Where to Hear Live Music in Downtown Las Vegas
Las Vegas has a legendary history of live music. Every great musician you’ve ever heard has played in our town – and some have even performed-long term. But if you want to stay off the strip or listen to local or indie bands, downtown is where to go. Especially if you’re tired of listening to DJs play the same songs night after night…
Here are my picks for the best places to hear live music in downtown Las Vegas:
From Broadway Shows to local luminaries like the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Smith Center has it all. In In April, I watched the world premiere of the Shakespeare play/musical/magic show, The Tempest. For Mother’s Day, I bought my mom and aunt tickets to see their crush – Johnny Mathis. This past month, the critically acclaimed and foul-mouthed Broadway show, The Book of Mormon, brought thousands to the Smith Center. In the Cabaret Jazz room, you can hear local greats like Clint Holmes and jazz musicians from all over the world. If you’re a musician, the Smith Center offers the Composer Showcase to share new music with the community. It’s got almost everything a discerning music lover needs!
361 Symphony Park Avenue
Velveteen Rabbit is the perfect place to chill with cocktails and listen to local band and experimentations. Every month they have a new line-up of weekly shows that are free. If you like turn of the 20th century furniture and local art, you’ll love this little hole in the wall.
1218 S Main S
Open Mon – Sun 5:00 pm – 2:00 am
Artifice hosts events of all kinds – burlesque shows, quirky bands, jazz jam sessions and even the occasional dance class. It’s well-appointed and not at all a dive bar and they have some of the friendliest bartenders in town. However, Adrienne and I won’t forgive the pickle juice chaser incident of 2014. You do have to keep your eye out on their Facebook page though for events.
1025 First Street, #3
Open Daily, 4:00 pm-1:30 am
Don’t Tell Mama
Not exactly a concert venue, Don’t Tell Mama is the classic piano bar where the servers get up to sing in between serving drinks. If you want to hear great singing and piano playing on any given day and don’t want to wait for a show, Don’t Tell Mama is the perfect downtown bar.
517 Fremont St
Open Tues – Sun 8:00 pm – 3:00 am
One of the first bars on Fremont East to host new and established indie bands is this retro beauty salon. I’m not a punk or indie fan, but I like to dabble on occasion. You’ll also see a steady rotation of local bands on stage. There’s also Karate Karaoke every Wednesday if you enjoy ritual humiliation.
517 Fremont St # A
Open Nightly 9:00 pm-4:00 am
Known formally as Backstage Bar and Billiards, but for those of us who get tongue tied with alliteration, we call it Triple B. Another anchor for rock music, you’ll find pool tables and eclectic décor – anvil cases for seating, speakers lining the walls, and hundreds of original print concert posters. And they have eclectic shows, too: I saw Nevada State Assemblywoman Lucy Flores sing mariachi here.
601 E. Fremont St.