Expert Tips


Kansas City's Best Nightlife: From Live Music Venues to Bars

Out of all the clubs and bars in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places that have the most appeal to a wide variety of audiences, and the best reputations for delivering memorable evening entertainment. We offer a carefully vetted selection and present our Kansas City Best Nightlife list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. Visit a concert venue in an industrial district with multiple stages, or a bustling bar where dueling pianos and upbeat tunes entertain the audience. You'll find old-school ambiance and jazz behind a nondescript storefront, in the basement of a legendary restaurant, or inside a small museum, and blues served up with barbecue plates or Louisiana fare. There's even a family-owned musical hot spot that opened in the 1920s. Each of these one-of-a-kind performance venues promises a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you simply won't find anywhere else.

Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club
Photo courtesy of MK Hamlin


A family-owned midtown Kansas City staple in this location, since 1950, Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club typically features live music – from bluegrass to punk and folk – six nights a week. This old dive dates from the 1920s, when it opened as a...  Read More

BB's Lawnside Barbecue
Photo courtesy of Lisa Waterman Gray


Since 1990, BB's Lawnside Blues & BBQ has been landmark destination for terrific live blues performances on many nights and weekend afternoons, meats that are slow-smoked in a 1950s 'pit,' and scratch-made Louisiana dishes such as jambalaya...  Read More

The Blue Room
Photo courtesy of David Shaughnessy


It doesn't get more authentic than jazz performances in the heart of Kansas City's legendary 18th & Vine 'jazz district.' Or live music played near memorabilia collected inside the small but impressive American Jazz Museum. International,...  Read More

The Majestic Restaurant


The Majestic Restaurant has long been known for great steaks served amid 1900s ambiance. But down in the cozy basement that once functioned as a Prohibition-era speakeasy, you'll also find live jazz performances on Tuesday through Saturday...  Read More

Green Lady Lounge
Photo courtesy of Green Lady Lounge


Don't let the nondescript exterior of this impressive jazz lounge discourage you. The ambiance and music inside are almost magical while showcasing local artists who exemplify Kansas City's jazz tradition. You'll find friendly and fast...  Read More

O'Dowds Little Dublin Irish Pub


For a taste of the Emerald Isle, and Kansas City's Irish heritage, check out this popular pub in the equally popular Country Club Plaza shopping district. Dark wood and an antique bar? Check. In fact, all of the furniture and décor came from an...  Read More

Um-kansas City
The Kill Devil Club
Photo courtesy of Lisa Waterman Gray


If you like piano bars, you've come to the right place. You'll hear talented piano performances and much more at The Kill Devil Club, in Kansas City's bustling urban core. One visit will convince you why Food & Wine Magazine has named this...  Read More

Howl at the Moon
Photo courtesy of Howl at the Moon


Part bar and part concert venue, Kansas City's Howl at the Moon has quickly become exceptionally popular among the over-21 crowd. A Kansas City Visitors' Choice Winner for Favorite Nightlife Spot, Howl at the Moon operates on both coasts as well...  Read More

CrossroadsKC at Grinders
Photo courtesy of CrossroadsKC at Grinders


From rock to reggae and bluegrass to hip hop, CrossroadsKC has enthusiastically presented outdoor shows since 2007, with Kansas City's illuminated skyline as backdrop. In cooperation with Pipeline Productions, the popular venue offers free...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Knuckleheads KC


'Where the World's Greatest Musicians Play,' Knuckleheads KC offers multiple stages in an industrial neighborhood near a series of train tracks. There's a white-hot music scene on Wednesday through Sunday amid funky, laid-back surroundings and...  Read More


Meet Lisa Waterman Gray

Lisa Waterman Gray moved to the Kansas City area 35 years ago and has written professionally for 20+ years. A member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association, she's excited about the...  More About Lisa