Our artsy city always has something happening when it comes to art, music and other creative endeavors. The local music scene in Ann Arbor is particularly strong, as the city hosts a variety of music venues, ranging from intimate bars to large-scale venues.
To help you track down the next show, we compiled a list of the best places to hear live music in Ann Arbor, including traditional music venues and restaurants and bars that offer live music on a regular basis. And for more musical goodness, check out The Music Lover’s Guide to Ann Arbor, which features some of these venues in addition to record stores and annual music events!
Music Venues | Restaurants + Bars
208 South 1st Street
The Blind Pig is the locals’ choice for live music almost every night of the week. It’s been around since the early ‘70s, after all! This quirky bar and music venue hosts everything from punk and folk to comedy and karaoke. Check out the calendar online here and you can buy your tickets in advance if needed.
316 South Main Street
The Ark is Ann Arbor’s destination for live music and has been since it was founded in 1965 by four area churches. Today, the venue offers over 300 nights of shows each year in one of the best listening rooms anywhere. In the past, they’ve brought Howie Day, Blind Pilot and the Violent Femmes to town! See all their upcoming events here.
603 East Liberty Street
The historic Michigan Theater was founded in 1928, then the Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 in order to save this beloved local theater from the wrecking ball. Today, the theater is home to three screening spaces for independent movies, concerts, comedy shows, national tours and more. Check out the current films here and peruse the special event schedule here.
415 North 4th Avenue
Photo courtesy of Jeff Dunn via the Kerrytown Concert House
An intimate 110 seat venue, Kerrytown Concert House is a nonprofit organization focused on community engagement and providing audiences with fine art, from live music to gallery exhibitions. Inside their historic home-turned-venue, you can attend affordable events in various genres and styles, including jazz, cabaret and more.
2923 Dexter Road
Johnny’s Speakeasy calls itself one of the worst kept secrets in Ann Arbor. The small, intimate venue hosts a range of genres and just a limited number of house concerts each year. To stay up to date on this year’s shows, follow the team on Facebook here.
310 East Washington Street
The B-Side began back in 1999 in the original location of local Ann Arbor organization Neutral Zone. As the program grew, they moved up the street to 310 E. Washington and increased their audience capacity to over 400. Today, the all-ages concert venue hosts everything from touring hip hop acts to teen hardcore bands to local folk singers, and every show is booked and promoted by teens through Neutral Zone. You can learn more about Neutral Zone in 23 Local Charities in the Ann Arbor Area and How You Can Help.
881 North University Avenue
A program of the University of Michigan, UMS has been around since 1879 and offers more than 60 performances each year. Today, they host events throughout the year in six different theaters and venues: Hill Auditorium, Rackham Auditorium, Power Center, Michigan Theater, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. To get information on their current season, click here.
Restaurants + Bars
303 South Ashley Street
The Grotto aims to be “everyone’s watering hole” — and they have certainly achieved this. This lively hotspot features 36 constantly rotating craft beer taps from all across the country and the world, plus shelves of world-class bourbon scotch and other spirits, an excellent wine list, and a variety of creative cocktails. During the summer, keep an eye on their Facebook event page to see who is playing on their patio next!
220 South Main Lower Level
Lo-Fi is a new cocktail bar, music venue and event space in downtown Ann Arbor. The neon light game is strong here — complete with a neon dragon over the bar — and the cocktail and live music game is even stronger. Follow Lo-Fi on Facebook to keep up with their upcoming events.
300 Detroit Street
Situated just steps from Kerrytown Market & Shops and their Lunch Room Diner & Canteen location, the Detroit Street Filling Station serves delicious food and drinks with a hefty dose of live music. Check out their Facebook event page to see upcoming events centered on live music, including Hot Jazz & Wine Wednesday, the Saturday Local Music Series, and Sunday Jazz Brunch.
220 Felch Street
Ann Arbor Distilling Co. is “tired of industrial-grade spirits that taste more like butane and less like a beverage.” They’re making waves in the industry with their made-from-scratch spirits managed carefully all the way from the grain to the glass. Sip on one of their artisan spirits while you listen to live music — just check out their Facebook event page to see who is playing next.
211 East Washington Street
This Prohibition-style bar in downtown is known for their craft beers, creative cocktails, and selection of bourbon and whiskey. But Mash is also known for their live music provisions from both local and regional artists. Check out their schedule to see who’s playing this week!
3050 Jackson Road
Photo courtesy of The Habitat
Situated in northwest Ann Arbor, The Habitat is equal parts cocktail bar and live music venue. The music roster includes a mix of jazz, soul, rock, pop and much more, offering cover-free access to incredible local and regional bands. The Habitat serves expertly prepared small plates and oysters from the adjacent kitchen at Weber’s, plus a sixteen-bottle wine tap system. Check out their schedule for a list of upcoming live music events happening nearly every day of the week.
207 South Main Street
Since opening in 2011, The Raven’s Club has established itself as a favorite downtown spot for seasonal food and handcrafted, spirit-forward cocktails. They have more than 150 American whiskeys to choose from, in additional to a wide range of Michigan craft beer on tap. Plus, this hotspot plays live music on Sunday and Tuesday nights! Check out their website to see who’s playing next.
122 West Liberty Street
To say the Old Town Tavern has a long and interesting history is an understatement; in fact, the building was originally used as a saloon called “The Bismark” in 1898! Today, this cozy, historic bar is filled with nostalgic decor, delicious pub food, and of course, plenty of beer, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages to go around. And on Sunday nights, the Old Town Tavern offers free live music!
207 East Washington Street
You may come to Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery for the live music, but you’ll stay for their exceptional barbecue and award-winning beers. Blue Tractor offers six different selections on tap every day in addition to full lunch and dinner menus packed with barbecue goodness and other hearty options. No matter what day you’re visiting, there’s a very good chance live music will be playing! Check out their schedule to see what’s next.
114 South Main Street
For a more low-key setting, head to Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom to peruse books, sip on tea, and listen to live music — all at once. Crazy Wisdom offers free live music every Friday and Saturday night from 8 to 10 p.m.!
Let us know what Ann Arbor hotspot you frequent for live music. Comment below with your suggestions!