays 8-10 p.m. (open mic); Final Fridays, 10 p.m.-Midnight (talent show)

Sounds Like: All welcome

Cover Charge: $5

One of seven area locations, the Arlington Busboys and Poets offers food, music, spoken word and comedy at the Village at Shirlington. Take a peek at their online calendar to stay up on the latest.

Caboose Commons

Where: 2918 Eskridge Road, Fairfax (Mosaic District)

When: Sundays, 10 a.m. (usually twice monthly)

Sounds Like: Acoustic

Cover Charge: None

Live music is one event among many (trivia night, Bhangra aerobics) at this brewery and coffeehouse across the street from Mosaic District’s shops and restaurants. Check their Facebook page for a listing of current showtimes and special events.

Cafe Sazon

Where: 4704 Columbia Pike, Arlington

When: Thursdays, 7:30-10 p.m. (twice monthly)

Sounds Like: Acoustic, some international music

Cover Charge: None

This Columbia Pike cafe specializing in South American and Central American food has live music every second and last Thursday of the month, with a few additional performances sprinkled in. Call for info on upcoming performances.

The Celtic House Irish Pub

Where: 2500 Columbia Pike, Arlington

When: Fridays and Saturdays, 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Sounds Like: Varies, some Irish music

Cover Charge: None

Irish jig band Malarkey is a favorite at The Celtic House, but local cover bands and other musicians also frequent the pub. To stay up-to-date, visit their website.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment