7 Unexpected Places To Hear Live Music In Austin

Some of our favorite under-the-radar spots to catch a live show

By David Clough
Unexpected Live Music: The Contemporary Austin
Photo by Brian Fitzsimmons

They call it The Live Music Capital of the World for a reason: nearly every honky tonk and cocktail lounge in Austin is bursting with the sounds of seasoned artists and up-and-coming bands. Besides the well-known watering holes and music venues, locals and visitors can also find talent performing in places you might not expect. From artsy destinations to buzzworthy restaurants, here are seven of our favorite under-the-radar live music locations:

The Contemporary Austin

Photo by Brian Fitzsimmons

Featuring two floors of exhibition space and an impressive rooftop deck, this modern art museum also hosts impressive live performances. Its current music series, dubbed ‘The Rooftop Sessions’ showcases a new DJ every month. Currently, art lovers can explore the exhibitions Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams and Crit Group Reunion, while listening to music and enjoying complimentary drinks from Austin Eastciders, Luck Springs and LALO Tequila, with free chips and queso from Bummer Burrito. The program, which takes place on select Thursdays, is free and open to the public.

Devil May Care

Photo by Holly Cowart

Every Wednesday night, this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and lounge transforms into an intimate supper club with live jazz music. Called ‘Underground Sounds,’ the weekly series invites guests to enjoy a three course ​​prix fixe menu with curated wine pairings while Monks Jazz, an Austin-based improvisational jazz collective, plays onstage. Different musicians will rotate each week at the underground restaurant, creating a unique experience every time. Reservations are required to enjoy the upscale bites, sips and sounds.

Still Austin Whiskey Co.

This South Austin distillery does more than make excellent bourbon. The local whiskey maker also hosts a ‘Bourbon & Blues’ music series, featuring local blues and rock favorite Lewis Christian. The event takes place just outside Still Austin’s tasting room, in the distillery’s whiskey garden. With plenty of outdoor seating, guests are encouraged to kick back, sip on bourbon cocktails and listen to good music. Catch the show every other Wednesday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

RELATED: ​​Hill Country Galleria Brings Back Saturday Night Concert Series

The Cathedral

A boutique event space and art gallery, The Cathedral is a refurbished 1930s church located in East Austin. Its ‘Art + Music Nights Series’ takes place every Thursday evening, showcasing the talents of female artists and local musicians in an intimate, one-of-a-kind setting. While perusing artwork and listening to live music, guests can enjoy bottomless margaritas from Dulce Vida Tequila and beverages from Austin Beerworks, Austin Eastciders, Topo Chico and Waterloo Sparkling Water. Tickets are required to attend.

Geraldine’s

Photo by Aubrie Pick

Austin’s Hotel Van Zandt is known for its stunning views of Lady Bird Lake and the downtown skyline, but it’s also beloved for Geraldine’s, an elegant restaurant and bar with a live music stage. Located on the fourth floor of the hotel, Geraldine’s boasts an expansive event calendar, featuring Texas artists nearly every night of the week. Guests should make a reservation at the restaurant to catch the amazing acts while enjoying cocktails or a delicious meal.

The ABGB

Part beer garden, part brewery, part pizza joint — The ABGB (The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company) also serves up spectacular live music. Located in south Austin, ABGB invites live music fans to sip on craft beer, eat pizza and enjoy live music almost every night of the week. View the extensive schedule of artists here. No reservations required to attend.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Yes, even Austin’s airport is humming with live tunes. Whether you’re arriving or departing our little music mecca, both locals and visitors alike can take comfort in the fact that you may catch one last talented Texas act before you jump on a plane. Austin-based musicians can be found performing Monday through Friday at 24 Diner (gate 11), Hut’s (gate 14), Saxon Pub/Asleep at the Wheel Stage (gate 19) and Taco Deli (gate 23).    


Read More From the Style Issue | September 2021


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