Texas, in general, has an extraordinary music scene. Austin is credited as the world’s live music capital. So, it’s no surprise that the amazing musicians that play there go out to the surrounding cities and inspire other artists to perform live.
With Houston being less than a three-hour drive from Austin, it’s only natural that this area is now coming out of the shadows as one of the best places to enjoy live music.
Music can certainly bring together a diverse crowd of people, but pair that with good food and alcohol, and you’ve got a winning combination.
I have split this guide into two sections to help you decide where you might head on your next outing: first, covering the best live music restaurants that also have entertainment, and second, some great bars where you can find musicians playing in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Best Live Music Restaurants in Houston
I highlighted some of my favorite restaurants within Houston that offer more than just good food – noting what makes them unique, what style of food they serve (including some recommendations), and also the type of music you can expect to enjoy here.
For those who need to budget for an evening out, I have included a few prices and tried to make a note of how expensive the restaurant is overall. Many of the restaurants have deals during the week, so be sure to look out for that.
Now, let’s take a look at my top restaurants with live music in Houston!
1. Dosey Doe Music Cafe at The Big Barn
|Address||25911 Interstate 45 N, Spring, TX 77380|
|Opening Times||• Sunday - Wednesday closed,
• Thursday - Saturday 6 pm - 12 am
The Big Barn has been a premier live music venue for many years in a wonderful vintage-style setting. The building itself was built in the 1840s and was a tobacco barn; it is still brimming with artifacts from a simpler time, adding to the overall ambiance of the place.
This multilevel venue is superb for allowing you to view the stage from different angles. You can clearly see the acts playing from the restaurant area or move into the music hall itself after dinner for a closer look.
The food served here is traditional, home-cooked fare, cooked with local, seasonal produce.
At Dosey Doe Music Cafe, you will taste some of the most incredible BBQ food, all of which is beautifully presented and has been featured in several magazines in both America and Canada.
The menu is very traditional and features dishes such as chicken fried steak, mouthwatering state-themed burgers, and catfish platters.
General admission into the venue varies depending on the acts they are performing; however, you can receive a $5.00 discount by booking online in advance. They have open mic nights in the Whisky bar a few nights a week, with an entry fee of $10.00 ($5.00 if booked online).
As the venue has a full kitchen, licensed bar, and a capacity of up to 420 people, it can be a great choice to hire privately for parties, corporate events, or weddings. There is a large graveled car park at The Big Barn too.
Bonus Read: Unique Wedding Venues in and Near Houston
|Address||908 Congress St, Houston, TX 77002|
|Opening Times||• Monday closed,
• Tuesday - Thursday 4 pm - 9 pm,
• Friday - Saturday 11 am - 10 pm,
• Sunday 11 am - 9 pm
Batanga is a fantastic live music restaurant that has helped to resurrect a vintage 1800s saloon and give it a new lease of life. The restaurant features one of the largest outdoor patio areas in Downtown Houston adorned with twinkling string lights and art exhibits such as multicolored umbrellas.
I absolutely love the menu at Batanga! It’s broken down into mouthwateringly tempting, easy-to-read categories, including; things that fly (or wish they could), things that graze; and things that swim. Where this place absolutely shines through is its tapas menu.
You will want to sit back, relax, enjoy the music, and honestly want to sample every tapas dish on offer. It’s a great place to visit with friends who enjoy sharing food.
Just a few of my favorite dishes at Batanga include the pao de queijo, which is a $7.00 Brazilian-style cheese roll, the ridiculously delicious half-baked oysters with chorizo and cilantro vinaigrette for just $15.00, and the melt-in-the-mouth Batanga mac and cheese with crawfish at $13.00 per portion.
You can enjoy live Latin music every Friday and Saturday night, with Tango classes available every Wednesday from 6.30. The offers are plenty here, with food and drink happy hours from 4 pm – 7 pm every Tuesday through to Friday, which includes $3 margaritas.
They often have weekly deals, too, like burger Thursdays, 50% off Sundays, and weekend brunch specials.
You Might Also Like: The Finest South American Restaurants in Houston
3. Rudi Lechner’s German Restaurant
|Address||2503 S Gessner Rd, Houston, TX 77063|
|Opening Times||• Monday closed,
• Tuesday - Thursday 11 am - 9 pm,
• Friday - Saturday 11 am - 10 pm,
• Sunday 11 am - 3 pm
Rudi Lechner’s German Restaurant has been the best place to go in Houston for schnitzel, bratwurst, and steins of ale since 1976. This casual, laid-back eatery combines country-style cooking with live polka music.
Quite obviously, this is the place to go during Oktoberfest, but it can be just as enjoyable throughout the rest of the year.
At Rudi Lechner’s, you can expect live music every Friday and Saturday night. Polka music is really popular here; this is a style of music that originated in the Czech Republic. It’s lively and fun, and you won’t be able to control yourself from bopping along.
The restaurant also hosts casual gatherings on a monthly basis for anyone wanting to learn the German language – beginners welcome.
There are a staggering eleven varieties of schnitzel available at Rudi’s, all of which are served with your choice of two sides for between $16.95 – $25.95.
If you are a newbie to German fare, I would absolutely recommend ordering the Heritage Sampler Plate, which is $30.00 per person or $48.00 for two. The sampler plate features a mix of four types of meat, cabbage dishes, potato sides, and latke pancakes.
Related: Unique Themed Restaurants in Houston
|Address||909 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002|
|Opening Times||• Monday - Tuesday 11 am - 10 pm,
• Wednesday 11 am - 11 pm,
• Thursday 11 am - 12 am,
• Friday 11 am - 12.30 am,
• Saturday 4 pm - 12.30 am,
• Sunday 11 am - 4 pm
If you want to enjoy a fun, trendy atmosphere filled with live music and plates of delicious, high-class American-style food, you need to try Sambuca.
This is the perfect spot for a date night, so much so that Sambuca has a fixed-price three-course date night special menu for just $45.00 per person available Monday to Thursday.
You can take advantage of lots of deals and discounts at Sambuca, including half-price food and drink happy hours every day during the week from 4 pm. They have live Latin music each Thursday, with a diverse mix of acts and performers every other day of the week, including Jazz, local singer-songwriters, and contemporary bands.
Sambuca can be hired for private events, corporate events, parties, and weddings. They can also cater to outside events, offering customized menus and grazing platters.
See Also: The Best Clubs to Enjoy Jazz Music
Best Live Music Bars in Houston
Here are just a handful of my favorite bars in Houston where you can enjoy intimate live music sessions. Music bars showcase a great variety of styles and are often less themed than restaurants which can make for a really interesting experience.
I have noted what else the bars have available within them, such as games and food.
I have included any special deals or happy hour promotions to help with budgeting and again included a few prices along the way.
Take a look at where I think you’ll find some of the best live bar music in Houston!
5. McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
|Address||2425 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098|
|Opening Times||• Monday 11 am - 8 pm,
• Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 12 am,
• Sunday closed
When you think of going to enjoy a fun night out with lively bands, good beer, and a friendly welcome, it’s difficult to imagine anywhere better than a traditional Irish bar, and McGonigel’s Mucky Duck is just that! McGonigel’s has all the charm and vibes of an authentic Irish bar, in a beautiful, spacious atmosphere, with a large outdoor patio.
The food here is second to none, with the incredible team of chefs using only farm fresh produce and locally sourced meat.
The star items on the menu are traditional Irish meals such as shepherd’s pie, steak slow braised in Guinness, and beer-battered fish and chips; however, some more delicate and ‘fancy’ dishes are available, like baked brie and pepper crust beef.
There is something happening all the time at McGonigel’s. On Monday nights, you can participate in an open mic night and are welcome to join in if the mood takes you.
Wednesday night is board game night, with Irish tunes subtly playing in the background. The restaurant hosts dinner with show events from 7 pm the rest of the week. Show prices depend on the act.
6. Under the Volcano
|Address||2349 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005|
|Opening Times||• Monday - Thursday 2 pm - 1 am,
• Friday - Saturday 2 pm - 2 am,
• Sunday 10 am - 1 am
If you are craving somewhere with a fun, holiday-style vibe, definitely head over to Under the Volcano. Everything about this place makes you feel like you’re on a remote island, from the sandy entrance to the traditional Mayan masks littering the brightly colored walls.
Under the Volcano was the first craft cocktail bar to open in Houston. They opened as a day of the dead themed bar in 1989, transforming a 1940s ice house into a slice of paradise.
The cocktails are made from freshly chopped herbs, squeezed fruit juices, and a generous shot of booze. The Añejo Old Fashioned will have you up dancing in no time!
The menu is Mexican-inspired, with European and American fusions thrown in for good measure. This is a reasonably inexpensive place to eat, though you may find yourself wanting to try multiple dishes with so many items looking so tempting!
The tacos range from $3.50 – $5.00, empanadas are $3.00 each or $33.00 for a dozen, and tamales are just $2.50.
You can enjoy live Latin music at Under the Volcano every Wednesday from 8 pm. There is also music played, with dancing encouraged, every weekend.
See Also: The Best Mexican Food in Houston
|Address||314 Main St, Houston, TX 77002|
|Opening Times||• Monday - Thursday 7 pm - 2 am,
• Friday - Sunday 2 pm - 2 am
Downtown is a fantastic place to go if you are seeking out live music and nightly entertainment. NotsuoH has been a firm fixture in this area since 1996; it is one of the original watering holes to offer live music in a quirky environment.
This eccentric bar has a vast handcrafted cocktail menu, and they also have specialty vegan cocktails available. They also have a great selection of craft beers.
There is live music available every weekend at NotsuoH, with regular updates added to their Facebook page on different acts during the week, including comedy acts, poetry readings, and other performers.
Related: Popular Bars Near Downtown Houston
|Address||2010 Waugh Dr, Houston, TX 77006|
|Opening Times||Monday - Sunday 11 am - 2 am|
Rudyard’s has been an institution in the neighborhood of Montrose for more than forty years. This classic British-style pub has lots of cozy rooms inside, with something always happening in each of them, from board game tournaments and darts competitions to live music and entertainment.
A quick weekly roundup of the events at Rudyard’s includes; Monday open mic nights. Tuesday is Dungeons and Dragons (made even more popular thanks to Stranger Things).
Wednesday is trivia, karaoke, and comedy open mic. Thursdays are steak and beer night, with live shows at 7.30 pm and 9.30 pm. There are live acts throughout the night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
There is an enormous selection of draft beer available here, alongside cocktails on tap and the most delicious pizza around!
Bonus Read: The Best Pizza Restaurants in Houston
To Sum Up…
So, where will you go for your next musical evening?
I hope this guide will help you create a shortlist of the best live music restaurants and bars to consider in Houston.If you would like to see what other nightlife Houston has to offer, you might want to check out our guides to Awesome Places to go in Houston at Night and Breathtaking Nightclubs in Houston for inspiration.