Best Live Music in Reno

10Best Live Music Venues in Reno and Sparks

Surprisingly, a city as small as Reno has a huge variety of live music options. Whether you want to have a special night out or a casual evening with a glass of beer, here are the 10Best places to hear and see live music in the Biggest Little City.

For a special night out, pick up some tickets for a Broadway musical at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Reno. This venue is known to have some of the best shows in the area including Motown: The Musical and world-renowned performances by international orchestras. For something a little more intimate, check out the Nightingale Concert Hall at UNR for classical and chamber music.

For a more casual night out, check out the Mountain Music Parlor in Midtown for bluegrass, blues and Appalachian music. Gilley's at the Nugget in Sparks will get your boots stompin' and the acts at Cargo Concert Hall at the Whitney Peak are nationally known.


MidTown Wine Bar in Midtown Reno not only features live music and special events five nights a week, but also a wide selection of wines, craft beer, specialty drinks and gourmet cheese plates. You can also order your favorite meals from nearby restaurants and have them delivered to the bar. Choose from regional wines from Napa Valley and craft beers from Nevada, Washington and Oregon. The bartender can also recommend unique and unusual wines. MidTown Wine Bar features a nightly happy hour as well as events like Bingo. Music acts from local and regional bands are free to nightly guests.

Recommended for Live Music because: MidTown Wine Bar is a fun, neighborhood bar that has a wide range of music acts five nights a week.

Christina's expert tip: You can order food from the local restaurants to go with your MidTown Wine.

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The Brew Brothers has been named the Best Brewpub in America by Nightclub & Bar magazine and has been voted "Best Microbrew, "Best Beer Selection" and "Best Live Music" in several Best of Reno polls and was named the highest selling brewpub in North America. The Brew Brothers is located in the Eldorado hotel and casino in downtown Reno. It's a fun place where you can get great draft microbrews, food an live music. The Brew Brothers brew their own beer and their specialties include the Big Dog IPA and the Wild Card Wheat Ale. Food includes pizza, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Try the Margarita Pizza and the Chicken and Apple Salad.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Brew Brothers has live bands and a DJ nightly.

Christina's expert tip: Friday nights are a popular time for Brew Brothers. Grab a table early.

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Great Basin Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Great Basin Brewing Company

One of the most popular places in Reno/Sparks for pub grub and microbrews. Great Basin is home to the hoppy Icthyosaur Pale Ale. "Gimme an Icky" is the calling card of this place located on Victorian Square. Other brews besides the Icky include the Wild Horse Ale, the Nevada Gold Pilser and the Jackpot Porter. Other drinks are offerer such Wyders Pear Hard Cider and wine from Kendall Jackson and Seven Deadly Zins. The Great Basin serves up food for both lunch and dinner that is inspired by the Nevada desert and mountains. Items such as Ale Battered Zucchini or Dill Pickles, Shepherd's Pie and, Sonoran-Style Fish Tacos. Live music is featured on most weekends and includes bluegrass and country bands such as Smokin' Bulldogs and Dust on the Bottle.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Great Basin Brewing Company features live music several nights a week.

Christina's expert tip: The Great Basin serves Nevada's official beer: The Icky

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The Studio on 4th is an eclectic live music venue located on one of the funkiest streets in Downtown Reno. With a full bar, a large dance floor and featured bands from all over the nation, this bar is the place to have some late night fun. The stage features live music from bands who specialize in jazz, blues, funk, reggae and good ol' rock. Special events like burlesque shows, costume parties and album release parties are also on the regular schedule. There are also regular open mic, karaoke and local comedy shows. The bar has about 20 tables and features mostly bottled beers

Recommended for Live Music because: The Studio on 4th features a more underground music scene.

Christina's expert tip: On popular band nights, get to the bar early for good seating.

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Located on the beautiful University of Nevada, Reno campus, Nightingale Concert Hall features an intimate venue to listen to classical music and watch dance performances. The hall (located inside the Church Fine Arts building) features 615 seats and a stage with excellent acoustics. The local Argenta Concert Series, the Reno Jazz Festival, and the Reno Chamber Music Festival play regularly here and feature special events during the holidays and Artown in July. University student groups also perform at Nightingale and rehearsals are free and open to the public. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door for all events.

Recommended for Live Music because: Nightingale offers an intimate venue for chamber music and special events.

Christina's expert tip: Parking is free during concerts in the UNR parking garage on Virginia Street.

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Ceol Irish Pub
Photo courtesy of Ceol

This popular pub is located just south of downtown and is a cool place to relax and hang out with friends. They have fun Irish live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Its a traditional pub setting with comfortable seating and the drinks are moderately priced. The selection of beers and whisky is impressive. Most of the drinks include Irish reds and darks including the popular Guiness and Killians. The happy hour has beers and glasses of wine for only $3 every day from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.. Wednesday night is Whisky Wednesday with $2 off all whisky all evening. Thursday is Trivia night at 8 p.m. sharp and Friday and Saturday feature live music with Irish bands such as the Clarke Brothers, the Blarney Band and the Rusty Strings.

Recommended for Live Music because: Ceol features both traditional Irish music as well as local bands.

Christina's expert tip: The trivia nights at Ceol can get crowded, so get there early.

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Of course in the land of cowboys, you have to do a little line dancing at Gilley's at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks. Gilley's features a lively, neon and rustic wood decorated restaurant, nightclub and all the boot stompin' fun to go with it. The dance floor features live entertainment as well as DJs, line dancing lessons and the beautiful Gilley Girls. Be the life of the party on the mechanical bull or just sit back with a craft beer and listen to bands like The Johnny Young Band and Rustler's Heat. Enjoy signature barbecue dishes made famous from the Nugget's Best in the West Nugget Rib Cookoff.

Recommended for Live Music because: Gilley's is great if you want to dance along with your live music.

Christina's expert tip: Gilley's also has bikini bull riding night on Sunday.

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Located in the Whitney Peak Hotel in Downtown Reno, Cargo features a wide range of local, regional and international acts, bands, musicians and album release parties. The industrial style concert hall is intimate, but large enough for dancing and groups of friends to party into the night. Visitors can purchase drinks at the Cargo bar or at the Heritage bar and restaurant at the front of the hotel. Cargo has featured acts by Reel Big Fish, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Saddle Tramps and the hilarious March Fourth Band of Portland. Cargo's ticket prices range around $20 for most events.

Recommended for Live Music because: Cargo Concert Hall is located right in the middle of Downtown and features some of the best acts in the west.

Christina's expert tip: Start out with a farm fresh dinner and cocktails at the Whitney Peak bar.

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The Mountain Music Parlor in Midtown is dedicated to keeping the classic sounds of Bluegrass, Blues, American Roots, Appalachian and Celtic alive. Located in a restored home in the heart of the arts district, the venue features a 50 seat music hall as well as classes on instruments like the banjo, mandolin and guitar and even Native American flute. Vocal lessons are also held. The Parlor features music and events from local and regional bands as well as world-renowned musicians and tickets can be purchased on the Parlor's website. The store features acoustic music and instruments and fun western gear and toys.

Recommended for Live Music because: Tickets for events at the Mountain Music Parlor range around $20.

Christina's expert tip: The Mountain Music Parlor features regular events with nationally known touring musicians.

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Designed by a student of Buckminster Fuller, the gold dome of the Pioneer Center of Performing Arts is located right in the middle of Downtown Reno and is part of the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The Pioneer features various performances from ballet and opera to Broadway plays like Annie and Rent to Riverdance and Blue Man Group. Tickets are also very reasonable. Most tickets around between $30 and $50. The Pioneer also features performances by northern Nevada's Reno Philharmonic. Led by music director Laura Jackson, the orchestra has over 60 professional musicians and perform various concerts around the area including the Spirit of the Season during holidays.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Broadway performances at the Pioneer are some of the best shows in the Reno area.

Christina's expert tip: Tickets for popular music events will sell out quickly.

Read more about Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts →


Meet Christina Nellemann

Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors...  More About Christina