Many people in San Antonio claim that Sam's Burger Joint is the best place to see live music. In fact, for the second straight year, they have been awarded BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE by San Antonio Magazine. In terms of a good ol' relaxed place to kick back and grab a great burger while enjoying some live music with your buddies, Sam's Burger joint is the joint! They have a fairly large venue for concerts that sits behind the diner-style restaurant. Throughout the years, they've seen some great acts blow through, including local legend, Girl In A Coma, who are on their way to international acclaim.
Recommended for Live Music because: Sam's is one of the largest venues in town for live music.
Kimberly's expert tip: While you're there make sure to get some grub, such as their bacon cheddar burger. Cheesy, juicy and sinfully delicious!
Carmens de la Calle Cafe is a colorful European-inspired cafe with live entertainment every weekend. Some might call this place cramped but with their sexy ambiance and warm decor, you don't really care. Carmens is also known for their authentic and delicious tapas bar of globally-inspired dishes. Favorites might include paella or their exceptional empanadas, such as beef picadillo and poblano roasted chicken. Carmens provides the perfect intimate atmosphere for a chill evening with friends or that special someone. Friday nights they offer live Flamenco music and dancing, which is a rare find in the city. Saturday nights vary. You might hear some live world music or a showcase of singer/songwriters, for example. The point is for a one-of-a-kind low key venue for live music, Carmens should be at the top of your list, but just make sure to get there early so get a good table.
Recommended for Live Music because: Carmens is a cool downtown venue with live music, great food and comfortable seating.
Kimberly's expert tip: With the sexy, intimate surroundings and housemade sangria, this is a hot spot for a special date night!
Go to Cowboys Dancehall for some boot-stomping fun and authentic live Texas music! They are located on the northeast side of San Antonio and are probably the largest and most impressive music venue in the city. Besides great music and country dancing, Cowboys sports an indoor rodeo arena where you can see live events, such as professional bull riding. You'll want to plan ahead so you can buy your tickets early because many of their concerts feature well-known artists of all genres so they sell out fast. If your shy or out of practice, be sure to take advantage of Cowboys' dance lessons.
Recommended for Live Music because: Gruene Hall has been around a long time and continues to make history.
Kimberly's expert tip: Don't worry if you don't have a dance partner, Cowboys Dancehall has an eclectic mix of people, and is a great place to meet someone new!
The East side of San Antonio just got cooler with this giant indoor/outdoor space filled with picnic tables that features craft draft beer and live music. Located next to the iconic Hays Street walking bridge, this bar is really one of the most interesting places to enjoy drinks with friends in the city. Alamo Beer also has a rich history. Years ago there was a beer called Alamo that was brewed by the Lone Star Brewing Company. The Alamo was a local's favorite made from the best barley malt, saazer hops and Texas rice. However, prohibition put an end to Alamo until the arrival of local entrepreneur, Eugene Simor. It took Simor a while but by 2003, he acquired a licensing agreement and Alamo Golden Ale was flowing on tap in the city. San Antonio supporters have followed his story and come out to support the brewery whenever they can. It helps that its good beer, good people and a fantastic location.
Recommended for Live Music because: Live music here is typically event specific, but it's simply a wonderful place to enjoy some good local brews in a beautiful space.
Kimberly's expert tip: They offer free tours of the brewery on Thursdays at 6 pm and Saturdays at 1 pm.
Located on the east side of downtown, Burleson Yard Beer Garden is simply one of the most enjoyable venues in all of downtown San Antonio. Although they have an indoor bar, this is the preeminent place to go when you just want to kick back outside with your friends and a few brews. Bring your dog, kids, parents or co-workers - the vibe is always super chill. They have a ginormous patio, a stage for live music or a DJ, ping pong tables and a wide variety of libations, from beer (of course) to creative cocktails. As a bonus, they offer food, whether its in-house or from one of the many popular local food trucks. The staff is always friendly and it seems so are the guests. Everyone's here just to have a good time! A local's favorite, it's also a great place to get in on a fun event, featuring San Antonio chefs or holiday celebrations.
Recommended for Live Music because: Burleson Yard is full of good vibes, and a great place to kick back and listen to live music and Local DJs.
Kimberly's expert tip: The margaritas are cheap and oh, so good! Sample the watermelon or strawberry for the ultimate refreshment.
There's something quite magical about Jazz, TX with its stellar live music, cool speakeasy vibe, out-of-this-world cocktails and incredible food. It simply hits on every note! Located in the basement of the once bottling plant, now a food hall, at the Pearl Brewery, stepping into this jazz joint is like stepping back and forward in time all at once. There's nothing else like it in San Antonio, perhaps, in the entire state of Texas. Doc Watkins is the star of this show - a jazz artist, pianist, and singer. When he takes the stage, he lights up the room and sings an array of classic tunes across genres. You can also find some traveling acts here, but there's a primary focus on local, very talented, musicians. Jazz, TX is the purest definition of "dinner and a show!"
Recommended for Live Music because: There's nothing else in San Antonio, or even Texas, like Jazz, TX. Enjoy live Jazz in this speakeasy atmosphere for a special night.
Kimberly's expert tip: This place can be a little challenging to find. Look for the steps on the side of the bottling plant next to Bakery Lorraine and head down.
For a relaxed atmosphere with great gluten-free food, including burgers, and great entertainment, The Cove has become one of the most popular places in town to grab a drink and a meal. This one-of-a-kind restaurant, beer garden, live music venue is also, strangely, a Laundromat and carwash. The picnic-style seating, both inside and out, makes for a very casual yet intimate atmosphere that is both family-friendly and dive bar-esque at the same time. Expect to hear some great local bands every night of the week (except for when they're closed on Mondays), including big jazz bands, folk music, country and more. The menu is exceptional with care for using local, organic ingredients, grass-fed beef and the like.
Recommended for Live Music because: Unlike anything else in SA, this funky music venue is kid-friendly, has great organic American fare and a laundromat and car wash.
Kimberly's expert tip: Bring your dogs, bring your kids and get in on those fish tacos! Be aware, seating is first come, first serve.
Although Gruene Hall is located outside the city limits of San Antonio, it's worth the extra gas to get to what has now become an iconic venue. Built in 1878, Gruene Hall is considered the oldest running dance hall in Texas, and the Central Texas birthplace to many famous songwriters and musicians, including George Strait, Ace in the Hole, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keen, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Hal Ketchum, Bruce and Charlie Robison, and many more. This is the place to put your boots on (or an excuse to buy some if you don't already have a pair), grab your guy or gal and head on down for an evening to remember!
Recommended for Live Music because: A truly Texas experience, Gruene Hall is a historic venue for the best Texas bands.
Kimberly's expert tip: Head to Gruene early to enjoy dinner at the Gristmill River Restaurant for a gorgeous view and country cuisine.
Thanks to a new law, Dorcol Distilling Company, which makes an incredible Serbian apricot brandy, transforms into a cocktail lounge on the weekends and, using only their signature spirit creates the most amazing craft cocktails! Dorcol was the first urban distillery to open after the law, enabling them to sell liquor on the premises. Located in the burgeoning arts district on Flores Street south of downtown in San Antonio in what used to be a restaurant equipment dump site, Dorcol is now a social hub with as much promise as character and originality. Owners Boyan Kalusevic and Chris Mobley opened their doors at the end of 2013 and have been gaining momentum ever since. Currently, Dorcol only makes one spirit called Kinsman, which is a premium handcrafted Rakia made on site in small batches. The cocktail bar, or tasting room, is only open Thursday through Saturday, but is certainly worth a jaunt to the Southside, particularly if it's the 2nd Saturday of every month, which is when the arts walk in the neighborhood takes place. Dorcol usually hosts an art opening as well - featuring one of San Antonio's local talents.
Recommended for Live Music because: Dorcol offers live music on Saturday nights at a fun neighborhood distillery near the arts district.
Kimberly's expert tip: Dorcol is always doing something new! Although you would be remiss to not try their apricot brandy in one of their delicious cocktails, brew lovers should sample their array of beers, such as their HighWheel 56, a hoppy West Coast-style IPA!
If country music's not your thing, get a taste of soulful, alternative rhythms at LUNA. Jazz is the club's raison d'etre, and its red-velvet decor, exposed brickwork, and slinky upholstered bar provide a perfect backdrop to the main event. While you're savoring top-notch music, try a Liquid Reverb martini with raspberry vodka, orange juice and Red Bull to accompany the snacks. Other musical styles you may encounter include swing, soul, blues, funk, and Spanish guitar. Folks love the live salsa music and dancing. This is an ideal spot for a first or favorite date. Lounge and listen or get out there and make some memories!
Recommended for Live Music because: LUNA is a dedicated live music venue that offers an eclectic mis of music from salsa to soul.
Kimberly's expert tip: There's typically a cash only cover charge here, but they do take credit cards for drinks and food.