Few things are better than live music, but you know what is? Free live music. Here are 10 places in Arizona’s capital city to hear cover-less bands in the flesh.
The Vig Uptown
6015 North 16th Street
It’s no secret that The Vig is a popular hangout spot. All you have to do is walk inside; at any given time, it’s most likely a full house. From brunch to late-night, their menu is loaded with a bunch of tasty dishes and drinks, including enticing “Vignature” cocktails. The musical backdrop keeps things lively. Live music or DJ’s with clever names are always on the schedule.
The Grand on Central.
718 North Central Avenue
Be transported back in time at this 1920s train station-inspired coffee and bar space in downtown Phoenix. This vintage space hosts weekend music sessions for local bands and artists almost every weekend. Guest bands and artists are usually rock of some sort, ranging from either indie to Celtic rock.
Enjoy mellow sounds on Timo’s relaxing patio.
Courtesy of Timo
Slow Down Saturdays at Timo
8801 North Central Avenue, #104
The name of this weekly event is a nod to the song “Slow Down” by British trip-hop group Morcheeba as much as it is a reflection of the chill vibe that DJ Andres brings to Saturday nights at this restaurant and wine bar. Timo specializes in wood-fired eats, and they have pretty lush and relaxing indoor and outdoor settings where you can enjoy the food, drink, and tunes. Andres keeps things on the mellow side with a blend of seductive styles that you can groove to, like trip-hop, electro-lounge, and nu-jazz, and then intensifies things by playing deep-house tracks.
Jobot Coffee & Bar in Roosevelt Row.
Beats and Brunch at Jobot
333 East Roosevelt Street
Arizonans love their patio drinking and dining. When it even remotely seems like some sun is in the sky, or will be, seats get filled. Jobot is a popular destination on Sunday mornings for Beats and Brunch, which is exactly what it sounds like. Local DJ Just Chris, and sometimes a guest DJ, sets up shop and plays beat-driven music to create a lively, jumping atmosphere for hearty plates of breakfast foods, like carrot-cake pancakes with cream cheese frosting, and breakfast sloppy joes with feta fries. Enjoy your eats and beats while you peep the happenings in the Roosevelt Row ‘hood.
Melrose District coffee shop adds live music to the mix.
Courtesy of Cheryl Colan – Flickr
Copper Star Coffee
4220 North Seventh Avenue
Located in the heart of central Phoenix’s Melrose District, Copper Star Coffee is reminiscent of the old school, pre-Starbucks coffee shops with the type of homey environment that encourages you to lounge, enjoy the art on the walls, and people-watch. It becomes even more inviting when live music is added to the mix, which is often the case on weekends.
AMC Fountain Stage at Desert Ridge Marketplace.
Phoenix New Times
Desert Ridge Marketplace
21001 North Tatum Boulevard
This north Phoenix shopping mecca has more to do than just spend your hard-earned cash. There are a couple of spots at Desert Ridge to catch live bands – the District Stage, and the AMC Fountain. You can find something happening at either or both on most Friday and Saturday evenings. They offer a good blend of local sounds from different genres.
Country music fans hanging out at Handlebar J.
7116 Becker Lane, Scottsdale
There aren’t too many places where you can work off the calories from the giant steak you wolfed down by engaging in a little two-stepping.
has been going strong since the mid-1960s and has live country music for you to do just that almost every night of the week.
A live band plays at Tempe Marketplace.
2000 East Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe
Whether you’re spending all your extra money at Barnes & Noble or reclining in a Harkins’ movie chair, The District Stage at Tempe Marketplace is poppin’ on Fridays and Saturdays. From swing to cover bands, Tempe Marketplace hosts a variety of acts for all your music feels, and most of them are local!
The Lost Leaf: Beer, wine and live music.
Courtesy of the Lost Leaf
The Lost Leaf
914 North Fifth Street
Any night you walk into this downtown beer and wine bar — also fine art gallery — something musical is taking place. The area where bands play is set to the side of the main room is awesomely intimate. There’s no stage, so bands play at floor level with the audience right in front. If you like getting caught up in the band’s energy and having a close-up view, it’s worth squeezing yourself into this area. The music calendar features diversity. Some nights are DJ-only, but in any case, good sounds always abound.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated from its original version, which first appeared in February 2016. Sara Edwards contributed to this article.