Best Places for Live Music in Alexandria, Virginia

In Alexandria, Virginia, located on the waterfront just minutes from Washington, D.C., there’s live music around every cobblestone corner. From buskers at the marina in Old Town to the world-renowned Birchmere: America’s Legendary Music Hall in Del Ray, there’s something for every type of music-lover in the Port City.

Whether you’re looking to catch big names in music or hit the stage yourself for a set of karaoke or dance, we’ve got you covered with our favorite places to catch live music, from bars and pubs to concert venues and everything in between.

Bars and Pubs

Murphy’s Irish Pub

Image Credit: L. Barnes for Visit Alexandria

Murphy’s is the go-to spot for locals looking for live music any night of the week inside a cozy and classic pub setting. Seven nights a week, you can catch live sets from Irish acoustic musicians, plus bluegrass, rock, cover bands and more, and choose from an extensive craft beer selection and a tempting menu of American favorites and Irish specialties. Check their event calendar for upcoming sets.

O’Shaughnessy’s Pub

Image Credit: O’Shaughnessy’s Facebook Page

O’Shaughnessy’s is one of the few neighborhood bars where you can still find pool tables and a jukebox, all in the upstairs bar. Downstairs, there’s live music most nights of the week, including the house band on Thursdays and open mic night on Mondays.

219 Restaurant

Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

219 Restaurant is the ultimate spot for a romantic date night, with live music every night at 9 p.m. upstairs at the Basin St. Lounge featuring classic jazz and blues. For a more fast-paced evening, head downstairs to the Bayou Room for a live DJ set Tuesday through Saturday nights.

Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant & Pub

Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

Located near the waterfront at the foot of King Street, Daniel O’Connell’s is a popular gathering spot with some of the best live Irish music in the region. Catch traditional Irish sessions Monday and Wednesdays at 8 p.m., plus live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from local musicians.

Port City Brewing Co.

Image Credit: S. Hauser for Virginia Tourism

Craft beer-lovers will definitely want to catch the Live Music & Food Truck events at Port City Brewing Co., named the Best Small Brewery in America. Regularly on Friday nights and occasionally on Saturdays, the brewery hosts live music acts with rotating food trucks on-hand. You can also take advantage of brewery tours and all of Port City Brewing Co.’s beers on tap.

Concert Spots

The Birchmere: America’s Legendary Music Hall

Image Credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

The Birchmere was named the Best Live Music Venue by Northern Virginia Magazine in 2018. The intimate venue is a great spot to indulge your nostalgia with beloved musicians like Arlo Guthrie, Morris Day and Suzanne Vega as well as other famous names like Kevin Bacon (the Bacon Brothers), David Duchovny and Jeff Daniels. Alexandria native Charles Eston, known as Deacon on the television smash hit “Nashville,” performs each year during the holiday season. The world-famous Birchmere has hosted iconic acts in its storied history like Johnny Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Ray Charles, and other jazz, country, folk, bluegrass and R&B artists. Check out their calendar for artists and bands coming to Alexandria.

The Carlyle Club

Image Credit: Carlyle Club

The Carlyle Club has an Art Deco vibe right out of The Great Gatsby, making it a dreamy venue for classic jazz, swing, funk and orchestra bands. Turn it into a date night and dress to the nines as you enjoy cocktails and food from an elegant table where you can take in the show or hit the dance floor. It’s a unique venue and an unforgettable experience, open Wednesday through Sunday evenings.

Schlesinger Concert Hall

Image Credit: U.S. Navy 

The Schlesinger Concert Hall is a 1,000-seat theater with state-of-the-art acoustics and striking architecture with wood paneling. The stunning space is worth the trip alone, with a stellar music lineup to keep music-lovers coming back for show after show. Check their event calendar for a full list of performances, including renowned orchestras like the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra plus concerts and recitals.

Karaoke and Dance

Rock It Grill

Image Credit: Christine Halsey Photography

Rock It Grill on King Street is the place to go for a fun (and rowdy) night of Karaoke. How many people can say they sang on the same stage as Kevin Bacon? He performed karaoke at the bar in 2017, a tradition locals know well. It’s the only spot in town to offer top-notch karaoke seven nights a week, particularly entertaining on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Light Horse

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

The bar upstairs at The Light Horse Restaurant is an ideal late-night destination for groups, including DJ’s on Friday nights, karaoke on Sunday and Monday nights and local musicians throughout the week. Looking for even more entertainment? They’ve also got fun games like skeeball and shuffleboard.

Nick’s Nightclub

Image Credit: Nick’s Nightclub Facebook Page

Nick’s Nightclub in the West End is known as one of the best spots in the region for live country music and dancing, plus karaoke every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Nick’s is always a lively spot on weekends, and also offers weekly dance lessons, swing nights and regular special events.

 

Restaurants

Blackwall Hitch

Image Credit: Blackwall Hitch Facebook Page

Waterfront restaurant Blackwall Hitch has a steady lineup of local musicians on an intimate stage conveniently located at the bustling marina. In addition to creative cocktails and fantastic food options, they have live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night plus jazz performances during Sunday brunch. It’s an ideal spot for late-night eats and entertainment.

Sonoma Cellar

Image Credit: Sonoma Cellar Facebook Page

Sonoma Cellar is an urban oasis and a quiet escape located right on King Street in Old Town. Their dog-friendly back patio and wine garden is covered in a canopy of twinkle lights and includes a fire pit and regular live acoustic music, including most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Laporta’s Restaurant

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Laporta’s Restaurant has been one of the best places in Alexandria for local jazz for over 20 years. The intimate setting is a cozy place to have a drink and catch late-night jazz performances seven nights a week with phenomenal bop, scat, big band, classical, fusion and bluegrass artists. If you’re not much of a night owl, try their brunch—it’s a local favorite and now offers outdoor seating.

Lounges

The No. 9 Lounge

Image Credit: Evening Star Cafe

Upstairs at Del Ray’s neighborhood gem Evening Star Cafe, visitors can find The No. 9 Lounge, a swanky and funky space filled with vintage furniture and sofas. You can find live music in the lounge every Wednesday and Thursday, plus Southern-inspired craft cocktails and small bites.

Jolley’s Restaurant & Lounge

Image Credit: Jolley’s Restaurant & Lounge Facebook Page

Jolley’s serves classic Ethiopian fare in the West End, with a lounge that turns into a packed party at night. The spacious lounge features DJ sets, hookah and themed-nights, including ladies night, karaoke, and more.

 

For more on live music in Alexandria, click here.

 

Header Image Credit: Lisa A. Walker