If you love live music, Arkansas has venues that you absolutely must include on your road trip experiences. Not only do these establishments offer great entertainment, but the food, the drinks, and the overall atmosphere of these locales are worth a visit.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Maxine's Pub: (Hot Springs) A former brothel in the middle of Hot Spring's Central Avenue, Maxine's has since become one of the Spa City's favorite bars and music venues.
The venue is named after infamous and legendary Hot Springs, Arkansas madame Maxine Temple Jones.
2. White Water Tavern: (Little Rock) Speaking from personal experience from back in your intrepid Little Rock author's younger and wilder days, this
is *the* best place to see a live band in the capital city.
A local dive situated just minutes away from the State Capitol Complex, the White Water has a long history of great music that continues today, the venue also serves cold beer and features live music nightly.
3. Revolution Music Room: (Little Rock) Unofficially known as "The Rev Room", this live music venue in the River Market also houses the Revolution
Taco & Tequila Lounge.
The acts that play at the Rev Room vary in numerous genres; everything from hip hop, metal rock, and contemporary national and local bands/DJs
4. The Big Chill: (Hot Springs) Established in 1997 at The Park Hotel in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas, The Big Chill was a small little locale where people quickly got comfy.
Having moved to Higdon Ferry Road in Hot Springs 15 years ago, the Big Chill expanded into a two story, raging good time with great live music every night & a good selection of food on the menu.
5. Cregeen's Irish Pub (North Little Rock): Located on Main Street in North Little Rock, Cregeen's is a friendly neighborhood tavern that features live music, serves up hard-to-find beers, and prides itself on serving a "proper pint".
Cregeen, which is Gaelic for "Little Rock", also has a location in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
6. Sticky Fingerz (Little Rock): Your intrepid Little Rock author has been a proven dancing fool on more than a few occasions at this crown jewel of the River Market. Known to the locals as "Stickyz", this rock and roll chicken shack features live bands almost every night of the week.
In addition to great live music, Stickyz boasts really good fried chicken & drinks in a unique and artsy warehouse setting.
7. The Afterthought (Little Rock): A popular Hillcrest neighborhood attraction in Little Rock, this bistro serves excellent and fresh fare while featuring
open mic nights and live bands for diners to enjoy.
The Afterthought is the capital city's oldest local bar and offers live music every night. Traditional jazz performers sponsored by the Arkansas Jazz
Heritage Foundation perform Mondays; headliners other nights vary, ranging from smooth jazz and blues to jam-rock and reggae.
8. The Ohio Club (Hot Springs): Established in 1905, this bar with nightly music was a former gangster & baseball player hangout (Babe Ruth being the most famous MLB patron).
In 1915 Al Jolson performed at the Ohio Club, the mid 1930s saw Mae West perform and an entire host of blues and jazz performers played though the 1960's. Live entertainment is still the mainstay at the Ohio Club with music 7 nights a week.
9. Juanita's (Little Rock): Once a hot spot on Main Street in Little Rock, the legendary Juanita's (well known for featuring award-winning rock band Evanescence when they were a local group) has moved to the River Market where it remains a must-see venue for a good Little Rock live music event.
While half of Juanita's is devoted to music (onstage you'll hear everything from rock and country to funk and reggae), the other half of the space offers terrific Mexican food and a loaded bar.
10. George's Majestic Lounge (Fayetteville): Established in 1927, this Fayetteville, Arkansas club & live music venue features a full bar & frequent
George’s Majestic Lounge is the oldest and longest-running club and live music venue in Fayetteville. Although live shows on a regular basis began
in the early 70s, many loyal locals recall social events, dances, and music out on the old patio as far back as the 1930s.
11. Cajun's Wharf (Little Rock): Cajun's is famous for its fabulously fresh seafood and its famous deck overlooking the Arkansas River.
Cajun's Wharf, located in the Riverdale neighborhood of Little Rock, has won numerous awards throughout the years, including Best Seafood, Best Bar, Best Entertainment and numerous others.
12. Discovery Night Club (Little Rock): Just a few minutes away from Cajun's Wharf is Little Rock's least-kept secret of where the party continues. Discovery houses three rooms and a patio, giving it a lot of space for what the club is best known for - live music and dancing.
Nationwide acts are featured regularly at Discovery. The club also includes Triniti (formerly known as Backstreet), which features live drag
13. The Kingfish Bar (Fayetteville): Known as Fayetteville, Arkansas' favorite dive bar, the name of the establishment comes from the Randy Newman song “Kingfish,” from the album “Good Ole Boys,” released in 1974.
Located right off Dickson Street in downtown Fayetteville, the Kingfish offers $1.50 beer specials and regular live music from local bands.
14. Midtown Billiards (Little Rock): If you don't have at least one sordid tale to tell (or one that you've witnessed) about what Little Rock locals lovingly call "Skidtown"...get down to this charming little dive bar on Main Street and see what everyone's gawking about once all the River Market bars
close at 3am!
Featuring live music, pool tables, beer specials, and bar food, Midtown doesn't close until 5 am...this is the downtown party place to hit after all the
other parties have shut down!
15. Vino's (Little Rock): Popular with music lovers of all ages, Vino's Brewpub has been bringing cutting-edge entertainment to the capital city for over 15 years.
Vino's has a fully equipped PA & lighting system, and the restaurant & brewpub provides New York-style Italian food and beverages for visitors. All live shows at Vino's are for all ages...this is a great location for the younger locals to "cut their teeth" on the live music scene in Arkansas!
16. The Smoke & Barrel Tavern (Fayetteville): Boasting the best whiskey selection in the state of Arkansas, this Dickson Street bar is usually crowded on weekend nights when live bands play.
The tavern also offers pool tables and a recently renovated deck area.
17. The Founder's Room (Alma): Situated a few miles north of Alma, Arkansas, The Founder's Room is an 80-100 seat performing arts venue where a "soul food" atmosphere mingles with the live music.
The artists featured at the Founder's Room include a variety of blues, jazz, and soul musicians from Arkansas as well as around the rest of the
18. Legends Saloon (Eureka Springs): Although this is a biker-oriented bar, the patrons and staff are friendly to visitors of all walks of life.
This lively locale features darts, beer pong, and free wifi internet.
Legends Saloon is the only location in Eureka Springs with 3 large size pool tables, multiple television screens, and an on-stage dancer's pole.
19. Landry's Cafe (Fort Smith): This Cajun and Creole-style cafe has live music on the weekends and also offers a full bar with a variety of wines and
over 100 beers.
Located on Garrison Avenue in downtown Fort Smith, Landry's has a cool laid-back atmosphere and very friendly, attentive staff.
20. Dickson Street Pub (Fayetteville): Located in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas and established in 2011, the Dickson St. Pub offers a great rooftop view and serves up Mason jars full of their famous "Hog Punch".
Open Mic Nights are held at Dickson Street Pub weekly as well as live concerts featuring headline acts and local talent every weekend.
How many other great Arkansas venues can you think of that feature great talent and live shows? Share a few that deserve an honorable mention on the list!