Wilmington, North Carolina is oozing with culture, art and music all year long. In fact, live music is at the forefront of the Wilmington social scene. You can’t go out for a night on the town without bumping into live music. This shouldn’t be surprising given that there are more live venues in the Port City than any other city it’s size.
With a large variety of acts performing nightly, there is a little something for everyone’s taste including indie rock, blues, jazz, country and classical. The venues are impressive and span from small restaurants, bars, pubs, cocktail lounges, roof top bars, concert halls and amphitheaters. There is no shortage or places to go see local music or a touring act.
Whether you are at the beach or downtown, a local or just visiting, this list of the top live music venues in Wilmington is your perfect resource for discovering new music experiences in our town.
Jimmy’s at Red Dogs is a local Wrightsville Beach establishment known has the general “hangout” place. Jimmy’s features a full bar with nightly beer and drink specials, live music and a friendly atmosphere.
The Palm Room is a historic Wrightsville Beach bar that has been in business since 1955. This local establishment is a great place to see neighborhood residents have a frothy beverage or cocktail and kick back to some great live music.
Waterman’s Brewing is the perfect brewery for a family meal and beers while visiting Wrightsville Beach, serving up some of the top local beers in Wilmington. Waterman’s has live local music weekly with a stage setup outside for summer concerts. Grab a brew and enjoy your favorite band.
Wrightsville Beach Brewery is a classic local brewer located close to Wrightsville Beach. The brewery is know for their many signature draft beers in addition to a menu of fresh seafood including North Carolina oysters. Wrightsville Beach Brewery is family and dog friendly with a complete brewpub and beer garden that serves lunch, brunch and dinner and includes options for kids. You can find indoor and outdoor seating at the brewery depending on the season, along with various events and entertainment including live music, tasting, brewery tours and more.
Moe’s Original BBQ is an easygoing chain serving Alabama-style pulled pork & other meats smoked in-house. Moe’s Original BBQ smokes all meats fresh daily and diners can find an assortment of Southern style side dishes and desserts. The restaurant has a full bar and diners can enjoy live music nightly on the patio.
Wilmington Brewing Company is a local Wilmington brewery that brews onsite and has 15 in-house beers on tap served in a laid back family atmosphere. The brewery has a retail location complete with a connected home brew store for those that want to create their own beer. The brewery has partnered with local food trucks that rotate weekly and serve local favorites.
Katy’s Grill and Bar is one of Wilmington’s oldest and most popular restaurants, bar and live music venues. Katy’s is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night food. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining with TVs mounted throughout. Watch live music and local bands on most nights weekly.
The Gilded Lotus Tavern is a local Wilmington bar, cocktail lounge and live music and event venue. The restaurant serves tasty drinks in a laid back setting. The Gilded Lotus Tavern hosts live entertainment nightly.
Reggies’s 42nd Street Tavern is a live music venue located in the heart of Wilmington. Reggie’s has a full bar, dance floor and a large stage. You can watch and listen to local and nation bands and entertainment nightly while enjoying a cocktail or beer.
End of Days Distillery is a local distiller that crafts exceptional gin, vodka, and rum. The End of Days Distillery’s cocktail bar is the ultimate cocktail experience with expert mixologists guiding you through a personalized tasting experience. End of Days Distillery hosts live music and entertainment weekly where you will find your favorite local bands.
Fermental Beer & Wine is Wilmington’s original bottle shop and beer garden. Fermental is located in Wilmington’s Cargo District inside a former 1950’s service station. The bottle shop has one of the largest local selections of regional, national, international beers, wines, sake, mead, cider, and more.
Fermental has ever-rotating draft beers and wines by the glass and on tap. Bring your friends, family and furry friends and enjoy live music, food trucks, tastings, weekly events, and occasional vendor markets. Enjoy the outdoor beer garden or the unique interior space with panoramic windows and open air seating. Munch on imported cheeses, cured meats, pickles, olives, and other small bites while you drink your cold beverages.
Barzarre is an Artsy cafe that features flavored tobaccos, coffee drinks and small plates along with live performances. At Barzarre you will find a full bar of spirits and over 150 microbrews, delicious tacos, over 100 Hookah blends and much more.
Barzarre also is known for its vast array of entertainment offerings, including weekly live music, comedy and other weird entertainment.
Bottles Wine + Beer is a Wilmington bottle shop, wine bar and live music venue. Bottles is one of the only restaurants and bottle shops to serve natural wine and beer. The bottle shop hosts local taps and breweries as well as live musicians and bands nightly.
The Greenfield Lake Amphitheater is an entertainment and concert venue located in the city of Wilmington and is also known at the Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Lake. The venue is managed by Live Nation and holds 1,200 people. To see a show at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater visit the Live Nation website to purchase tickets and see a show calendar. but it is managed by Live Nation.
15. New Anthem
The New Anthem Beer Project is a local Brewery with two taprooms, one south of downtown and another along the water front in Wilmington. The New Anthem Beer Project is known for hoppy beers and barrel-aged brews.
The brewery hosts live music and events throughout the week. Check their website for a calendar of shows that feature local artists and bands.
Satellite Bar and Lounge is an amazing city drinking and entertainment established near Downtown Wilmington in the Cargo District. The Satellite Bar features indoor and outdoor seating areas with rustic, huge open spaces including outdoor seating, and outdoor dance floor and stage. The Bar features a selection of nearly 250 craft beers, rose, cider, hard seltzer, hard kombucha, champagne served in a family and dog friendly environment.
The Satellite Bar and Lounge is known for its weekly live events including movie nights, live music, Sunday night bluegrass jams and much more. As a bonus the restaurant also has a taco window for late night street tacos.
17. The Harp
The Harp is an Irish pub in downtown Wilmington that offers the finest in traditional Irish family dishes served in a engaging pub atmosphere. The Harp provides a full bar and a hearty menu that families will love. There is weekly entertainment with weekly trivia and karaoke nights and live music.
18. The Rusty Nail
The Rusty Nail is an old time Wilmington saloon and live music venue featuring blues. The Rusty Nail first opened it’s doors in 1957 and is the headquarters for some of the best music in North Carolina.
The Rusty Nails boasts both indoor and outdoor seating. You can find live shows at the saloon nightly, including weeknight open mics, jams, and weekend shows. The Rusty Nail is also the home to the annual Cape Fear Blues Festival.
Waterline Brewing Co. is a local Wilmington Brewery located along the riverfront under the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge in a historic 1940s warehouse. The brewery serves a number of local beers in a family and dog friendly environment complete with games and family activities. The Waterline Brewing Co. serves lite bites including hummus and chips, while also partnering with local food trucks and live music to create a wide range of menu items and entertainment.
20. Live at Ted’s
Live At Ted’s is truly a unique Wilmington experience. Live At Ted’s is an intimate place to listen to some of the best music the region has to offer. Located at the foot of Castle Street right by the river, Ted’s is an old house converted into music venue.
Live At Ted’s listening room serves great coffee, sodas, beer and wine all while you listen to live, acoustic music in this small venue. Sit inside close to the band or relax on the patio with views of the river, Ted’s is the perfect place for all to enjoy live music.
21. Duck & Dive Pub
Duck & Dive Pub is a local Wilmington bar serving up over 50 different beers, wine and cocktails in a casual atmosphere. Duck & Dive is located in historic downtown and is known for pub games, pool and darts and live music nightly.
22. The Reel Cafe
Reel Cafe is a local Wilmington favorite for dining, drinking, dancing and partying. The Reel Cafe has three levels, two that have live music, dancing, oyster bar and a roof top bar with views of the Cape Fear river and pool tables. The restaurant serves classic American fare including burgers, oysters, chicken wings and more.
Whether you are coming for music, a bite to eat or a cocktail, Reel Cafe has something for everyone — and when it comes to live music and entertainment, you can’t beat it.
Wilmington Distillery is located in historic downtown and serves spirits that tap into the old nature of the area. At Wilmington Distillery you will find crafty rums, vodkas and their very famous Honey Cornbread Moonshine. The distillery also has a number of specialty cocktails designed with house-made liquor and high-end spirits. Wilmington Distillery hosts live music and DJs weekly.
Varnish is located in historic downtown Wilmington on the Riverwalk and serves fine cocktails and beverages in the downstairs bar and an upstairs level Latitude 34 which includes a full bar, stage and dance floor.
Varnish features nightly live music Thursday through Sunday, with rotating and touring bands on Saturday nights. The restaurant includes a full bar with over 24 beers on tap featuring local breweries.
25. Thalian Hall
Historic Thalian Hall is one of the oldest and most beautiful theaters in America tha has been in continuous use since it opened in 1858. The theater hosts over 500 performance events annually across a few performance venues including the Main Stage, the Grand Ballroom, and the Ruth and Bucky Stein Theatre. Thalian Hall hosts plays, live music concerts, recitals, comedy and much more.
26. Bourgie Nights
Bourgie Nights is the live music venue attached to the popular restaurant and bar, Manna Avenue. Bourgie Nights hosts live music on Fridays and Saturdays with a lineup that includes traveling singers, songwriters and local musicians. The venue’s setting is intimate, with great sound quality, lighting and ambiance. Show goers will find a fully stocked bar as well as a mix of craft cocktails.
Social – Casa De Tequila is a local Wilmington tequila bar located in historic downtown. Social – Casa De Tequila serves over 55 tequilas including very rare and premium choices from Mexico. The bar is a perfect place to enjoy a refreshing margarita while listing to live music and entertainment either inside or outside on the covered balcony.
28. Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is a local bar and restaurant located in historic downtown Wilmington. Bourbon St. serves Creole cuisine for both lunch and dinner in a festive setting that channels New Orleans with colorful carnival masks, beads and other festive decor. Bourbon Street is the best place in Wilmington to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Bourbon Street services a variety of souther Creole favorites including Po’boys, sliders, red beans and rice, blackened shrimp or chicken salad, char-grilled oysters among other fine dishes. Dine inside or outside on the patio and enjoy live music and entertainment weekly, including local bands.
The Underfront Co. is a cocktail bar serving craft cocktails and concoctions, located in downtown Wilmington. The restaurant and bar serves a carefully curated menu of charcuterie, cheese and antipasti paired with premium crafted drinks. The Underfront Co has over 12 local beers on draft, over 25 North Carolina brewery cans and bottles, as well as wine. For those that enjoy live music, The Underfront Co. hosts live music and events weekly.
30. Flytrap Brewing
Flytrap Brewing is a brewery located in the Brooklyn Arts District of Historic Downtown Wilmington with a plush beer garden and beer taps. Flytrap Brewing specializing in American and Belgian style ales and small-batch brews and even offer growlers to-go!
On most nights you can listen to live music from local bands and entertainers on the Flytrap stage.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a craft cocktail lounge in a rustic, relaxed bar setting in Downtown Wilmington. Wiskey Tango Foxtrot serves quality mixed drinks with a number of fun signature drinks like the cotton candy martini, margarita boba–an edible tapioca bubble containing margarita and many more.
The cocktail lounge has a selection of over 30 single malt whiskeys, local craft beers and lite food bites. Finish the evening with a large selection of cigars and smokes. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot hosts live music and karaoke weekly.
32. The Opera Room
The Opera Room is a local Wilmington bar with a darker art, music and film vibe. The Opera Room serves affordable drinks and cocktails along side local entertainers, creepy B movies, skateboard flicks, bad porn and plenty of unusual art. You can find live music and local bands weekly at The Opera Room.
33. The Eagle’s Dare
The Eagle’s Dare is an edgy retro-rockabilly themed beer garden located in downtown Wilmington. The Eagle’s Dare serves classic and craft cocktails, beer, wine and other fine drinks in a re-purposed 1950s service station. The bar and beer hall is pet-friendly with indoor and outdoor seating including two lounges surrounded by bright murals and pop culture memorabilia. The Eagle’s Dare features live music, events and food trucks nightly.
The Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar is an open-air rooftop craft cocktail bar and sky lounge located on the riverfront in Downtown Wilmington. The Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar has tons of seating in a lounge-like setting overlooking the Cape Fear River and the downtown riverfront. The Bar has 22 local beers on tap, a large wine list, craft cocktails, whiskeys and bourbons and some of the best bar bites in town. You can even take your beer togo with growlers available. The Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar is a seasonable establishment open from March to November every year.
Edward Teach Brewing is a local Wilmington brewery located in historic downtown in the Brooklyn Arts District. The brewery serves 8 beers on draft and brews in a 20-barrel vessel system making it one of the larger more modern brewing establishments in town. Edward Teach Brewing is named after the infamous pirate, Blackbeard and the pirate theme runs across the facility and into the brews, as the brewery sits in a 100 year old firehouse that has been renovated inside to resemble a ship’s rigging.
Edward Teach Brewing is family and dog friendly, hosting live music special events and food trucks on select nights.
Bottega Art & Wine is a pet-friendly wine bar located in the historic Brooklyn Arts District. Bottega offers live music, beer, drinks, coffee, art, jewelry and much more. Enjoy cold beverage while listening to live music on either the street-side patio or courtyard. Bottega hosts live entertainment nightly including jazz, blues, drum circles and more.
37. Marina Grill
Marina Grill is a dockside restaurant and bar that serves American food served in a casual and entertaining environment. The Marina grill serves up an extensive list of local draft beers, wine and kombucha tea, along with craft cocktails.
If you are coming to the Marina Grill by boat, dock at Port City Marina while you dine at the restaurant. The Marina Grill hosts live music and entertainment weekly.
Smoke on the Water is a restaurant, bar and entertainment venue serving American fare along the Cape Fear River. Smoke on the Water is located in the Marina Village development in River Lights. Come by boat for a dock & dine experience complete with craft beers, cocktails fried seafood, burgers, salads, steaks and more.
Smoke on the Water is fantastic venue for lunch, dinner or an afternoon drink gazing out at the river listening to live music from local bands. For diners coming by car, the restaurant provides ample parking on the street.
Mad Katz Bar & Lounge is a local favorite for live music, drinks and a good ole time. Centrally located minutes from downtown Wilmington and Carolina Beach. Mad Katz Bar & Lounge boasts a full stocked bar, tons of games such as pool tables, darts and skeeball. The bar features dancing, karaoke, live music five nights a week and ongoing open mic night on Mondays.
40. Celtic Monkey
The Celtic Monkey Irish Pub and Grill serves classic Irish pub fare served along side all your favorite American dishes. Dine indoors and take in the sports bar vibe, with a fully stacked bar, TVs and lots of vibe. The patio is also a great place to grab a cold brew and take in some pub food. The Celtic Monkey Irish Pub and Grill is dog friendly on the patio and hosts live music and bands nightly.
41. Lazy Pirate
The Lazy Pirate Island Sports Grill is a local Carolina Beach restaurant and family entertainment venue with a huge outdoor patio and bar. The Lazy Pirate is known for ice cold drinks, casual beach eats, and a plethora of entertainment, including live music.
The restaurant serves all your classic causal bar food including small bites, wings and entrees like burgers, salads and sandwiches. Entertainment at the Lazy Pirate can vary by season so check their website the current schedule and lineup. With that said, check out their outdoor volleyball court, corn hole, trivia night and axe throwing. There is something for everyone at the Lazy Pirate.